BLUEPRINT:· THE ROAD TO MACROOM
TALKIN' MOUNTAIN DEW VIEW
like that - it could just be a description of Macroom last Tuesday when
I blew in for a lookaround before the Mountain Dew Festival got going.
day it was Trades Day, with sermons on the streets, singers in the
saloons, and plotters and politicians lying on every corner
"Bound for Glory"
narrow mainstreet was jammed with shoppers, hustlers, farmers,
tractors, political posters, cars and cops in no particular order, and
going nowhere fast because the way was blocked.
towards the west end of the town, there was a truck with Fine Gael
posters and about eight chairs on it, with maybe 75 people looking on,
and talking quietly to one another, their eyes shaded, and the words
slipping quietly from the sides of their mouths. The average age was
about 50, and anyone of rock 'n' roll age just split thru', making
plenty of noise. Now and again one of the oul' fellas would pull his
hands from his pockets, hitch up his trousers, straighten his cap,
leave his best wishes with those he'd been speaking to, and ramble off.
They were waiting for Little Liarn Cosgrave.
on the North side by the Boggeragh Mountains (no, you thick, I don't
mean the Begorrah Mountains!), Macroom is set in lush mid-Cork
countryside, before it turns scrubby further west. The spuds were
coming on grand, and whatever about the fish, there were plenty of
anglers disturbing the Lee just outside the town. The sun shone, and
everybody complimented the heat.
Macroom is an ordinary Irish country town -2,500 people, traditionally
the local marketplace, now developing an industrial basis, and
"boasting" 12 factories.
got one long tight mainstreet, and not much to the sides, new
supermarkets side-by-side with older lived-in looking pub-cum-shops
-darker looking places but what they lack in light, they make up
|How many roads must a man walk down...
before he reaches Macroom
the names, Cronins, Kellehers, O'Farrells, O'Learys, all of them with a
West Cork feel to them, and the people seem more open and relaxed than
in many country towns. This ain't saying that it's a hotspot, full of
scenes going on. Nope, there wasn't anything, much happening there the
night I blew in ...
how come Macroom is site of what could yet be the. most important gig
staged in Ireland, hopefully the forerunner of many more such?
a couple of answers - first off, this is only the 2nd Mountain Dew
Festival, so it wasn't around during the rather odd period in the
sixties when every crossroads that could get its ass together to summon
home its loyal sons an' daughters put on some kind of strangeness and
called it a Festival. The experience of all that shamrock stained
gimme-gimme was not lost on the committee.
latter are the second answer to the question. What they've assembled,
the big gig aside, is a cross between a village fete and a ragweek-a
participant festival, a streetscene.
to that their capacity to think big and you've got the open-air
Gallagher' concert. (Remember their invite to Idi Amin to visit the
festival? The' word is that there was a lot of dropsy going around
Macroom last week when the Quare Fella, was said to be flying in!)
"Thinking big means spending big", says John o 'Callaghan ,
full time organiser; "and the committee have put' more money into
this than goes into other festivals" .
open air gig was decided upon, the organisers say, to provide a
facility for Irish rock fans who otherwise would have had to go to
England to sample a big festival.
it happens they had the grounds of Macroom Castle at their disposal, so
their main question was who to get to play ... as if it could have been
anyone other than Rory Gallagher ! !
sold out seven concerts on his last tour, Rory is obviously the man to
headline the first major open air gig to be attempted in Ireland.
The Castle where it will be staged is at the west end of town.
grounds form quite a good natural amphitheatre. There's a football
pitch on your right as you enter, and to your left, the ground rises
towards some houses, and beyond to the south there's a golf links. The
stage, which at 50 feet x 35 feet will probably be the largest stage
ever assembled in Ireland, will be set up opposite the rise.
committee hope to have a tent set up to sell sandwiches and minerals,
so the chances are you won't have to shell out 40p for an apple, which
ain't no harm.
security in the grounds will be in the hands of 50 guards and more
securicor men with dogs ... the organizers anticipate no hassles ...
article comes from the very first issue of Hot Press Volume 1, No.1,
June 9th, 1977
Thanks to Brian Rochford for sending
me a copy of the issue!
reformatted by roryfan