About festival

The Hardly Strictly Acoustic Festival is a Concept Event hosted by Downdaroad Productions. It is kindly sponsored by ISS Recruitment, The Ivy Naas & Dooley Insurances.

Friday 26th August

The Hardly Strictly Acoustic festival has grown considerably over the past 3 years. This year’s festival kicks off on the night of Friday 27th August with a very special In-the-Round style performance from three of Ireland’s highest regarded emerging artists; Keith Plunkett, Maria Kelly & Fields.

Following this, we kick things up a gear with local Naas band ‘The Blue Hawks’ a Naas-based rhythm & blues group that will definitely have you on your feet, rocking.

We keep the energy of the night high with Kildare group: Vagabonds & Thieves. These guys’ fiercely energetic and unique sound has been described as ‘Seasick Steve on acid’ & ‘trailer park rock’. They will have you dancing and partying right through to our headline act at 10.30.

Finally, the headliner of the first night of the festival is Kildare’s finest trad-fusion group, the much adored Bunoscionn. These guys are described as ‘a musical love-child, mothered by Irish Folk music and fathered by reggae/dance/rock’. This will truly be an unforgettable night of music.

Tickets €15

Saturday 28th August

On Saturday afternoon from 3pm-6pm we will have a host of Ireland’s finest singer/songwriters perform intimate In-the-Round sets. We will see these story tellers and artists take to the stage, three at a time, and take turns introducing and performing their favourite songs.

This part of the festival is free and open for all to attend.

After a short break to catch our breath, we get ready to kick off the main events of the evening.

First we feature the wonderful harmonies of Kildare/Dublin duo, Hvmmingbyrd. These girls will take to the stage and show us their superb and complex vocal arrangements, haunting harmonies and onstage charm for which they are so well known.

This is followed by exquisite Alt Folk group, The Mariannes. Fronted by Celbridge woman, Lisa Loughrey, the Mariannes’ sound has strong Irish folk, rock, blues and country roots. They are a 6 piece spectacle of haunting lyrics, beautiful melodies and strong instrumentation. Truly a very special performance, not one to be missed.

Next up we will have one of our own Downda Road artists, Laois-based troubadour, Davie Furey. Davie takes to the stage to share his songs that fuse traditional roots with contemporary folk and rock.

Davie’s Recent album, ‘Easy come Easy go’, has gained much respect with overwhelmingly positive testimonials coming from the likes of Christy Moore, Donovan, Luka Bloom & more.

This year’s headline act is one of Ireland most loved groups; The 4 of Us.

THE 4 OF US bring their critically acclaimed acoustic show to The Ivy, showcasing songs from their brand new album SUGAR ISLAND, due for release in the autumn, as well as songs from their extensive back catalogue. From their first anthem, Mary - still a radio favourite, through to the UK-charting She Hits Me, to Sunlight - the band has notched up over two decades of radio hits and six top 20 charting albums.

Newry brothers Brendan and Declan Murphy have had an impressive uninterrupted run since the release of their blockbuster debut album Songs for the Tempted. ‘The song choices hit home, delight the crowd and serve as a timely reminder of just how many good songs in the tank they have’. (Irish Independent).

Sunday 28th August

The Sunday of our festival celebrates ‘The Last Bash of Summer’ a family & youth orientated day with many incredible acts featuring some of Ireland’s best youth artists and emerging talent.

The day kicks off with a very special performance from the Newbridge Gospel Choir featuring a couple of duets with some surprise guests!

Through the afternoon, Downda Road Artists Grainne Fahy & Katie Gallagher will treat us to performances of some of their beautiful original music and some choice covers as they both work on their upcoming debut releases. Local acts also performing on the Sunday include The Rush & Henry Dunne.

One of the hottest up-and-coming Irish Indie rock bands, The Klares, will take to the stage in the afternoon. They followed winning the Hot Press magazine Big Break school’s award in May 2015 with the release of their second EP Cookoo on 31 May 2015. Positive reviews flowed with Unsigned & Independent music mag saying "...could very well be the first Irish band in a generation to actually get excited about". They also gave Cookoo the accolade of 2nd top Irish EP of 2015.

After, we welcome Keith Plunkett on to the stage for a set of his original music. Following from the success of his debut EP last year ‘Different Things’ which climbed to no.23 in the Irish iTunes charts, Keith is back with some quality new tunes. His signature acoustic pop/hip-hop vibe & skilful song writing has matured and developed and become even better over the past few months. Keith will be performing his new single Jigsaw, due for release later this year. Not to be missed.

Sunday’s headline act is Britain’s Got Talent finalist, Ryan O'Shaughnessy.

From Skerries, Dublin, Ryan is best known for reaching the final of the sixth series of Britain's Got Talent in May 2012. His debut single, the folk-tinged original composition “No Name” — twice performed to millions on Britain’s Got Talent — was a U.K. Top 40 hit as well as a number three hit in Ireland. His subsequent eponymous EP with Sony RCA / SYCO topped the Irish albums chart in August 2012 and climbed into the Top 10 in the U.K. The six-track disc showcased Ryan’s clear, soul-influenced vocal style and gift for writing the kind of slow and moody, acoustic guitar-led ballads. Inspiration for this short but sweet collection of songs comes from the likes of Joni Mitchell, James Taylor and Glen Hansard.

All in all we are delighted with this year’s festival and hope the people from Naas and Surrounding areas get behind us and show their support so we can continue to grow this event.