In the latest episode of The Point of Everything, I went to Clonakilty to chat to Ray Blackwell of De Barra’s and Kevin McNally of various guises, including the music department at UCC, West Cork Ukelele Orchestra and Cork Gamelan Ensemble – the pair are also members of the organising committee for Clonakilty International Guitar Festival, entering its 11th year this weekend, September 17-20. We had a long-ranging chat, taking in everything from Straight Outta Compton, bipics vs music documentaries, the importance of community in music, special discounts for the unwaged, encouraging young people to pick up an instrument and, of course, who they’re excited to see in the various venues around the West Cork town. You can listen to the show below, via Soundcloud and Mixcloud, and you can subscribe to the Point of Everything on iTunes. More on the Clonakilty International Guitar Festival after the jump and we’ll be back later in the week with a preview of Sounds from a Safe Harbour.

TPOE #9: Clonakilty International Guitar Festival by The Point Of Everything on Mixcloud

A little more on Clonakilty International Guitar Festival…
I had loads of fun at last year’s guitar festival in Clon, taking in the Lost Brothers and Band of Clouds for the first time, and Girl Band for probably the best show I’ve seen from them. It’s that type of festival, where the styles all mix, from acoustics and harmonies to prog in the sun to noise rock in the folk club (you can see some pictures from last year’s gigs here). This year seems to be no different. I know a few names on the lineup, it’s the ones I don’t know who Ray and Kev seem most ebullient about: Valerie June, Rachel Sermanni, Vespertine Quintet and Khyam Allami (the first Iraqi to play the festival) all sound like they’re going to be special. Add them to the likes of Sam Amidon, Rusangano Family (one of the best live acts in the country) and the Minutes and you’ve got one damn fine music festival on your hands. There are also local acts like Shookrah and Sam Clague (we’re premiering his new single here tomorrow – it’s so good so make sure you come back for that), workshops, the Music Generation Express Bus, and more – and it’s almost all for free, with only four shows over the weekend being ticketed (and there are discounts on these for the unwaged). You can find out more of the details by listening to the podcast above, and all of the details from the festival website. And if you’ve never been to Clonakilty before – what are you doing?!?! Just go, now!