So this weekend my hometown, the beautiful little town of Milltown, Co. Galway is hosting a really great line up for the first ever PJ Conlon traditional music festival. The festival celebrates the life and music of one of Milltown’s most famous native sons and brings a wealth of traditional music, workshops and master classes to the village. This is an event well worth going to as it should be a huge amount of fun
PJ Conlon was born in Milltown in 1892. He came from a talented musical family and became an accomplished accordian player before emigrating to Manchester in 1909 and subsequently to New York in 1912, where he sucessfully broke into the recording business in 1917. He was among the first musicians in the USA, or anywhere for that matter, to record traditional rural Irish dance music commercially. In all, he made 52 record sides between November 1917 and March 1929 and his recordings are some of the oldest examples of Irish music in existence.
The whole town is no doubt in a heighted state of excitement as they welcome the President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins for the official opening of the festival on Friday August 2nd at 8pm. The president will be accompanied by his wife Sabina, a native of Milltown, although she went to mass in Ballindine as I reliably informed.
A host of well known national and local artists will perform at the PJ Conlon Festival in Milltown this year. Don’t miss John Faulkner, John Carty, Andrew McNamara, Una Ni Fhlannagain, Clare Keville of Clare FM and TG4, Charlie Harris, Brid Dooley (RTE), Maigh Seola, Maude Connolly and many more.
The ITMA will be recording proceedings of the weekend for the the Traditional Music Archive
There is a full line of events here