A FANTASTIC celebration of Athy took place in the town last weekend as crowds enjoyed the inaugural (and free) Made of Athy music festival, organised by Colm Walsh, Mark Leigh and Cormac Dooley.
Running from Friday 28 to Sunday 30 June, the festival featured what has been described as a deliberately eclectic mix of music. Boxer Eric Donovan was among those on-hand for the first event on Friday evening at the CI Bar, as local rapper TommySee? and BaseLife performed the athlete’s new walk-on music ‘Lilywhite Lightning’. “It’s a very, very big opportunity for me and I want to thank Eric Donovan as well for letting me perform this song,” the rapper told the crowd.
“I can’t wait to use it as my new walk-out music as I enter the ring,” the boxer said on social media. “It’s enough to make you unstoppable, unbreakable and truly inspired! This song was supported and backed by the ‘Made of Athy’ project… proud!”
The organisers also put together a packed programme of events throughout Saturday, with most of the action taking place on the main stage in Emily Square, though the local Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann group put on a great midday show at the library.
Among those who performed in the Square were local indie/pop band The Years and Stone Roses tribute band Made of Stone, while young Athy singer-songwriter Carrie Haskins, who describes her style as country crossover, also took to the stage. An up-and-coming country artist, she reached the battle stages of The Voice competition in 2011.
Carrie’s performance was followed by the debut gig for Stills Road, a country rock band led by Shane Sullivan, a Nashville regular and formerly of The Sullivan Brothers, with Rob Chanders Jnr, Roy Brennan, Clive Farrell and Malgorzata Gosia Gasior.
Sunday was by no means a day for winding down – alongside three more plaques officially launched as part of the Made of Athy project, there was an afternoon of music by the Barrow from Steven Nicholls, Four Strings & The Truth, A Beautiful Noise, and Woodbine.
Cllr Mark Wall, Cathoirleach of Athy Municipal District, described it as a great weekend, adding that it was great to see people young and old enjoying themselves in the town and congratulating those behind the festival and the project. “No better place to be than Emily Square in Athy on a lovely summer’s evening,” he said. “The tourism potential of this is absolutely tremendous… I think it’s just the start of something huge for Athy.”
Colm Walsh, meanwhile, told the Kildare Nationalist that he was “absolutely” happy with how the festival went. “Anybody who’s been involved has enjoyed it and it’s a wonderful foundation for hopefully next year,” he said. “Some of us celebrate Athy every day, but it’s nice to have a special weekend for it too!”