The Clonakilty International Guitar Festival returns to the west Cork town in September for its 10th edition. I like its tagline: “From the parish hall to the butcher’s shop, there will be no escaping the sound of those sweet six-strings.” From September 18-21 you can expect the likes of De Barra’s, the hub of the festival, to be buzzing as the likes of Girl Band (pictured above), Jon Gomm, the Lost Brothers and Jerry Harmon show their skills – and the organisers say 85% of the shows are free! There are also events such as the Human Orchestra Project and the Ukulele-le-chéile. The Human Orchestra Project was initiated by Clonakilty-based composer and violinist Justin Grounds (Idiot Songs) last year, after writing a piece for a string orchestra made up of beginners and professionals alike, each with different parts. The project gathers groups of humans of all ages together in specific places, times and occasions to perform music using their voices and instruments brought along. The Ukulele-le-chéile, meanwhile, is obviously run by the West Cork Ukulele Orchestra and is part community group, part artistic movement, and will see people of all ages and levels of musical ability playing the world’s easiest instrument: the ukulele. An acoustic forum, meanwhile brings together some of the acts for a roundtable informal concert where they will take turns performing, sharing stories and giving an insight into their creative process. The Lost Brothers, Richard Gilewitz, Jon Gomm and Sam Clague are taking part in the forum at O’Donovan’s Hotel on Friday, September 19. You can keep an eye on the festival here, while there’s info on some of the acts confirmed so far after the jump.

Clonakilty International Guitar Festival – the lineup so far:
Jon Gomm (UK)
The Lost Brothers (IRE)
Jerry Harmon (US)
Girl Band (IRE)
Wille & the Bandits (UK)
Cat Called Dog (UK)
Sam Clague (IRL)
Richard Gilewitz (US)
Ukulele-le-Chéile (YOU!)
The Human Orchestra Project (YOU!)
Band of Clouds (IRL)


Jon Gomm, based in Leeds, is an acoustic singer-songwriter with a revolutionary virtuoso guitar style, where he uses one acoustic guitar to create drum sounds, basslines and twisting melodies all at the same time. The emphasis is still on the soulful vocals and songwriting, and his original material is influenced by everything from Robert Johnson to Radiohead. His live shows combine deeply personal performances and a natural wit, with a once-seen-never-forgotten two-handed guitar style, both physical and complex, producing sounds people can barely believe are coming from a humble acoustic guitar.

The Lost Brothers, all set to perform at last year’s Clonakilty International Guitar Festival were unable to attend at the last minute much to all involved’s disappointment! This year we’re delighted to announce the Losties will make the Guitar fest pilgrimage to Clonakilty for two special shows over the weekend, the first being the Acoustic Forum on Friday, September 19 – good things come to those who wait!… The Lost Brothers met in an old dusty library in Liverpool in 2007. From their first encounter, they noticed they had a lot in common. They both come from Ireland (Oisin Leech from Navan, Mark McCausland from Omagh), and having both come from musical families, they had both played in various bands since a young age and had now come to Liverpool to seek a brighter future. The pair shared the same love of music (from the Carter Family to Sam Cooke, Mississippi John Hurt to Dion and the Bellmonts, Phil Spector to the Louvin Brothers, the Impressions to Van Morrison), and before long, were jamming together in the dive bars of Liverpool when not on the road with their bands. The pair were regular faces on the Liverpool music scene and when together, people began to call them The Lost Brothers.

Jerry Harmon plays original, authentic material with an electrifying stage presence. His music is his passion, singing straight from the heart with a raw edginess songs that never fails to resonate with his listeners. He also sprinkles in classic Applalachian mountain songs and bluegrass tunes in his set. His career has spanned the US and Europe, co-billing with Ralph Stanley, Marty Stewart, Tony Rice, Ricky Skaggs, and many others. Jerry is also a Master Appalachian Mountain Storyteller. His great-great grandfather Council Harmon is credited by historians to be the first to share the ‘Jack Tales’ in America brought from Europe by his immigrant family, and Jerry is the last direct descendant of Council Harmon to keep this great tradition alive. Cleverly combining his skills as a musician, singer, guitarist, and humourous stories told in the Appalachian dialect his shows are highly entertaining, unique and authentic.

Girl Band – you know they’re the best band in the country, right? Don’t miss them!

Wille & the Bandits’ music covers a wide range of genres from rock to world music to blues and roots. With the versatility of Wille’s lap steel and guitar playing, the rhythmic diversity of percussionist Andrew Naumann and the sonic range of Matt Brooks’ upright bass and six string electric bass, they always keep audiences guessing. Along with a huge selection of drums, guitars and effects pedals. They have recorded two critically acclaimed albums, New Breed and Breakfree, opened for Joe Bonamassa, Deep Purple, The John Butler Trio and completed two tours with Status Quo… The band have received critical acclaim and a growing loyal fan base wherever they have performed. The story of Wille & the Bandits began upon Wille’s decision to leave for Australia (his birth place) after he finished school in the UK, knowing his way around a guitar and being able to sing a little he embarked on a mission to pay his way by busking. Skip forwards five years and Wille is now considered one of Europe’s finest Slide guitar players. Wille & the Bandits are on a journey, which has so far been miraculous. All achieved through hard work and a true passion for making music.

Sam Clague is a virtuosic urchin from Clonakilty who has performed in almost every guitar festival since it began 10 years ago. The Clonakilty native will make his solo debut at this year’s festival having performed in many bands over the years. From funked-up psychedelia to Django-esque acoustic jazz – via some beatboxing electronica – he’s covered more musical ground than most artists at the festival, and he’s just getting started.