THE return of Wigan Irish Festival will welcome a host of well-known Irish musicians and comedic talent when proceedings kick off tonight.
Following on from the success of last year’s festival, organisers have expanded the programme for 2014 to include music, comedy, sports and video games.
Festivities begin this evening with multi-talented musician Paddy Shannon,who will be followed by renowned Irish comedian Jimmy Cricket.
UK-based, three-time Irish Music Award winners The Ryans – who are coordinating the festival and perform later in the evening – will also be joined on stage over the course of the weekend by a cohort of musicians from a variety of genres.
A Gaelic Football tournament will take place on Saturday, with participation open to all members of the public, whilst those on the side-lines will be entertained by singer-guitarist Scoogz.
Also scheduled to take place lunchtime is the ‘Smite’ video game competition, where gamers can virtually assume the role of a Celtic God and smite their enemies.
Saturday evening will see performances by country singer Steven Doyle and Derek Warfield, a founding member of the Wolfe Tones who will give a talk on the history of Irish ballads, before performing with his new band The Young Wolfe Tones.
One of the bands to watch on Sunday is five-piece London Irish party band The Craicheads, who will aim to get everyone back onto the dance floor following the Irish Music Introductions quiz.
The festival is organised and run by volunteers with all profits going to the MacMillan Cancer Support group.
Wigan Irish Festival runs from 2-4 May in a number of sites across Wigan. For more information log onto www.wiganirishfestival.com or call 078 03120431.