The campaign to bring Fleadh Cheoil na h’Éireann to Derry in 2013 will move to one of the world’s biggest Irish festivals in Milwaukee next month.
The theme of this year’s festival will be the music and culture of Derry and Donegal and it will attract some of the best known musicians from the north west, as well as tourism chiefs.
Eibhlin Ni Dhochartaigh from the Derry branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Eireann, will travel to Milwaukee for the festival and will be promoting Derry as a cultural attraction.
“Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin will be travelling out and taking a stall in the gaeltacht tent and Comhaltas will be represented there too in order to promote the city and our bid to host the fleadh,” she said.
“It is a great opportunity to showcase the city and the facilities we have. This festival is one of the biggest of its kind in the world. It has great relationships with culture ministers in the south and people in charge of cultural activities and promoting tourism, both here and in North America.
“Over the years we have built up relationships with people involved in the tourism industry in Canada and hopefully we will be able to meet them again and continue to market the city,” she said.
Ms Ni Dhochartaigh also said she hopes the visit will help attract cultural tourism to the city. “An Chultúrlann recently won a business award for cultural tourism in terms of the package we provide and this festival will be a great opportunity to maximise the potential of attracting an event such as the fleadh coming to Derry,” she explained.
She also said that representatives from the City of Culture company will be attending the festival to help lobby for the All-Ireland fleadh to come to Derry. “Culture company representatives, as well as people from a number of other bodies, will also be out there making the case for Derry to host the fleadh so we will be well represented,” she said.
As well as key figures from the local cultural world, a number of leading performers from Derry and Donegal will also be attending the festival. Altan, one of the best known groups of recent years, will be playing in Milwaukee and will be joined by fellow Donegal group, Fidil, and Buncrana fiddler and University of Ulster lecturer, Liz Doherty. Dungiven harpist Nodlaig Brolly will also play alongside The Henry Girls.