By Patrick Markey
It could have been a wash out.
Gone were the sunny days New York had chalked up in the last few weeks as the clouds opened up and torrential rains set upon the second Guinness Fleadh on Randalls Island with tropical vengeance. Those who moaned about the dust whipped up by the premiere Fleadh last year must have thought that was paradise compared to last weekend’s mud-splattered glory.
The weather may have dampened some of the atmosphere, but in the best tradition of Woodstock and the Reading Rock Festival, the Fleadh-goers adapted to adversity, taking the swampy terrain in their stride and settled down to the serious business of enjoying the music.
Some rolled and danced in the mud, caking their torsos in sludge; others, more practical, wound their way through slippery paths and found inventive seating on plastic liners and chip boards.
From the organizers, the rain seemed to have drowned out little of their enthusiasm. Hoping to make up for the Saturday’s weather, ticket holders from the first day were allowed free into Sunday’s event, providing they still had their stubs.
Follow us on social media
Keep up to date with the latest news with The Irish Echo
According to Josh Nordack of Shorefire Media, attendance for the first day was 22,000. Approximately 18,000 attended the second day, with 2,000 taking advantage of the free entrance with their ticket stubs from the day before.
“It was a great turnout, considering the downpour. We thought it was a great turnout,” Nordack said, adding that the organizers are hoping the Chicago and San Francisco dates will prove more arid experiences.
Festival Marketing representative Joe Killian, one of the producers of the event, painted a bright picture. The weather may have kept some people away, he said, but most came prepared, making the rain just another part of the experience. Likening the Fleadh to Woodstock, he suggested, people “bonded to great music.”
Indeed, said Liam Lynch, another Festival Marketing representative, the occasional downpours may have pulled people into tents to see acts they would have not have gone to see otherwise.
The bands, too, seemed pleased with the weekend’s events.
“The Chieftains were very happy, they enjoyed it very much. We were lucky it stopped for us as we went out to play and for Sinead, too,” said Charles Comer, publicist for The Chieftains
“It was a bit of a mud bath, you have to praise people for staying,” he said.