The organisers of the North Atlantic Fiddle Convention are reporting brisk sales right across the range of concerts they’ve planned for the event in Derry, Inishowen and Letterkenny.
There’s just three weeks go to NAFCo 2012, which has been described as the ‘Fiddle Olympics’ and is bringing in top players from North America and Europe.
Festival director Liz Doherty said they’re delighted with the level of interest in the programme both locally and further afield. A big influx of visitors is expected for the event, which runs from Tuesday 26th June to Sunday 1st July. It overlaps with the Clipper race weekend so Derry is expecting a very busy few days.
Maggie Maguire, who’s on the NAFCo administrative team, says there’s been major interest in the Chieftains’ gig at the Plaza in Buncrana on Sunday 1st July, which closes NAFCO 2012. Also on the bill that night are Scotland’s leading fiddler Alastair Fraser with US cellist Natalie Has, Annbjorg Lien from Norway, some top Canadian fiddlers including Troy McGillivray and Pierre Schryer, Fiolministeriet from Denmark and local musicians and dancers.
She says another concert attracting a lot of attention is the ‘Fiddle & Feet’ night at the Forum on Thursday 28th June. Again there’s a massive line-up for that one, with pianist and academic Michael O’Suilleabhain sharing the stage with dancer Nic Gareiss (USA), Frikar (Norway), Quebecois performers, Fidil, Goran Premberg and Mats Nilsson from Sweden and lots more.
These are just two of the major concerts on the programme, while there’s also the Fiddles on the Foyle - Family Day Out, the NAFCo Fiddle School, sessions, workshops, conference sessions, exhibitions, dance events and much more.
It all means that life is getting pretty hectic in the NAFCo office at the School of Creative Studies on the University of Ulster Campus in Magee.
Maggie says, ”The phones haven’t stopped ringing since our printed programme hit the streets - it’s been a bit manic and we’re not expecting it to get any quieter - the opposite!”
Maggie has taken delivery of thousands of brightly coloured fold-out programmes listing all NAFCo events. These have been widely distributed thoroughout Derry and can be picked up in all hotels, the Tourist Information Centre in Foyle Street, The Tower Museum, The Culturlann in Great James Street, The Millennium Forum and in the Inishowen Tourist Information Centre in Buncrana.
Hotels in Derry are reporting strong bookings in and around the NAFCo event. The City Hotel, Tower Hotel, Da Vinci’s, the Waterfoot and the Inishowen Gateway Hotel in Buncrana have all increased business as a result of NAFCo. More than 300 rooms have been booked by NAFCo in the Duncreggan Student Village.