Local gigs get Paddy in tune for Glastonbury

MUSIC lovers are looking forward to the summer season with festival after festival across Ireland and the UK and North West singer-songwriter Paddy Nash is more excited than most as this year he has bagged a slot at the biggest festival of them all, Glastonbury!

Paddy, originally from Londonderry but now claiming Limavady as ‘home’, will play alongside his hero Billy Bragg on the Left Field stage on June 25 before appearing at a series of acclaimed events in Cambridge, Camden and Dorset.

But local fans will get a preview when Paddy Nash and the Happy Enchiladas take their ‘Tour Aid’ across the county in a bid to finance their trip across the water.

The band will be appearing at the Alexander Arms, Limavady tomorrow (Thursday) night; The Cellar Bar, Draperstown on Saturday, June 11; Masons Bar, Derry on Friday, June 17; and The Cosy Corner, Lavey on Saturday, July 2.

Leading Enchilada Diane Greer explained: “Over the past year or so we have been investing in the band, raising our profile, releasing the album (‘When We Were Brave’) and, as a band with a social conscience, we are often doing benefit gigs so the reason for doing ‘Tour Aid’ was that we simply couldn’t afford to go to England - even though we’ll be camping at most of the events and sleeping in a barge in Cambridge, it will still cost at least £3,000. We won’t make any money by performing but we hope to be able to cover our costs while raising our profile in England.”

Fresh from the Flatlake Festival in Monaghan at the weekend and with a new EP out this month, local audiences attending ‘Tour Aid’ couldn’t catch the band at a more exciting time.

Diane said: “The album was released in May last year and we haven’t been pushing it but it’s doing its own thing. One of the tracks, ‘Barefoot in Verona’ is going down a storm in clubs across Europe! We’re still getting good airplay here.

“Paddy writes about places he knows and things that he sees. He’s a song factory! He writes, plays instruments and records. Billy Bragg said he is ‘a top songwriter’ which means a lot, Another of our songs, ‘Billy Bragg Jeans’ led to Paddy playing at Glastonbury. Billy Bragg has a really loyal fanbase who are very active and very engaged on Facebook. Someone posted a message about the song and someone belonging to Billy Bragg Saddos, a very select group of fans, picked up on it and they suggested we play at the Tolpuddle Martyrs Festival in Dorset which is a dream for any socialist band - and it’s down the road from where Billy Bragg lives. Billy Bragg himself then posted a message on Facebook one day saying he was listening to Paddy Nash so all his fans came over to us! Billy curates the Left Field at Glastonbury, there aren’t a huge number of acts but there are political debates and speeches, there’s a great buzz at it.”

As well as the upcoming local gigs, Paddy Nash and the Happy Enchiladas will be performing at the Lisnaskea Festival on June 18 and the new Pigeon Field Film and Music Festival in Ballymoney later in the summer.