Wee Craic Fest set to showcase best of new Irish music and cinema in NYC
Volunteering to run a film festival is a bit like signing up for holy orders -- you better be prepared for all the panicked calls in the middle of the night, and everyone is going to think their problems are more important than the next guy’s.
Anyone can attend a film festival after all, but only the few, the proud create them. Just ask Terence Mulligan, festival director of the two annual Irish film and music festivals held in New York -- it’s a labor of love, but it requires his total dedication.
Now in its 10th year, the Wee Craic Fest is the younger, leaner September 17 sibling of the three-day long Film Fleadh held in March. “We call it the half way to St. Patrick’s Day festival, to remind people here that the Irish are around all year long and not just when it comes time to parade down Fifth Avenue,” Mulligan tells the Irish Voice.
“That’s why we positioned the festival where we have. We should write about the Irish in the arts every month, not just March, and that’s why it’s happening when it does.”
Historically, an all too high proportion of Irish American affairs involve cheap beer and even cheaper sentiment, but Mulligan was determined to head off that kind of thing from the very start.
“We have never been about green beer and all that silliness. The mindset going in for us was to promote Irish music and filmmakers and to introduce them to a much broader American audience,” Mulligan says.
“So it’s a rising tide for everybody, and it’s a way of promoting the best of Ireland that doesn’t involve paddywhackery. This is much more cool stuff going on.”
One of the cool things going on that Mulligan can boast of this year is that he has successfully secured Irish rock headliner Mundy again. Promoting a new album, Strawberry Blood, that sees him branch out in a brand new musical direction, it’s a dramatic departure from Mundy’s previous work, and it’s why Mulligan wants to bring him over here again; to showcase the developments in Mundy’s new work before the most appreciative and clued-in American audience the singer could ask for.
This being an Irish American event, the singers are known and loved this side of the pond too. Michael Brunnock, who performs solo, previously fronted Dublin bands like Little Palace and the Van Winkles, each becoming the darlings of the Irish music press before his move to the East Village, where he regularly plays gigs as a solo artist and with a group of musicians called Fairplay Collective.
“Michael’s got a new live album in New York that I think people will be excited about. And then we have Mikey Powell, who’s got a major fan base here and a new album to promote,” says Mulligan.
From Carthage, New York, Powell is a former Syracuse University professional lacrosse star who has captured attention with a sound that combines storytelling with the tones of a vintage soul singer.
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