Irish Pub Festival, the story so far
The Irish Pub Festival was started as a result of one man’s love for the Irish Traditional music, Mr. Wouter Hoffman. The whole idea of this festival is to recreate for one night only, the atmosphere to be found, in the Temple Bar district of Dublin’s city centre. The Temple Bar area is well known to tourists of many countries, including the Netherlands, for it’s many pubs and live music all day long.
According to Wouter himself the festival is more than thirty years old. In the beginning Wouter went to great lengths to include as many Irish musicians as would allow, a tradition still in place today. Wouter ran the festival very successfully for many years up untill appx 1995. For the sake of genealogy, in 2017 the festival celebrated its official 25th anniversary.
Passing the baton
Somewhere around 1994/1995 Dubliner Mark Gilligan took over the Deventer Irish Pub Festival. Mark ran the pub festival for approximately 15 years expanding it to a second day with what started as ‘the after session’ an impromptu making of music in the Oude Maria Kerk on “the day after”.
In September 2011, Mark was forced to once again hand over the baton due to personal health issues. Having being diagnosed with MS, the limitations imposed on Mark physically, made it difficult for him to give the festival the commitment it deserves.
From September 2011, the reigns of have been firmly in the hands of my good self, (Noel Shannon) and my wife Lynn, who was born and raised in Deventer. I hail from the coastal city of Cork in Ireland, but these days I have been imported into the Netherlands, my second home.
Lynn and I having taken over the festival, we introduced the open sessions traditionally now being enjoyed on saturday the 2nd day of the festival. We revived the happening at the Oude Maria Kerk and made it a full blown concert. For the last couple of years we have taken our concert main act directly from Ireland, resulting in successfully selling out the venue now three years in a row and giving Traditional groups from Ireland the exposure they deserve.
Over the years the festivals have been visited by many dignitaries including two Irish ambassadors to The Netherlands.