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George Lowden is one of the world’s most celebrated luthiers, and his guitars are played by the finest players on the planet. The list of Lowden devotees includes Eric Clapton, Pierre Bensusan, Paul Brady, Ed Sheeran, Damien Rice, Alex DeGrassi, Richard Thompson, Mike Oldfield, Nick Harper, Jon Gomm, Bill Shanley and Thomas Leeb. George is an old friend of the festival, having given numerous seminars and workshops over the previous 14 years. As we celebrate our fifteenth year, George is celebrating his forty fifth in the business!


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KINGS OF KUDOS (AU/IRL/UK) Australian Guitar legend Steve Housden (The Little River Band) fronts this pscyhadelic rock juggernaut with Les Samson (Noel Redding Band) on drums and Mike Geaney (Eric Bell Band) on Bass.

West Cork trio Kings Of Kudos bring a powerful blend of progressive rock, jazz-fusion and psychedelic blues to their own genre-defying sound.
Stephen Housden’s guitar style is an eclectic mix of influences that range from instrumental surf music through to complex Jazz riffs with deep bluesy overtones.
Les Sampson’s powerhouse drumming and Mike Geaney’s solid bass lines provide a driving groove underneath the guitar’s sonic flights of fantasy.  
Stephen Housden, guitar, vocals and principal writer, toured the world for many years as a member of Little River Band. He has also has played along side many music greats including; Dr. John, Warren Zevon, John Entwistle (The Who), Glen Frey and Albert Lee. 
After moving to West Cork from Australia, Stephen regularly played with with Noel Redding (Jimi Hendrix Experience) and his band which included Sampson on drums. Les and Stephen played so well together they eventually decided to form a band to play original music. In 2012 with the addition of Geaney on bass the Kings Of Kudos had arrived. 
Kings Of Kudos’ new EP, Third Mode From The Sun, (featuring a guest appearance by Margaret Kennedy on flute) will be released and showcased on September 20th. at this year’s Clonakilty International Guitar Festival.  




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Free Outdoor Show // 5pm Spiller’s Lane // September 11

The Church, led by electric guitar high priest Matt Churchill is an instrumental, brain exploding, wig out machine that comprises some of the finest session musicians in the country, every lick, chop and lead that Churchill unleashes causes synaptic explosions in the central nervous system!

Their shows are a rare event making their annual Clonakilty International Guitar Festival not only one of the highlights of the festival but a highlight of the YEAR!



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Ukulele-le-chéile is part community group, part artistic movement which exists to get people of all ages and levels of musical ability playing the world’s easiest instrument: the ukulele! Established by The West Cork Ukulele Orchestra and run with infectious enthusiasm by Christine Deady & Isobel Towse, the songs and the tuition you need to get up and strumming are provided, picking popular but simple tunes to work on. In this welcoming and light-hearted environment you’ll be surprised at just how quickly you pick up all the skills you need, just bring a uke and join in!


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Do you have the power of The Ink Spots In your life?

either way, join us for Breakfast With The Ink Spots where Ronan Leonard plays a selection from the many records that they recorded and released from the 1930s onwards

The cafe will provide gorgeous coffees, cakes and vittles…

You enjoy the music and food, flick through the papers, talk about what you’ve enjoyed in the festival so far and what is to come for the rest of the Sunday.

The Ink Spots are known to most for their amazing catalogue of songs (that mostly sound the same, but in a glorious depending way, like a good cup of tea you don’t need to tweak everything!)….

they are known to some via classic movies from or set in the 30/40s…

known to others from being the soundtrack to computer games such as the Fallout series or Bio Shock…

but loved by all this is one of the best ways you can start your day!


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Sat 11pm  – 5pm

Songwriting & Music creation workshops with the Music Generation team.

The jolly crew from the treaty city return to this years Clon guitar fest to preside over free workshops for kids covering songwriting arranging and recording.  Bring an instrument and enthusiasm!  Workshops will start on the hour. for bookings info contact  Class numbers are limited


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Our own guitar master Bill Shanley is back for this year’s festival. As well as anchoring the legendary Shanleys session on Sunday 19th, he will also feature in Guitartown programme 3 – a selection of performances recorded in Shanleys.

Raised in the West Cork haven of Clonakilty in the renowned Shanley’s Music Bar, Bill was surrounded by pro musicians from a very young age. Bill’s father, Moss Shanley, a great piano player and entertainer immersed in the music of the 40’s and 50’s, encouraged Bill to sit in on gigs from an early age and was a great mentor to him in his formative years.

Noel Redding, of the Jimi Hendrix Experience, gave Bill his first guitar lessons and was a big part of Bill’s musical education, introducing him to early Rock and Roll and more. From his first guitar lessons with Noel at the age of nine they played hundreds of gigs together in Shanley’s Bar, joined on regular occasions by Mitch Mitchell, Tom Mc Guinness and Eric Bell.

Noel and Bill’s playing partnership culminated in a concert, together with Randy California, in the famous Olympic Theatre in Paris in 1990 to mark the 20th anniversary of Hendrix’s death, the same venue that the JME did their first ever gig in 1966.

In 1990, straight out of school, Bill moved to Dublin and established himself as a highly sought after guitarist both in the studio and live. Accompanying Eleanor McEvoy during the heady days of recording “A Woman’s Heart”, on the strength of which Eleanor and her band signed to Geffen Records in 1993, and becoming a key member of Mary Black’s band in 1995,  remaining so today as musical director, and recording the Full Tide, Stories from the Steeples, Speaking with the Angels, Shine and more recently Mary Black sings Jimmy Mac albums.

Midnight Mission is Shanley’s most recent album and comprises original recordings inspired by the excitement and melodies of early electric guitar music, drawing on Bill’s world class guitar playing and ability to write great, timeless melodies. It features special guests Ray Davies and Paul Brady.

Session & Touring Guitarist, Producer…
Dublin based, Bill is one of Ireland’s top session and touring guitar players and producers. Bill has established himself internationally too, through touring and contributing to albums with Ray Davies, Paul Brady, Mary Black, Roy Harper, Gilbert O Sullivan, Alexandra Burke, Sinead O’Connor, Judy Collins to name a few.

Being an accompanist has always been of key interest to Bill, enjoying the great scope and limitless backdrop you can create as a player for the artist you’re working with. This skill was commented on in the Financial Times review of a Ray Davies show a the Royal Albert Hall –“Is there a finer sideman around? It’s unlikely…”



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“ … glorious technicolour hues that transcend linguistic boundaries; world music for a new world.” Siobhán Long, Irish Times.

One of the most accomplished songwriters in the country today, award winning trad/folk poet John Spillane continues to redefine musical boundaries with his own unique style of playing and songwriting which he likes to call ’Sean Nos Blues’. In the last 15 years John has released 9 award winning albums, penned top ten hit singles, had his music covered by the likes of Christy Moore and also recorded a groundbreaking TV series ‘Ceolcuairt’ for TG4 which saw John visiting Senegal and playing with native Senegalese musicians such as Baba Maal & CHEIKH LO.

While as a songwriter John’s talent is often acknowledged his guitar playing too is of distinct merit and fuses trad and folk finger picking with elements of world music and the Blues. He is endorsed by Rodriguez Guitars one of only two endorsements they have issued in Ireland.

John brings his Meteor Award-winning skills and many years experience of teaching the craft of songwriting to bear on these perennially popular workshops. Starting by forging a space where all negativity and criticism is banished outright, John teaches techniques of imagery, rhyme and rhythm to help unlock the gems of musical poetry that we all have hidden inside us! Book ahead as these workshops usually fill up fast.