We were extremely excited to have none other than the Mayor of Kilkenny, Patrick O’Neill, launch The Big Squeeze in the illustrious surroundings at City Hall last week. Music lovers had traveled from Meath, Wexford, Laois, Cork, Fermanagh, Tipperary and Dublin to be there. Our fledgling social media accounts were being manned by Aisling and Niamh from The Small Business Fairy, whilst the local media turned out in force to support the team and our fledgling festival. We were also joined by the artist Mike Cantwell who is responsible for our mascot.
Fresh from his stint on radio, Chairman Noel Cleere told the inspirational story of how the festival came into being, and how his team have put the whole thing together in jig time (excuse the pun). A true lesson in going after what you want. We also introduced our cat mascot to the world (incidentally he still needs a name folks, please help). Christened code name Top Cat, he stands a mere 6 feet tall and lots of photo opportunities were grabbed by all.
The Mayor graciously posed beside him with his own accordion (he took on Noels 10 minute challenge – watch this space!).
The Acorn organising committee are determined to show Kilkenny to her best advantage. This was one of the reasons that City Hall was chosen for the launch. Mayor O’Neill stressed how impressed he was at the sheer scale of the event and how much effort had already gone into organising it. He felt that it was also fitting that an inaugural event should be launched at the beautiful and ancestral City Hall.
Noel also announced that the Scottish delegation were all set and getting ready to take on Ireland at the Stramash. Other artists include the Cork Accordion Club, Castletown and Royal Meath Accordion Orchestras. Local artists confirmed at launch night, for the event include Michael Rafter, Jimmy White and Clare Kilkenny. MC for the event is Donal Ring Jnr.
Public concerts will be held at the historic Rothe House, MacDonagh Junction, Café Sol and the Canal Square.