Elvis Costello & The Attractions' Macroom Festival appearance this Saturday night should be the highlight of the two-day musical event which gets under way at 2 p.m. that afternoon and features a host of international rock stars. There seems to be great interest in this musical event — the fifth such in Macroom — judging by the widespread media coverage it has received, both here and in the British music press. And, why not? Macroom hosted the country's first ever successful open air rock concert with Rory Gallagher in 1977 and has been setting high standards ever since, while other festivals follow their example. Indeed, it is a mammoth undertaking, the budget for the entire Macroom Festival coming to in the region of £128,000.
The Rhythm Kings will be putting a glide in the strides of patrons as they get Saturday's show off the ground. They will no doubt feature their debut single "Going Steady" which is due for release on the Scoff label this Friday.
Working up Saturday's bill we find Derry band The Moondogs who recently completed their own afternoon series on ITV, called The Moondog Matinee. Jackie Hamilton, Gerry McCandless and Austin Barrett are The Moondogs and their hits include "You Do Don't Ya" and "Who's Gonna Tell Mary?"
Love Action is the title of the third album of Sniff 'n' The Tears, released a few weeks ago on. the Chiswick label which is distributed by Polygram in this country. The main vocalist in the band is rhythm guitarist Paul Roberts whose songs comprise the album and whose paintings have adorned the sleeves of their three albums.
Sniff 'n' The Tears' debut album Fickle Heart yielded the 1977' hit single "Driver's Seat" which charted worldwide, reaching No. 15 in the American charts. The Game's Up was their second album and the single off their new album is called "That Final Love."
Special guests on the Saturday are The Blues Band, featuring Paul Jones, whose debut album The Official Blues Band Bootleg Album was one of the major factors which sparked the revival of interest in rhythm 'n' blues music in the past two years. The line-up includes Tom McGuinness and Hughie Flint, as well as Dave Kelly and Gary Fletcher.
But, the best wine is kept until the end on Saturday night with star "Attraction" Elvis Costello taking the stage soon after 8.30 p.m. With a string of hit albums to his credit like My Aim Is True, This Year's Model, Armed Forces, Get Happy and Trust since 1976, Costello has proven to be a major musical influence, especially on the new wave movement.
Elvis Costello's eighth single, no less, was his biggest hit, this being "Oliver's Army" two years ago. His hit singles since then have included "Accidents Will Happen," "I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down" and "From A Whisper To A Scream."
Also on Saturday afternoon, there will be a novelty attraction in the form of the first "live" appearance of Jim O'Neill's infamous belch. The bould James has been conducting a "Save The Belch" campaign on his afternoon show on RTE Radio 2.
Sunday's bill toppers are The Undertones whose new album Positive Touch is among the best pop albums I've heard this year so far. It includes their latest hit "It's Gonna Happen!" Their previous success in the charts are "Jimmy Jimmy" and "My Perfect Cousin." Definitely a band to watch for, as I've said in this column previously.
Their special guests are Wishbone Ash, one of the big "name" heavy rock groups of the last decade. Reaction to their inclusion on the bill in place of The Pretenders has been very good.
The Paul Brady Band get their first big break in Macroom on Sunday and hope to get the same enthusiastic response which their debut rock album Hard Station has received since its recent release. It includes the singles "Crazy Dreams" and "Busted Loose" — all on the WEA label.
Q-Tips are an eight-piece band who prefer to do their own versions of the classics of that genre, sacrificing purism in favour of the soulful fun and feel of the music. Roger Daltrey of The Who produced Q-Tips' last single "You're Gonna Love Me" and I believe that they are releasing a new one this weekend to coincide with their Macroom appearance.
Last, but certainly not least, there is Ireland's innovative and exciting three-piece acoustic group Scullion, whose new single is their stage favourite "Jump" on WEA. Their two albums are classics in their own right. It will be Sonny Condell's second appearance at Macroom Festival, having played a solo support to Gallagher in 1977. The other Scullion members are Corkman Philip King and that excellent guitarist Greg Boland.
The melodious voice of Dave Fanning will introduce the acts on both days and in the region of 15,000 people are expected to attend each day. All that we need to make it a weekend to remember in Macroom is for the weather to be kind.