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Music: Van points the way to top blues festival

The International Guinness Blues on the Bay Festival Various venues, Warrenpoint Wednesday, May 25-Monday, May 30

By Damien Murray

The picturesque town of Warrenpoint is again set to be awash with the world's leading blues and jazz performers, with Van Morrison headlining the six-day event with two concerts at the Town Hall on May 29 (the proceeds of both concerts will be donated to Southern Area Hospice Services).

Now in its 18th year, this exciting event - which started out with only 20 gigs - has now progressed into one of the world's most popular blues festivals, boasting over 90 shows.

The festival organisers have always stuck to the principal of it being a musicians' festival and it is the music that has always been its key to success. This year's event is again jam-packed with artists from across the globe and closer to home, including Fermanagh's Pat McManus, Belfast's Rab McCullough and Crow Black Chicken.

Boasting the kind of atmosphere you would normally only find in Downtown Chicago blues clubs, you can also catch the likes of Shawn Jones, Violetta Zironi and Ronnie Greer performing.

Other events include a great new innovative youth-led music project which will run within the heart of a continental food market in the local park.

For further details, visit

Billy McFarland

Braid Arts Centre, Ballymena

Tonight, 8pm

In this 'Audience wit ...' show, you are invited to join one of local country music's true gentlemen, Billy McFarland, as he celebrates 40 years in showbiz.

In this hometown show, McFarland - and his golden trumpet - will perform all his classic hit singles in the company of a terrific live band with special guests Hugo Duncan, Gary Gamble, Curtis Magee, Gary Wilson and Tracey McAuley.

For details, call the box office, tel: 028 2563 5900 or visit

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