Sligo has a strong musical tradition dating back over many generations. Encompassing everything from traditional and folk music to classical and jazz, contemporary, experimental, electronica and world music, there is a vibrant music scene in Sligo with concerts, sessions and gigs taking place almost every night.
Sligo Music is a listings website is an initative by Sligo Arts Service, in partnership with SligoEvents.ie, to attempt to deliver as comprehensive a listing of Sligo music as possible, all in one place. This site is in the very earliest stages, and will change and grow over the coming months, but we hope you find it a useful window to all that is happening in this most musical of counties.
Click here to see what's happening in Sligo this weekend and to view upcoming gigs.
Sligo and Music
As well as an idiomatic style of traditional music, examples of which are regularly to be heard at Sligo’s Feis Ceoil & Feis Shligigh, Sligo boasts a long interest in music performance of different types. Jazz, Classical and Traditional Music have strong followings in Sligo with regular concerts taking place of the highest quality. Musical theatre and choral performances play an important role in Sligo’s cultural life, and experimental, world and electronic music have grown greatly in recent years. When you add to this the constantly evolving contemporary rock, folk and indie music scene it’s clear there is something for everyone in Sligo’s live music events.
Sligo has a whole host of excellent music festivals, in the 1980’s the Sligo International Choral Festival was founded, bringing a particular focus to choral singing. In the 1990’s two very different classical music festivals emerged – the Sligo Baroque Festival and the Sligo New Music Festival- which were joined in 2000 by Chamber music festival Music in Drumcliff Festival (previously theVogler Spring Festival 2000-2009).
In the past eight years Sligo Live has established itself as one of Ireland’s leading roots festivals, and Sligo Jazz has been firmly established on the Jazz calendar as a leading school and festival project. The multi-disciplinary Cairde Festival has a strong world and alternative music programme.
Sligo has a strong traditional music heritage which continues to play an important role particularly through the Coleman Traditional Irish Music Centre in Gurteen and the many annual traditional music festivals which receive grant-aid from Sligo County Council such as the County Fleadh, the South Sligo Summer School in Tubbercurry, the James Morrison Festival in Riverstown, the John Egan Festival in Ballintogher, the Traditional Singing Festival, the Carmel Gunning International Summer School Festival of Irish music, Coleman Country Bodhran School, Cos Cos Sean Nos Festival and many more.
There are a host of venues in Sligo town and county, from large full time music venues to small session rooms in traditional bars. In Sligo town the large venues are The Hawk’s Well Theatre andThe Model, which has a newly developed purpose built music venue, and pub/cafe venues The Clarence and McGarrigles.
In Sligo county The Coleman Centre for Traditional Music in Gurteen has a wonderful theatre for staging musical performances throughout the year, and Barry’s Live Music Venue in Grange hosts traditional, folk and acoustic music in a wonderfully intimate venue.
Concert Series and Promoters
Sligo has a vibrant concert scence thanks to some excellent promoters, most of whom do so on a voluntary basis. Sligo Jazz Project runs concerts during the year, outside of the summer Jazz Festival, and Itchy Feet Promotions run contemporary and world music concerts in various venues during the year. Con Brio is an exceptional classical music promoter, putting on a season of classical music from September – April every year.
Whether you are an adult or a child there are plenty of opportunities to learn how to play music in Sligo. The Sligo Academy of Music is a private school that teaches all instruments in the classical tradition, the Sligo Contemporary Music School teaches more contemporary/rock instruments andThe Coleman Centre for Traditional Music is a great place to start for traditional tuition. For lively drumming workshops for groups or individuals there is itchy feet, and Sligo’s Arts Service
Sligo Arts Service, through Sligo Music Education Partnership, supports a long term public music education programme called Live Music in the Classroom, which provides real-life opportunities for pupils in primary schools throughout the county to have access to live music and locally-based musicians. (and also has a useful list of qualified tutors on the site). For a national listing of music teachers you can access Music Network’s Learn Music database which is searchable by county.
“The population of Sligo town is on a par with towns such as Nass, Tralee, Ennis and Clonmel. Yet few of these similar sized towns can boast anything close to the range of music provision currently on offer in Sligo. Sligo can legitimately present itself as a centre of excellence for music, although its population remains small to support such a diverse range of cultural organisations. Continued investment from the local authority, The Arts Council and other organisations will be necessary to underpin and sustain developments in the years ahead.” Fergus Sheil, Arts Consultant, March 2009.