Updated: 21/04/17 : 11:58:00
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Shanty Festival Launch 2017

SLIGO’S first citizen is to crack a bottle of champagne over the bow of the good ship Rosses Point Shanty Festival and launch it down the slipway for 2017.

County council Cathaoirleach Hubert Keaney will get the “boat afloat” at this year’s shanty festival launch party on Thursday, April 27.

The event takes place at 3.30pm in the RNLI’s Sligo Bay Lifeboat Station which has been a driving force behind Ireland’s premier shanty festival . The festival itself takes place from Friday, June 16, to Sunday, June 18, with music in Rosses Point and Sligo town.

One of the key events this year is Songs for the Lifeboats on Saturday, June 17, in the Hawks Well Theatre. This RNLI fundraiser features an international line-up of talent.

And what a line-up of talent the festival boasts this year. First to set a course to Rosses Point are twenty five Norwegian sea captains the Bergen Shipmasters’ Association Choir; there are performers from Germany,Finland, USA, Holland, France and the UK; and then there’s the wealth of talent from Ireland, not least Sligo’s impressive range of performers.

Each year, the festival goes from strength to strength. In 2017 the festival organisers will be adding extra performance space and facilities with a large marquee on the promenade green.

Festival chairman Willie Murphy said: “Sligo is a great candle bearer for shanties — singing songs of the sea. We have some fine performers who keep the flame lit bright on this great traditional music. It’s music with salt in the melodies! The launch is an opportunity to unveil this year’s programme but, most importantly, to thank our sponsors and organisers who have made this happen. They keep the ship afloat!”

Attending the launch along with Cllr Keaney, who will formally launch the programme, will be representatives of local businesses, organisations and sponsors. They include Failte Ireland, Malin Waters, BIM, Sligo Tourism Development, Sligo County Council, Sligo Leader, Sligo Yacht Club, County Sligo Golf Club, Rosses Point Development Association, Radisson Blu Hotel, Yeats County Hotel, Austie’s, Harry’s,Mullens Spar, Bay View Stores and the Little Cottage Café.

And also keep an eye out for RNLI mascot Stormy Stan. He’s pictured here keeping an early look out too — for guests in anticipation of their arrival at the Lifeboat Station in Rosses Point.