Fleadh focus on St Louis

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Organisers of next year’s Fleadh Cheoil na h’Éireann travelled to St Louis, Missouri, to garner American support for the festival - and almost got more than they bargained for!

The group from the Derry branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann travelled there to meet representatives from the North American section of Comhaltas but got caught up in a tornado alert.

They were told to brace themselves for the onset of the tornado shortly after arriving in St Louis. They were told to prepare for power cuts and the possibility of tornado-force winds, and warned to take necessary precautions.

Fortunately, however, the expected tornado did not materialise, although the city was battered with very strong winds which caused localised flooding.

One man was killed in the storm when a tent collapsed outside a sports stadium where he had been watching a St Louis Cardinals game.

Aside from the drama of the storm alert, the Derry group have reported great interest in the fleadh among traditional music fans in America.

Anne Marie Gallagher from Comhaltas said a number of Comhaltas branches from America who have never been to Ireland for a fleadh have said they are planning to travel to Derry next year for the week-long festival of Irish music.