Buskfest is a success despite date change

Last years Buskfest overall winner Matty Rea on stage in Solitude �Paul Byrne Photography INBL1733-235PB
Last years Buskfest overall winner Matty Rea on stage in Solitude �Paul Byrne Photography INBL1733-235PB

Buskfest returned to Banbridge at the weekend and still hit the right note with musicians and local people despite a date change.

The annual event, which was moved from June to August, attracted similar crowds to other years but a shadow still appears to hang over its future.

Courtney Craig�Paul Byrne Photography INBL1733-224PB

Courtney Craig�Paul Byrne Photography INBL1733-224PB

Gallery: Musicians take to the streets for popular busking festival
When contacted by the Leader on Monday, a spokesperson for Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Council was unable to confirm whether or not it would be returning.

The busking festival has firmly established itself as one of Northern Ireland’s leading platforms for showcasing local, national and international musical talent.

The festival which usually takes place in June, was delayed until August which resulted in it clashing with a number of other events in the council area and nearby council areas.

Banbridge Chamber of Commerce representative Michael Donaghy, suggested that if the event was to return then it should be moved back to the original date.

He said: “We would support anything that brings people to the town but if it was to return next year we would hope that it’s on a date that doesn’t clash with so many other events. The original date was the last week of June and there were less other events on. This is a major event and we would hope it would be back next year.”

Weston Clendinning from Richhill took the top prize of £1,000 on Saturday and was named Best Overall Winner. As part of his prize, Weston will also be able to showcase his talents to a global audience with a live acoustic video recording sponsored by The Garage Project.

Christopher McKevitt from Newry took the Best Individual title and pocketed £500. While singing and playing the guitar to an exceptional standard, he was great at interacting with the audience and his permanent smile was contagious.

Lurgan trio ‘Sins of a Cynic’ also netted £500 for the Best Band category. The lead singer possessed an amazing voice and together their superb three-part harmonies infused joy and life into their music.

Claiming the Best Junior category and £500 was Belfast duo Charlie Magill and Aodhan Moran for excelling in lyrical renditions and pleasing harmonies.

Sam Leeson, also from Belfast, came out on top in the Best Performance category for his musical talents. Banbridge Chamber of Commerce sponsored this £250 prize.

The Spirit of BuskFest category, with the £250 prize sponsored by The Outlet, went to Hugo Boitel-Gill from Holywood. A seasoned competitor at the event, Hugo took the Best Junior category in 2014. Judges described his skill at playing the guitar as “technically brilliant”.