In the cold depths of winter it can seem like a life time ago, but once upon a time there was the 2016 Cape Clear story telling festival. It was another successful year for it, though some stayed away for fear of the slightly variable weather forecasts. This is always a mistake. For those of us who enjoy watching the weather 12 months a year on Cape we know that the weather is never going to be that bad, and if it were there would be text alerts from the ferry service to let you know about it. For everyone else prepared to ‘risk’ the passage over on the boat everything went fine.
Personally not having been to the festival since the 1990s it was fun to be back, and in a nice symmetry one of the great speakers Joel Ben Izzy, was also making his first appearance since the 90s too. Later Chuck Kruger also shared with me that it was Joel that inspired him to begin doing story telling long before he ever moved to Cape or even though of doing the Cape Story Telling Festival itself.
Over 20 years later the Cape Story Telling Festival is now the institution that it is, and Joel and Chuck himself are now both well seasoned story tellers. In curating the story tellers each year there has always been a conscious intention to ensure that the mix is right. Previously one of the criteria also used to be that there needed to be one teller from the North of Ireland and one from the South. Luckily those tensions have subsided at least a little, but overall the concept of a good mix remains. This time there were two men, (Abbi Patrix, Joel Ben Izzy) two women (Kate Corkery, Fiona Dowling) and one singing Troubadour, John Spillane, who was very funny and used his guitar with great comic timing.
Across each evening’s main performance you got to see all of the main featured performers, each rotating and giving a taste of why they were this year’s chosen acts. Fortunately at this time of year there is also so many other excellent story tellers on the island that you know there will be entertaining anecdotes breaking out all over the place, from Cotters pub, to the Club, to the youth hostel with their special children’s performance, and then back to the Irish college for the evening gala performances, with goats ice cream on hand for the intermissions.
This year’s festival will be on Sept 1 – 3rd and will be extra special for a few reasons, some of which are public knowledge and some are not. So like all good story tellers, we’ll leaving you wondering a little longer, but be assured this year’s one will be a good one too, and don’t let the weather forecasts put you off. Buy tickets for the 2017 edition here.