Bob Dylan fans celebrate musician at Donegal festival

Hundreds of visitors descend on the shores of Lough Foyle to pay tribute to Dylan

Hundreds of visitors have arrived in Donegal this weekend for the annual Bob Dylan festival.  Photograph: Peter Thursfield/The Irish Times

Hundreds of visitors have arrived in Donegal this weekend for the annual Bob Dylan festival. Photograph: Peter Thursfield/The Irish Times

Sun, Aug 24, 2014, 17:01

Like rolling stones and complete unknowns, they arrived on the shores of a Co Donegal lough this weekend for what has become one of the biggest Bob Dylan Festivals in Europe.

Eight years ago Moville man Gerry McLaughlin had an idea of hosting a festival in honour of the legendary musician.

And over the past four days, hundreds of visitors have come from across the world to see Bob Dylan tribute acts strut their stuff on the shores of Lough Foyle.

Mr McLaughlin, who is originally from Scotland, says the past few days have been exhausting but wonderful at the same time.

“There are so many little things that you have to think of but you can’t complain because so many people get involved,” he said.

“This is the eighth festival and without doubt, has been the most successful to date.”

“I am just about ready to sit down and have a drink and listen to some of the music.”

He got the idea for the Stuck Inside of Moville Festival from local teacher Paddy McLaughlin, who has seen Dylan play more than 40 times.

Paddy’s love of Dylan has turned two different generations of people from Moville onto the songs of the American legend.

“So I said “Why not have a Dylan festival here”. Word got out and I got a call from Dave Fanning’s producer who asked me to come on the show and we talked about Dylan and the DylanFest for about 7 minutes,” revealed the festival organiser.

Highlights from this year’s festival included Bobby Harrison’s ‘Bobby Does Dylan’ tribute act.

The real Bob Dylan heard how good his doppelganger was and when he played Glasgow last November, he invited Bobby Harrison around to his hotel for a chat.

“Bobby was fantastic but all of the other acts were superb as well including Al Diesan and Riacardo DeLussu, who both come from Sardinia,” said Mr McLaughlin.

The journey to play the Dylanfest in Moville, which boasts a population of 1,500 people, has been nothing short of a labour of love for DeLussu in particular.

He had to take three separate planes during which he lost his luggage, some of his musical equipment including his harmonica.

“It still hasn’t arrived but that hasn’t stopped him putting in some amazing performances,” said Gerry McLaughlin last night.

The only bad complaint was a good complaint in that some couldn’t get accommodation in the Inishowen town over the weekend.

Everyone eventually found a bed to lay their heads in various towns around the peninsula.

People like David Masterson, who travelled all the way from Cleveland especially for the four-day festival, insists there is simply nothing like it in the world.