Crow Black Chicken are preparing to become either the first Clonmel or Tipperary band to play Glastonbury.
The band have only been on the road for two years and have yet to release an album but they have something in common with U2, who will also be making their first appearance this weekend at what is perhaps the world’s biggest and best outdoor music festival.
The three-piece are setting off today, Wednesday, on their journey to the famous Worthy Farm in Somerset in south-west England for the four-day festival, which continues until this Sunday, 26th.
“It’s a massive opportunity and one we hope to make the most of. It’s going to be huge”, says 24 year-old drummer Gev Barrett, son of Josie and George Barrett from Cherrymount, Clonmel. He’s joined in the line-up by 25 year-old guitarist Stephen McGrath, son of Joan and Paddy McGrath from Chancellorstown, Clerihan, Clonmel, and vocalist Christy O’Hanlon from Cork.
Crow Black Chicken will be in exalted company on the Glastonbury line-up, which as well as U2 also includes Coldplay, Morrissey, Beyonce, Elbow, Primal Scream, The Chemical Brothers, Kaiser Chiefs, Cee Lo Green, Paul Simon and Tinie Tempah.
The band won their golden ticket to the festival at the final of a battle of the bands competition held in Shercock in Co. Cavan, at The Sail Inn. “We were surprised to win it because 70 bands entered the competition”, says Gev.
The judges panel included Juliet Jawara, the daughter of Michael Eavis, the founding father of Glastonbury and on whose farm the festival is held; Mark Cagney of TV3’s Ireland AM; Joe O’Herlihy, U2’s sound engineer and Elton Mullally of RTE’s hit music show Under Ether.
Crow Black Chicken will perform on Sunday on the BBC Introducing stage, which is for unsigned bands, as well as on other stages over the weekend. They’re looking forward to strutting their stuff in front of music industry reps and they’re aware that the bands that appeared on the Introducing stage last year were invited back to this year’s event. The festival will be covered on BBC television channelsand on BBC Radio 6.
The band started out playing covers of blues songs but now write their own material. Their sound is still blues based, with jazz and rock influences. They’ve been described as having “a certain coolness about them” and playing “some seriously infectious grooves”.
Their Glastonbury appearance coincides with the release of their new single and video, John Lee Wee, and their debut album is due out around the end of the year. They’ve already released an EP, Organic Part 1.
On their return they’ll co-headline a gig at the Junction Festival in O’Keeffe’s, Clonmel on July 5th along with guitarist Essex-born guitarist John Smith. They’ll return to O’Keeffe’s later in July for a show with the Hypnotic Brass Ensemble.
They play regularly at O’Keeffe’s, The Piper Inn in Gladstone Street and Przystan, the Polish bar in Irishtown, Clonmel, as well as at venues in Cork.
However Crow Black Chicken’s finest hour awaits them this weekend at this world famous event, which started in 1970 and regularly attracts almost 180,000 concert-goers for almost 400 live performances on the 900 acre site in Pilton, Somerset.