It's early Wednesday evening and whilst most people are heading home from work there's still a buzz about town. It's Dine in Dublin week so the restaurants are busy, and Wednesday being the 'hump' of the week, it's all downhill to Friday from here.
I'm heading to Medley on Drury Street (http://www.medley.ie/ ) which is a lovely converted space for functions run by Andrew Rudd next to Brooks Hotel. It's the launch of the Westport Festival of Music and Food 2013, a two day event to be held this year on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th June in the grounds of the lovely Westport House, Co.Mayo. Among this years acts are Elvis Costello and Imelda May.
But this evening's event is about food as well. Redmond Cabot, food producer is showcasing local foods that will feature at the festival and drinks are flowing courtesy of Miller and Kopparberg, the Festival sponsors. Daryll Dowling is the events director and he tells me this is the event's second year and this year the music has merged with food allowing local producers to showcase.
Mike Maloney, ex-DJ with 2FM took the mike to launch the evening and told the crowd that this year's Festival in the 400 acres of Westport house had expanded from last year. A child-friendly event with an adventure park, there is a caravan and camping area that has we were told 'a good vibe'. The food side of the Festival is a big part of it and there is to be a 'Best in the West' Food Village. We sampled what would be available from a fabulous taste menu through the evening;
-Connemara Hill Lamb in a spicy tagine
-Killary Mussels (sooo good, served with a crunchy salsa style topping)
-Clew Bay oysters
-the West Chowder
-Red's Sauces on canapés: roast beetroot and sage dip, chilli lime hummus and black olive tapenade.
All were absolutely delicious.
In addition to the great food there will be a 'friendly food forum'. Present at the launch was restaurant owner and chef Derry Clarke from L'Ecrivain. He explained to me that it was to be very casual and friendly and he plans to bring forward young unknown chefs to give them exposure and a chance to showcase their work under his mentoring eye.
There will be a hairstyling tent on site run by the Dublin hairdresser Dylan Bradshaw and the renowned photographer Barry McCall will have a photobooth set up for souvenir photos of the great event.
A new addition this year is 'The Cotton Club', a marquee with a '20s vibe going on, with live music Duke Ellington style and classy cocktails. Also the great Galway music venue the Róisin Dubh, will be inviting their favourite acts to perform in the Stable area.
Present at the launch was Barry Murphy of Ápres Match fame and he will be performing in the Comedy Tent, as well as Phil Jupitus amongst others.
The music line up of over 50 acts booked so far includes greats such as Imelda May, Elvis Costello, ABC (in gold suits?!), Blind Boys of Alabama and many more. At the launch were the Co.Monaghan singer Ryan Sheridan, Jack Lukeman who recently released the great album 'The 27 Club' and Steve Wall of The Stunning who will all be performing at the festival. Also at the festival are Orquesta Buena Vista Social Club, Alabama 3 (of theme music to The Sopranoes), Damien Dempsey, Sharon Corr and Delorentos and a whole lot more. Performing at the launch were Riptide Movement.
The Festival website is being updated but day tickets can be bought there www.westportfestival.com. Combined festival and camping tickets are on sale through www.westporthouse.ie .
You can catch up on Twitter @westportfest and on their Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/westport.musicfestival?fref=ts .
(With thanks to Sinéad Ryan for the invite.)