SOME big names are on the way to help the Koroit community celebrate its Irish heritage.
The Koroit Irish Festival has announced star performers Mike Brady and Damien Leith will be headline acts at this year’s event on the weekend of May 1-3.
As well as performing, Brady has the added honour of being the Koroit Irish Festival Ambassador for 2015.
As part of his duties in this role Brady will lead the street procession on Saturday of the festival, a colourful affair that sees members of the Koroit community carry the 32 Irish county flags down the main street. He will also be a special guest at the festival’s opening night on Friday, an event that attracts a full house to the Koroit Theatre.
Leith was the 2014 festival ambassador and produced a stunning show that, for many, was a feature of the weekend.
Koroit Irish Festival committee member Leon Carey said having both Brady and Leith coming to Koroit was a huge win for the festival.
“Both Mike and Damien are highly respected and talented performers who have national profiles so they will drew a lot of attention to our festival,” Mr Carey said.
“Mike’s latest album pays homage to his Irish roots so he is the perfect fit for our festival.
“And Damien was so good last year that people having being pleading with us to get him back which we are thrilled to be able to do. Both Mike and Damien are really excited about coming to Koroit. They are both very aware of the strong link Koroit has to the Irish and they want to help us celebrate this.”
Brady shot to fame in the 1970’s when he released the football anthem Up There Cazaly while his latest album Bloodlines was recorded in Ireland.
Brady’s visit to Koroit will continue a close connection to the area as he will be in Macarthur as the Australia Day Ambassador on Monday and he will also play at the Port Fairy Folk Festival in March.
Irish-born Leith was the winner of the 2006 Australian Idol and had a number one hit nationally with his song Night of my Life.
Other acts also confirmed for the 2015 Koroit Irish Festival include Oh Pep, an emerging band that was awarded the 2014 Folk Alliance Australia Youth Performer of the Year award at the National Folk Festival.
Australian-Irish singer/songwriter Maria Forde will return as will high-class local Irish music performers Cill Airne, Tommy, Tuddy and Mick, The Kilmurphy’s, Kayla Dwyer, Rusty O’Bucks and Melissa Bowman.
Leading Irish music band from Ballarat, Old Melbourne Road, is also confirmed to play.
The festival will again hold the Australian Danny Boy Championships, spud peeling and picking competitions, the Beks Bowman Emerging Talent award and a game of Gaelic football.