Moira Calling: Fantastic debut

Moira Calling: Fantastic debut

Review: Ahmed Al Sarraf • Photos: Tremaine Gregg

This was the first edition of the Moira Calling festival and what a start! The debut festival had an incredible line-up packed with local artists. Hudson Taylor, David C Clements and Callum Stewart are just a few to mention of the long list of attractions. Michael Mormecha was remarkable.

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What a day for Moira and the community; the small town and festival site was buzzing with excitement. The many tents housing local products, food and drink were a perfect accompaniment to the wide range of music on offer.

Arborist, Ports, Exmagician, Pleasure beach, New Portals, David C Clements, Hudson Taylor were the stars of the “Maine stage”. The smaller “all the little lights stage” featured Beulah kim, Cup o joe, Bear Skin, Siobhan Day, Hannah McPhillimy, Michael Mormecha and Callum Stewart.

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Moira Calling was an excellent showcase for Irish music with only local artists performing. Each artist that took to the stage gave a great performance but my preferences went to Hannah McPhillimy, Callum Stewart, Michael Mormecha and of course David C Clements and Hudson Taylor.

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Hannah McPhillimy gave me goosebumps with her keyboard. The Belfast-based song writer gave a shining performance in her unique jazz-indie style. I think we have a new Ella Fitzgerald in our midst!

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Alternative and indie music was the predominant style of the day. Michael Mormecha gave a brilliant alternative-electro set, with band members donning black masks. Whilst young Callum Stewart gave a dynamic and enthusiastic performance. I managed to catch up with him after his set and he spoke very highly of the festival. His fresh and happy attitude was contagious and he certainly had a great effect on the crowd.

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Undoubtedly the two of the biggest artists playing at the festival were David C Clements and Hudson Taylor who was also accompanied by Gabrielle Aplin. They did not disappoint, closing the festival in style.

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As I expected, David C Clements gave an excellent performance, full of emotion. He played ‘My dear Mother’ and ‘Oh child‘ and both were very moving. His guitar skill and haunting voice both silenced and amazed the crowd. After his set I had a groupie moment and thanked him for his performance. In return he gave me one of his CDs which I have been playing on repeat ever since!

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The festival ended with the joyful Hudson Taylor. Two folk guitarists brothers set the stage on fire with the crowd dancing to every song they performed. They definitely spread joy all over the festival with attendees and staff alike cheering and dancing the night away. Most of their songs are based on their own personal experiences and ‘Holly’ was a standout track for me.

By the end of Hudson Taylor’s set Moira Calling felt more like a family party, with everyone dancing together like they had known each other for years! The brothers provided a perfect end to this new and exciting festival and left the crowd wanting more.

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The first edition of Moira Calling was definitely a day to remember and I am sure it will get bigger and better every year. Moira Calling marks a new page in the Northern Irish alternative music scene.

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