Smithwick's Kilkenny Rhythm and Roots Music Festival

Photos and images courtesy of Smithwicks Rhythm and Roots Music Festival
Click on any image to zoom in
Summary Info Festival Story Not AvailableFestival EventsOther SourcesPractical Info

Country and Region IrelandKilkenny
Type of Festival Music
Location of Festival Kilkenny, County Kilkenny, Ireland
Festival Contact Information

Smithwicks Rhythm and Roots Music Festival
Rollercoaster Records
Kieran Street
Kilkenny, Ireland
Phone: 00353 567763669

Festival Description

Since 1998, the Kilkenny Rhythm and Roots Festival has attracted some of the finest names in the Americana canon to the marble City; acts like Calexico, Giant Sand, Ryan Adams, Alejandro Escovedo, Mark Eitzel, Guy Clark, Ray La Montagne, Richmond Fontaine, and Rodney Crowell have featured on the festival bill in the past.

From midday to midnight audiences wend their way through the medieval streets sampling the huge range of music in the 30 plus venues, hosting over 30 acts from Ireland, USA, Canada, and UK, with over 80 ticketed and free shows. Ticket prices have been held at the same level for the last five years and the number of free gigs has been increased to over 60. This year’s lineup includes established acts such as Drive-By Truckers, Mary Gauthier, Beth Orton, and Wilko Johnson. There’s also a strong list of artists new to Ireland, including Doug Paisley, Frontier Ruckus and Hans Chew.

Festival Dates May 3 - 6, 2013
Festival Links

Festival Events:

Confirmed artists 2013:
    • ‘Muchaco’ is the latest album from Phosphorescent and the European tour kicks off in Kilkenny. “The sound is bigger, airier, and more mysterious than anything the band’s ever done. It is a stunning piece of music.” – Pitchfork
    • The Graceless Age is John Murry’s debut record, recorded and co-produced with the late Tim Mooney. It has been named “Album Of The Year” by a number of European critics, as well as being shortlisted for The UNCUT Music Award Album Of The Year. “A record high on my list of the best albums of 2012, a personal favourite of the last 12 months, second only to Bob Dylan’s Tempest.” - Allan Jones, UNCUT Magazine
    • After a breakthrough year that saw his exceptional solo debut “Queen Of Denmark” win MOJO’s Album of 2010, John Grant has created a follow-up that underlines his uncanny and charismatic talents, presenting an artist at the peak of his power.
      “ Intense with a generous side helping of dour humour. The crowd loved it, too, surprising the Denver man by singing along with gusto to his droll tunes.” – Irish Times
    • Look Out Mama, recorded in Nashville by producer Andrija Tokic (Alabama Shakes), is the result of almost two years of Alynda Lee Segarra and her band, Hurray For The Riff Raff, criss-crossing the USA, playing over 100 shows in small bars and clubs. Look Out Mama covers a wide array of musical ground, with every song unified by Alynda’s soulful vocals.
      “A hugely enjoyable slice of Americana” - Sunday Times
    • Temple Beautiful (his 12th CD) is named after a long defunct music venue in San Francisco. The album mines a similar alt-indie-punk-pop-soul-folk-blues-country-rock vein as earlier releases. It is, as Chuck puts it, “a love letter to the town where I grew up… San Francisco.”
      “A feast of contextual songwriting and sizzling guitar.” - Uncut Magazine
    • Their new album, The Place I Left Behind confirms that The Deep Dark Woods capture lonesome yearning at its loveliest. The Place I Left Behind offers murder ballads alongside scrappy rockers, lovesick hymnals and slow-dance waltzes. The album illuminates folk traditions without stripping the shadows of roots music history – The Deep Dark Woods wake the ghosts of Appalachia with their prairie gothic pyre-side tales.
      “It’s easy to see why The Place I Left Behind was nominated for ‘Roots and Traditional Album of the Year’ in the 2012 Juno Awards. It’s a cleverly constructed, well-written and cohesive piece of work.” – Daily Telegraph.
    • Angel Olsen has a fresh edge to her sound, a warm and wonderful range, and an otherworldly skill and charm. Released on Bathetic Records, Half Way Home is a continuation of Angel’s elegance, a collection of both new and old music. It presents this beautiful woman and her extraordinary voice taken to a new level, brought on by many road trips with Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and crew.
      “11 tracks of rough-hewn folk, sung by a voice that curls and dips and dissolves like a black smoke plume.” – Pitchfork
    • “All That We Know” (Silver Sprocket Bicycle Club), the new Larry and His Flask album, is uncommonly joyous, sure, but also deviously astute. There’s the progressive and rowdy side of bluegrass and Southern roots music, on which this album raises the ante. There’s the strange overlap of roots music and indie rock, as seen in bands from Mumford & Sons to the Low Anthem. And then there’s punk’s intrusion into various scrappy, vintage-minded modes of rock, as in the Gaslight Anthem. It made for a breathless, polymorphous good time. “ – New York Times
      Bring your dancing shoes for this one!
    • Ultimately, what makes the Ha Ha Tonka brand of Southern rock so special is that it’s authentic, it’s effortless, and it never comes across as forced. Named after Ha Ha Tonka State Park in their native Missouri, the group’s relentless touring has seen them become one of the most buzzed about young bands in America, appearing at Lollapalooza, Sundance Film Fest, SXSW.
      “The Missouri quartet tears at the heart of American roots music with every chord and its new record, Death of a Decade, basically oozes passion for the craft.” –Washington Post
    • Dead Flamingoes are the combined talents of James Walbourne & Kami Thompson.
      James is the lead guitarist in the Pretenders (with Chrissie Hynde) and previously was the hot guitarist/singer in the Pogues, Pernice Brothers and Son Volt as well as playing on two Jerry Lee Lewis records.
      Kami Thompson’s impressive pedigree (daughter of Richard & Linda Thompson) inevitably led to her quitting her “proper job” to go on the musical road full time. Together this talented singing/songwriting/guitar playing team are a new and inspiring musical force. Look out for their debut album due out later in the year.
    • The Lost Brothers released TRAILS OF THE LONELY in November 2008 and spent the next two years touring and writing, honing their craft both as a live act and a songwriting partnership. In 2010, they were off to Sheffield, England with a new batch of songs. These recordings turned out to be their second album, SO LONG JOHN FANTE.
      Recently, the Lost Brothers caught the ear of Raconteur, Brendan Benson, who invited them to record their third album in his Nashville studio. The album, called THE PASSING OF THE NIGHT, is released on Brendan’s READYMADE RECORDS in the US and on LOJINX RECORDS in the UK and Ireland
    • From the seemingly placid shores of Lake Geneva comes a sonic earthquake. Fusing the old time French migrant music of Louisiana with garage rock’n’roll, Mama Rosin create an alternative raw incendiary music. Their new album, Bye Bye Bayou, was produced in New York by legendary punk-blues guitarist, Jon Spencer. This will be a raw, incendiary, get-on-that-dancefloor performance!
      ‘Exhilarating stuff’ - The Independent On Sunday


Other Sources:

Want more? Click on a color — travel and explore.  

  • Smithwick’s Kilkenny Rhythm and Roots 2011;


Practical Info:

  • Booking for ticketed events is at the festival office over Rollercoaster Records in Kieran Street, phone 00353 567763669 and full information is available on the festival website at


Do you have an update or more information about this festival? Email us at
Start or join a conversation about this festival in the Forum.