In a year of firsts, Derry will play host to a brand new festival dedicated to 100% live local music. Coming off the back of a string of successful events and concerts (Peace One Day concert) Derry has shown what an appetite it has for live music. Following in the footsteps of these successful events is debut festival, Link Fest.
Speaking to Chordblossom, one of the driving forces and organisers of Link Fest, Kevin McGowan, talks about how the festival is aiming to provide a platform and showcase the wealth of talent that Derry has to offer.
“We came up with the idea that a festival in the bars and venues would promote and showcase local music,” Kevin explained. “We want to try and bring attention to the amount of talent in Derry and beyond.” Not wanting to trail on the coat tails of Derry’s impending year as city of culture, Kevin wants Link Fest to set itself apart and establish its own identity he says “We don’t want it to be just about 2013. We want this to grow and grow every year into something that takes over the whole city much like how the Jazz Festival does every year.”
With the emphasis firmly on the music, Kevin hopes that Link Fest will expand to such a degree that the music industry will sit up and take notice. “In five years time I want the festival to be Ireland’s version of ‘In The City’ or ‘South By Southwest’. I would like it to be somewhere people like agents and A&R can come and see the talent Ireland has to offer. It’s more of a showcase festival than a festival. It’s more of a chance for bands to get recognised than to get mucky in some field.”
Pleasantly surprised with the amount of feedback and interesting the festival, Kevin feels that Derry is bursting at the seams with talent – “When we started to get the word out about Link Fest we thought at the start that we would struggle to find 20 bands, but we ended up with 63 bands which just goes to show what’s out there.”
Eager to please Derry’s musical audience, an eclectic range of music is on offer. Kevin explained how there will be something for everyone and all ages at Link Fest. “It’s going to be focussed on music, but the range of acts we have on offer is amazing. We have everything from heavy metal to blues, rock to folk and If want to chill out for a while we have our singer-songwriter’s stage in the Castle Bar. We have an all ages gig in the Playhouse as well. There are no headliners as such, that’s why we want everybody to experience a taste of everything that Derry has to offer.”
Kevin hopes the success of Link Fest will help expand the music academy from where the idea of having a festival came from. “The Link Music Academy is a not-for-profit organisation, all we want to do is get people playing and enjoying music. The feedback has been amazing. We want to put Link in the limelight of local music and hopefully Link will go from strength to strength.”
The guys at Link Fest have produced a stellar line-up featuring the cream of Derry’s musical crop. Bands such as Swanee River (who supported The Answer) and on the verge of breaking through after his critically acclaimed first release, Our Krypton Son will also appear. A whole host of other acts including Little Bear, Triggerman, Intermission, and Kevin ‘Mugsy’ Brown will all take to various stages throughout Derry in what will be an amazing triumph for local music.
For further information check Link Fest’s Facebook page – www.facebook.com/linkfest