THIS year, the Cork County Fleadh Cheoil will come to Bandon for the first time.
It will be hosted by the Baile Núis (Newcestown) branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann and competitions will take place at St Brogan’s College on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th April, and at Bandon GAA Pavilion on Monday 1st May.
Traditional musicians, dancers, singers, and storytellers will compete and contribute to this significant event and in the run-up to the weekend there will be a special Fleadh concert on April 15th in Bandon with Tim O’Riordan and Ger Murphy of ‘Natural Gas’.
There will also be a Singing Night on April 21st, and a Fleadh céilí on April 22nd in Newcestown Hall, with music from Uí Bhriain.
Fleadh Cheoil is not just a traditional music competition – it is the beating heart of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann (CCE) and a celebration of the passion, talent and energy which pulses within Irish traditional music.
Performers compete as soloists, duets or trios, or as groups, bands or sets under four age categories – under 12, under 15, under 18, and senior 18+.
Each county runs its own county fleadh with some competitors succeeding to progress and compete at the provincial fleadh, and from there to the National All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in August.
Each of the main traditional instruments has its own individual solo competition in each age group, with further categories including miscellaneous ‘Rogha Gléas’.
The Banna Chéilí and the Grúpa Cheoil formats also see up to 10 and 20 musicians performing together on stage. Other solo competitions include singing, lilting, story-telling and comhrá Gaeilge, and dancing competitions.
The CCÉ sees the Fleadhanna as a medium by which competitors ‘may pace each other on the road to excellence.’ Competition should help promote the quality and vibrancy of the tradition so it will endure for future generations.
Musicians dancers and singers from CCÉ Baile Núis have enjoyed much success at county, provincial and national fleadhs.
In particular, at Fleadh Cheoil Na hÉireann in 2022, along with multiple individual and group achievements at this all-Ireland level, CCÉ Baile Núis enjoyed unprecedented success in Bannaí Céili across three age categories of that hard-fought competition.
Spectators are welcome to attend by purchasing a day-long wristband at the venue door on the day.
Traditional music sessions are planned in pubs around Bandon later in the evenings.
Anyone interested in volunteering for the weekend should contact [email protected].
Local businesses, including MSD-Brinny, have contributed significantly to the event.