One of the first festivals of 2019…. The 5th Banjo & Bovril Festival kicks off today

Now in its fifth year, the Banjo & Bovril Festival at The Harbour Bar in Bray returns this coming Wednesday January 23rd to Sunday January 27th.

This year’s festival has one of the biggest line-ups to date with Cathy Davey, Seamus Fogarty, I Have A Tribe, Yankari afrobeat collective, Mutefish, Niwel Tsumbu, alongside hotly tipped Irish artists for 2019, Junior Brother, Lemoncello, Leila Jane And The Healers and more.

Acclaimed Irish poets Stephen James Smith and Erin Fornoff headline the new Poetry, Spoken Word, and Storytelling room in The Loft.

In addition, there are family friendly shows on Saturday and Sunday afternoon from Candlelit Tales with faeries, folk tales, and at least one banjo for the weekend that’s in it.

All festival events are free and there will be mugs of Bovril on the house for all during the 5 days.

The Harbour Bar was established in 1872 and was voted “The Best Bar in the World” by Lonely Planet in 2010.

The Origins of Banjo & Bovril 

The Banjo & Bovril origins are a worthy hat-tip to days long gone, when fishermen would come ashore in Bray from time spent on the Irish Sea. First stop, The Harbour Bar.

Here they’d have a cup of Bovril to warm themselves up – before settling into a night drinking porter, singing and playing banjos, guitars, bodhráns, and mandolins.

Paul O’Toole Snr. continued the tradition in later years when short winter days were ended in the bar with a bit of banjo playing, some steaming cups of hot Bovril and a plateful of cheese and crackers.

And so the tradition continues with music, a bit of craic and a mug of the black stuff at the Banjo & Bovril Festival.

This year the festival has a music line-up that’s as anticipated as the first mouthful savoured by the fishermen themselves…

See for the lowdown.



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