The annual ‘Festival Interceltique de Lorient’ held in Brittany is a unique gathering of the Celtic nations in the port of Lorient attracting a staggering 650,000 visitors to enjoy ten glorious days of music, song and dance.
|The Mollag Band|
This year the festival celebrates its 40th anniversary, appropriately with Brittany as this year’s featured nation, and it’s expected that the number of visitors to the event will swell considerably. But it will also attract 500 journalists and is a major opportunity for Manx representatives to promote the Isle of Man to a wider audience.
Official Manx Delegate to the festival, Aalish Maddrell, is delighted with the Manx representation in Europe’s largest Celtic festival, commenting, “Lorient is celebrating its 40th anniversary in style – it will be a fabulous festival with great opportunities for Manx performers, artists and producers to get noticed”.
Laurence Skelly, (Past President of NAMA) who is managing the Isle of Man Pavilion for the Manx Heritage Foundation, will be on hand promoting Manx produce and local cultural events, with a multi-lingual leaflet produced especially for the event.
The Celtic family has now expanded to include Galicia and Asturias, and with a VIP marquee for diplomats and the influential business community this is an excellent time to promote the Isle of Man as a holiday destination. Island based Regency Travel has put together a selection of travel packages to encourage visitors from the Celtic nations to the Isle of Man, and should this prove successful direct travel from the Island to Brittany may be a distinct possibility. This is an untapped area of opportunity with local representation at the festival a vital link in focusing local efforts in pursuit of cultural tourism.
Music forms a large part of the festival with stalwarts of the Manx scene ‘The Mollag Band’ again representing the Isle of Man and rubbing shoulders with the likes of ‘Capercaillie’ and the ‘Cranberries’. Noted for their originality, liveliness and natural humour ‘The Mollag Band’ perform an eclectic mix of self-penned songs and traditional material in both Manx and English. Their unashamed delivery of songs with emphasis on social and political comment still relays a strong message twenty years after the group was formed. Those lucky enough to visit the festival will have a sneak preview of their next CD due out hopefully later this year.
Another exciting development for music lovers travelling to Lorient is the production of another Manx music sampler by the Manx Heritage Foundation in conjunction with local contemporary Celtic bands. Designed by Adam Berry ‘Kiaull 2’ will only be available at the festival.
‘Festival Interceltique de Lorient’ is a highly visual event so its fitting that David Maddrell has been selected for the festival’s Inter-Celtic exhibition with the support of the Isle of Man Arts Council. A regular exhibitor at the Sayle Gallery he is predominantly self-taught using an extensive range of mediums, but on this occasion will focus on presenting eight mono-types at this prestigious event.
Valerie Caine © July 2010 (Courtesy of Manx Tails)