By MARK McAVOY
THIS weekend, Leeside celebrates the life and music of the late, great, blues rock guitarist Rory Gallagher with the annual Cork Rocks For Rory festival.
Globally renowned for his guitar skills, Rory Gallagher put Cork — the place he called home — on the international music map.
Now in its eighth year, the Cork Rocks For Rory festival draws fans from home and abroad to remember the music and career of Cork’s finest musical export.
Corkman and chief organiser of the festival, Ger Kenneally, recalls the history of the festival.
“We started Cork Rocks For Rory in 2005, which was Cork’s year as European Capital of Culture and it was also the tenth anniversary of Rory’s death.
“We realised that there was nothing happening in the city that year to commemorate Rory. So we took it upon ourselves to organise something in An Crúiscín Lán. Now the festival is going from strength to strength.
“We have a lot of visitors coming over from abroad.”
Discussing the line-up for the opening night of this year’s Cork Rocks For Rory festival, Ger reveals: “On the Friday night, the first band on are The Bearded Babies. They are from Oslo in Norway and take their name from the lyrics to the Rory Gallagher song Tattoo’d Lady. A young Cork blues singer songwriter called Eoghan Murphy is going to do an acoustic set on the night. The next act will be the Dave McHugh band from Dublin. Each night, there will be two electric bands, which are split-up by half-an-hour of acoustic music. It’s a bit like how Rory used to do his gigs.”
The following day, in the Rory Gallagher Music Library on Grand Parade at noon, Dave McHugh will play an acoustic set, featuring Rory’s songs and songs by different blues artists that influenced Rory.
Gigs for younger music fans are also an important component to the Cork Rocks For Rory festival. This year the festival will be hosting a special underage gig at Cyprus Avenue on Saturday afternoon. Ger explains: “Between 2pm and 4pm, we will be hosting a free underage gig, which is always my personal highlight. Performing will be the Cork band Mishap, Against The Grain from Scotland, and The Bearded Babies.
Saturday evening’s line-up features Mishap led by guitarist Jack Ahern, Against The Grain, and Dave McHugh performing an acoustic set between the bands.
For more information on the Cork Rocks For Rory festival, visit their websites: www.corkrocksforrory.com and www.facebook.com/corkrocksforrory.
The Cork Rocks For Rory festival takes place at Cyprus Avenue on Friday, June 8 and Saturday, June 9.