Appalachian and Bluegrass Music Festival

Summary Info Festival StoryFestival Events Not AvailableOther SourcesPractical Info

Country and Region United KingdomNorthern Ireland
Type of Festival Music
Location of Festival Omagh, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland UK
Festival Contact Information

Appalachian and Bluegrass Music Festival
Ulster American Folk Park
2 Mellon Road
Omagh, County Tyrone
BT78 5QY Northern Ireland UK
Phone: (48) 28-8224-3292

Festival Description

A must for all fans of Bluegrass and Folk music. Annually thousands of visitors make the pilgrimage to the Folk Park on the first weekend of September to see one of the largest festivals of its kind in Europe. Musicians and dancers from all Europe and North America will perform to hugely appreciative audiences in the unique setting of the outdoor museum. Get along to the ‘Bluegrass In the Park’ afternoon sessions or the evening concerts and experience something really special.

Festival Dates August 30 - September 1, 2013
Festival Links

Festival Story:

Bluegrass music has its roots in the tunes and ballads which emigrants from Ireland brought with them to the American frontier centuries ago. Where better to celebrate the music of those descendants than a “living history” museum dedicated to their Ulster-Scots ancestors? Established in 1976, as Northern Ireland’s contribution to the American bicentenary, the Folk Park has been constructed around the original homestead of the Mellon family. The Mellons immigrated to Western Pennsylvania, became successful bankers and their descendants eventually founded Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

This weekend-long musical homecoming isn’t necessarily limited to Americans from the southern US, but includes many groups from all over Europe as well as many Commonwealth nations including Canada and Australia. The festival does not only present traditional fiddle-based combos – but highlights gospel groups, cloggers and a lecture series about the history and roots of bluegrass and the Appalachian Region.

The festival is affordable, relaxed and very family-friendly. The festival encourages all-day participation – experiencing the living history museum and re-enactors throughout the day when the music isn’t playing. Recently, the Bluegrass Camp for Kids was created with help from the US Consulate General and the International Bluegrass Music Association.

The Bluegrass experience in County Tyrone isn’t just limited to the Folk Park – as Omagh is the host to hundreds of performers from around the world. On the Sunday morning during the festival, it is not unusual to find local churches full of Festival participants globe sharing their traditional music with the congregations.


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Practical Info:

  • Ulster American Folk Park
How to get there:
  • By Bus from Belfast:
    Goldliner Express bus no 273 from Belfast to Derry passes the main gates of the Folk Park.  The Express stops on request outside the main gates of the Folk Park.
    The nearest local bus station is in Omagh  which also has a a local service passing the Folk Park.
    In addition taxis are usually available at Omagh Bus Station.
  • The majority of the museum buildings are accessible to wheelchair users, in most cases without assistance. We regret that it is not possible at present to provide physical access to the upper floors of some buildings without compromising the accuracy of the historical experience. In such cases, visitors should ask to be provided with an alternative form of access, such as photographs.
  • A limited number of wheelchairs are available in the reception area for use in the Park; these are allocated on a first-come, first served basis.
  • The museum experience for all visitors to the Folk park places a major emphasis on the sensory experiences of touch, smell, sight and hearing and persons with sensory impairment will find much that is appropriate to their particular needs. Guide Dogs are welcome.


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