Northern soul heads into the west for Galway fest

Groove Tube with Cian O’Connell

Set to enjoy its third year in Ireland, Too Darn Soulful is a three-day festival coming to Galway next week to celebrate the best of Motown, R&B, disco and northern soul.  This year’s programme features over 20 DJs from Ireland and Europe across four rooms of music, each featuring different extensions of rhythm and soul.

It kicks off next Thursday afternoon, March 8, in Galway Bay Hotel, with day and weekend passes still available.

The project began in 2020, when organiser Paddy Shevlin took a chance on bringing his passion to the west. The first weekend was held in Westport, and it was met with more support than Paddy expected.

“We knew there was a little bit of a market there, but we couldn’t be sure,” he explains.

“It was a real shot in the dark, but it went very, very well so we were determined to repeat it again. Logistically we found Westport was a bit of a nightmare. It would’ve made more sense to got to Dublin or Cork or wherever. But I’m over in Mayo all the time – my people are from up there – and I just wanted to take something to the west.

“We checked out Galway and I happened to go into the Galway Bay Hotel… They have so many big conferences and events going on, but they took a chance on us.

“Obviously, we couldn’t do it the following year because of the pandemic so we did it last March and we brought over Eddie Holman, the American soul singer. He gave us some credibility and it was superb; the event was.”

Though there is no live act booked for this year’s programme, feedback Paddy has received suggests it isn’t the guests’ primary concern.

Too Darn Soulful will play host to a variety of events outside of the DJ sets – among them whiskey and wine tasting, yoga and soul-inspired films. There is another special guest in the form of soul historian, collector and DJ Steve Guarnori.

“Steve Guarnori is an extraordinary character,” Paddy says.

Pictured: Eddie Holman performing at the last Too Darn Soulful event in March 2023.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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