Tuning up for largest accordion festival

Sean O' Neil and Marie Devine attended the 21st NI Open Accordion Championships. INCT 08-004-PSB
Sean O' Neil and Marie Devine attended the 21st NI Open Accordion Championships. INCT 08-004-PSB

The 22nd annual Northern Ireland Open Accordion Championships will take place in Carrick on Saturday February 23.

This is the ninth time that Carrick is hosting Northern Ireland’s largest accordion festival.

The competition has attracted 210 entries from as England, Scotland, Germany and the Irish Republic as well as a strong local entry.

There will be solo, duet, group, orchestral and marching band sections suitable for all ages and grades ranging in styles from classical and continental to traditional.

The grand finale will feature the Massed Accordion Band with over 60 accordions on stage.

There will also be a number of trade exhibitors which will add to the atmosphere.

The Northern Ireland Open Accordion Championships will be held at the Loughshore Hotel, starting at 9.30 am and continuing until 5:00 pm with a prize presentation taking place later that night at a gala dance in the hotel with The Keith Dickson Scottish Ceilidh Group..

A “free and easy” concert will be held in the Glendun Suite on Friday night featuring top accordionists Nigel Black, Jean Hanger, Jovan Rynjak, Gary Arnold, Alan Shute, Sean O’Neill and Anne-Marie Devine, Nigel Pasby and Helen Newton, Helen Rich, Malachy Cairns and Barry Smith.

There will be another musical feast at the prize presentation with a 45 minute concert featuring top accordionist Noelle McCarthy and a number of prize winners from previous years.

According to the organisers, the 22nd accordion championships promise to deliver “an extravaganza of accordion music catering for all tastes”. The competition has been recognised by the National Accordion Organisation of the United Kingdom as a qualifying heat for the British Championships.

Daytime admission is free so visitors are invited to the Loughshore Hotel to enjoy a packed programme of accordion music.