The London Irish Vintage Day will return on Sunday 3 September with entertainment from Derek Ryan, Hungry Grass among others.
Derek Ryan is one of the biggest names in Irish country music.
The Irish World caught up with him at last weekend’s Páirc festival in Birmingham when he told us how much he is looking forward to this weekend’s charity fundraiser in Greenford.
Derek told us: “I am looking forward to it.
“I’ve heard so much about it.
“And I used to actually play in a little pub in Greenford there years ago when I was living in London, so it’s great to be back in Greenford with my own show.
“And it’s a pity – My dad is actually in a vintage club at home in Carlow, but I don’t think the car would make it over here to Greenford, so if we ever do it again, we’ll get him over in the car.
“It sounds like a fantastic day. So hopefully the weather will be out and we’ll enjoy it.”
Derek first came to prominence as a member of boyband D Side. He says something that has stood to him in his career is his gigging in Irish pubs in London.
“You get to know very quickly.
“I always say an Irish pub is very unforgiving.
“They’ll tell you what you’re doing wrong so you get to learn.
“If you want to learn, you’ll learn very quickly and it stands to me, all that gigging that I did in Irish pubs and different pubs everywhere.
“I always say when young lads and young girls say, ‘Any advice?’, I say, ‘Gig everywhere, gig anywhere you can because you’ll learn something from every gig. Even if there’s no one listening to you, you’ll learn something and I have very fond memories of gigging in London in the pubs and great craic as well and many a lock in and what have you.
“So yeah, we’re looking forward to getting back there.”
Along with other big names like Nathan Carter and Lisa McHugh, Derek was part of a fresh crop of young singers that breathed new life into the Irish country music genre over the last 10- 15 years making them big stars in the process.
Reflecting on this Derek said: “Irish country over the last 10 years or so has enjoyed a resurgence.
“It’s always been massive, of course.
“But I think there were a few fresh faces with myself and Nathan and Lisa as well, and lots more around that time.
“We’re doing a lot of festivals at home and everything is flying.
“There’s lots of new bands out there as well, and young lads coming along, and it’s just brilliant.
“I suppose, since lockdown as well, it’s a really exciting time, everyone’s coming out.
“There’s gigs everywhere, and it’s a great time for live music in Ireland, I think.”
Hungry Grass, led by Peter Coughlan, are well known on the Irish scene in London. They played the very first London Irish Vintage Day and also last year’s event where Nathan Carter was the star attraction.
The Irish World also spoke to Nathan Carter at last weekend’s show and the country music star reflected on last year’s event.
“That was a really good gig last year.
“I don’t think I’ve played to such a big crowd on such a small stage,” he laughed.
“Literally just in the middle of a field, but an amazing gig. And the weather that day was unbelievable. The sun was cracking the flag so we had a really good gig.
“And who knows? We might be back again if they’ll have us back up ahead sometime.”
The Irish World was there last year to see thousands of people in a field singing along to Nathan’s hit Wagon Wheel.
It was incredible but is he used to that? “No, it was different for us.
“I don’t get to play London that much. We’ve done the Palladium a few times alright, but I’ve never done a festival in London.
“I used to play in the Galtymore before it closed, but to go and play a big festival outdoors like that was really good fun and hopefully there’s more of them to come up ahead.”
This will be the 11th annual London Irish Vintage Day although it did miss a couple of years on account of the pandemic and this year the festivities will raise funds for BIAS, Wetwheels Hamble, St Joseph’s Hospice and Aisling Project.
BIAS (Brent Irish Advisory Service) have assisted the Irish Community in Brent for 45 years providing a service that informs their clients of their rights and welfare entitlements to ensure the best quality of life possible.
Wetwheels Hamble is a charity that offers the disabled, and their carers, the opportunity to access restorative blue water therapy where they are able to experience the calming sensory experience of being at sea as well as the thrill of being able to travel at speed through the waves.
St Joseph’s Hospice is one of the oldest and largest hospices in the UK and provide high quality, specialist palliative care and support to those who have a life-limiting illness.
Established in 1990, the Aisling Centre is dedicated to the promotion of positive mental health and emotional wellbeing.
London Irish Vintage Day is this Sunday 3 September at Tir Chonaill Gaels GAA Ground in Greenford, from 12noon.