Fans of Irish music might need to brace for a ticket-buying frenzy as a virtual invasion of artists prepare to travel Down Under over coming months
The East Coast Blues and Roots Festival in Byron Bay over Easter has a distinct Irish accent next year with Hozier and Imelda May both headlining.
Hozier is now a genuine superstar who has built up a massive following around the world since his breakthrough hit Take Me To Church in 2013.
Dubliner Imelda May looks very different to when she first toured Australia in 2011. Now, having abandoned her rockabilly look and sound, she has established herself as a brilliant soul and jazz singer.
Also on the bill at Byron Bay are Canadian based Irish singer Irish Mythen, honorary Irishman David Gray and Irish-American Celtic funk band Flogging Molly.
Ahead of that, in February, the uber-talented Damien Rice returns for his first Aussie tour in a decade.
Playing intimate venues like the City Recital Hall in Sydney Rice is slated to “take audiences on a familiar yet unique musical journey – presenting much-loved classics, with the tease of new music on the horizon”.
In March, Gavin James returns after a very successful tour in 2016.
The Port Fairy Folk Festival and Blue Mountains Folk Festival also boast some awesome Irish talent with Luka Bloom returning to Australia for his first tour in five years. Also performing at those festivals in the remarkable Wallis Bird. Born left-handed, she lost the four fingers and thumb of her left hand in a lawnmower accident and had four sewn back on. She got used to playing a right-handed guitar upside-down, which explains her unconventional style.
Also hitting the festival circuit will be Daoiri Farrell. The former electrician, who decided to become a musician after seeing Christy Moore perform, has been described by some of the biggest names in Irish folk music as one of most important singers to come out of Ireland in recent years.
Sharon Shannon also returns to Australia in February for a shows in Perth, Sydney, Adelaide and Melbourne. Also in Australia that month will be crooner Daniel O’Donnell.
Dublin’s Kodaline also return to Oz for the first time since their sold-out 2014 tour. The indie pop quartet have gigs lined up in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth after a St Patrick’s Day show in Melbourne.
Fans of Irish pop can look forward to a reformed Boyzone touring in March and April. Before that, Irish girl group B*Witched will arrive for shows from the end of January.
Celtic Tenors also arrive in May for a national tour.