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bluegrass omagh 2024: where music meets ulster-american history

Set to play this year's Bluegrass Omagh in their 30th anniversary year is American band, Nothin' Fancy (pictured).

Nothin' Fancy a music band of 5 men playing bluegrass instruments
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Set against the backdrop of Ulster American Folk Park, Bluegrass Omagh is back, and this year’s festival promises an unforgettable weekend of music, culture and history. 

Scheduled for the May Bank Holiday weekend 4th to 6th, Bluegrass Omagh honours the enduring legacy of Appalachian settlers who carried their songs and stories across the Atlantic. The vibrant music and culture they left behind is reflected in the event’s programme, with performances from some of the finest bluegrass acts in the world.

From bluegrass and old-time to Americana and country genres, taking to the stage on both dates this year is an impressive array of local and international talent. The line-up includes European bands such as Rookie Riot, American bands such as Nothin’ Fancy and local musicians and songwriters such as I Draw Slow and Pilgrim St

Now in its 32nd year, Bluegrass Omagh has always aimed to unite thousands of fans from across the world, fostering cultural exchange and community spirit whilst also highlighting the historical significance of Ulster’s connection to America, which the  Ulster American Folk Park is known for. 

With accolades from professional Bluegrass associations and a prestigious nomination by the International Bluegrass Music Association for “Bluegrass Event of the Year,” John-Paul Coyle, General Manager at Ulster American Folk Park, discusses why Bluegrass Omagh resonates with audiences far and wide. He said: 

“Over the last three decades, this event has become one of the largest bluegrass events outside of North America, welcoming thousands of fans every year. This is because Bluegrass Omagh offers a one-of-a-kind music event for visitors from both home and afar to delve into history and discover the rich heritage connecting Ulster and America through world-class bluegrass music. 

"It’s become a flagship event at the Ulster American Folk Park because we’re a unique location to put on such an event, creating an inclusive and lively atmosphere for everyone while celebrating the shared history and music traditions of the people who emigrated to the heartland of Appalachian America. 

"Whether you're a history enthusiast, a big music fan, or simply seeking a unique cultural experience and something different for your bank holiday, there is something for everyone at Bluegrass Omagh and we hope to see even bigger numbers join us for a weekend of fun this year.”

Chris Sexton, speaking on behalf of Nothin’ Fancy, expressed the band’s excitement about being part of the esteemed festival. He said: 

“It is a delight and an honour to be part of the Omagh festival line-up. We are stoked and ready to bring our music and entertainment to beautiful Northern Ireland, and this is a chance of a lifetime that we will certainly enjoy and remember for years to come.” 

Since it began, the Bluegrass Omagh festival has become part of the fabric of Omagh that delivers for the local economy with domestic and international tourists enjoying the town’s hospitality offerings and other tourism hotspots in the region. 

Bluegrass Omagh 2023

Speaking about the Bluegrass Festival, Chair of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Councillor Thomas O’Reilly, said: 

“I am delighted to see the return of the Bluegrass Festival this year.  Over the three decades which the Festival has been taking place, it has evolved to be the biggest Bluegrass Festival outside of America.

“I believe the success of the Festival is due to the unique location of the Ulster American Folk Park and the eclectic mix of local talent and performers from across the Atlantic.

“We are fortunate to have the Ulster American Folk Park in our District as this award-winning attraction and the range of events it hosts are a welcome boost to the local economy, in particular the tourism and hospitality sector.

“I would like to commend National Museums NI and the staff at the Ulster American Folk Park for another excellent programme.  I would encourage everybody to attend to the Festival to enjoy the atmosphere and celebration of music, culture and community.”

Over the bank holiday weekend, festival-goers can also enjoy an array of entertainment alongside warm hospitality, delicious food and traditional craftwork. 

As anticipation builds for the event, Kathryn Thomson, Chief Executive at National Museums NI, emphasises the festival’s significance in bridging cultural connections. She said: 

“Ulster American Folk Park plays a pivotal role in exploring the narratives of Ulster emigration to America in the 18th and 19th centuries, serving as a gateway to understanding the successes endured by those who embarked on the journey across the Atlantic. Bluegrass Omagh stands as a testament to the importance of preserving and promoting cultural traditions through music and community engagement. We look forward to seeing our home-grown talent join their fellow international bluegrass bands come together to share their music.” 

Festivities will kick off on May 3rd with a Friday Night Opening Concert at the Strule Arts Centre in Omagh, and finish with a bluegrass-themed Family Day at the Ulster American Folk Park on May 6th

For more information about Bluegrass Omagh and to purchase tickets, visit