Irish Folk legends Tír na nÓg set to appear at Lunar Festival

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By April Stoneman

Irish Folk legends Tír na nÓg are to be one of the star acts at this year’s Lunar Festival in June.

The festival takes place at the Umberslade Estate in Tanworth-in-Arden near Solihull from June 6-8 and is organised by the same team behind the Moseley Folk and Jazz & Blues Festivals.

The festival has been growing in stature each year since it was launched but this year undoubtedly represents a big step up in terms of the acts on the bill.

Those appearing include former Charlatans frontman Tim Burgess and British Sea Power on Friday June 6, sixties troubadour Donovan and up and coming psychedelic stars Temples on Saturday June 7 and the Polyphonic Spree and the Crazy World of Arthur Brown on Sunday June 8.

Another band sure to attract a fair few festival-goers are Birmingham-based Goodnight Lenin, all of whom have Irish connections, and who gave a storming performance at last year’s Moseley Folk Festival.

Moseley last year was also the scene of a memorable show by Tír na nÓg.

Formed in Dublin, in 1969 by Leo O’Kelly and Sonny Condell, they are often considered as one of the first progressive folk bands, being compared to artists like Nick Drake and the band Pentangle.

The Nick Drake connection is a poignant one as the seminal singer spent part of his life in Tanworth-in-Arden and is buried in the graveyard of the village church.

One of the aims of the festival is to evoke the spirit of the talented singer-songwriter whose life was sadly cut short after being blighted by depression.

Drake’s legacy lives on though and his influence has been cited by countless singers and bands over the years since his passing.

Tír na nÓg perform mainly their own compositions, based on a strong Celtic influence.

They are famed for their intricate acoustic guitar playing and close harmony singing.

From 1971 to 1973, Tír na nÓg made three studio albums which were critically acclaimed, though they failed to enjoy commercial success. The year 2000 saw the release of a live album, Hibernian, while a compilation of some of their live tracks recorded between 1972 and 1973 for the John Peel show, was also published a year later.

Unlike the Moseley festivals Lunar has full weekend camping facilities, with a separate section for families, who also get free admission to Umberslade Children’s Farm.

The event will also feature a number of club nights, including Magic Garden and the Sensateria and there are a wide variety of family workshops.

In addition there are full and varied catering facilities and bars featuring award-winning local ales.

To find out more about the line-up and programme or book tickets visit www.lunarfestival.co.uk.