The festival was billed as a Folk Festival. But though it started as an upbeat all-Irish Feilé, it expanded its repertoire over the years and hosted some of the finest musical acts on the planet including Jackson Browne, Van Morrison, Rory Gallagher, Emmylou Harris and Planxty.
|Maria O'Malley from UCG & Mayo at Lisdoonvarna, 1978|
Largely peaceful, the 1983 festival was marred by eight drowning fatalities at nearby Tra Leathan and by the violence that broke out when Hells Angels, inexplicably hired as festival security(!), started to beat up some of the festival goers. Thus ended a magical festival that corresponded too and reflected much of my fun student days and my political awakening.
For me, my happiest memory was in 1981 when Irish supergrpup Moving Hearts (Christy Moore, Davy Spillane, Declan Sinnott...) played highly politicized songs from their album of the same name. Songs such as 'No Time for Love', 'Hiroshima Nagasak'i and 'Before the Deluge' reflected the conflict in Northern Ireland, the H-Blocks, the early global environmental and the anti-war movements that were a largely youthful response to the real threat of mass annihilation that could have emanated from the 'Nuclear Arms Race' then taking place between the USSR and the USA.