The annual traditional festival held in Doolin falling on the last full weekend in February is a remembrance ceremony to the Russell family, Micho Packie and Gussie Russell, the world-famous traditional musicians. The festival began in 1995 as a remembrance ceremony to Micho Russell, one of Ireland’s best known and loved traditional musicians, who died in 1994. In 2006 the festival was renamed the Russell Memorial Weekend in memory of the three Russell brothers, Micho, Gussie, and Packie and their two sisters, Bridie and Mary Kate.
The weekend festival is now firmly established on the traditional festival calendar as one of the earliest festivals of the year. It also hosts some of the best of traditional entertainment and attracts musicians from around the country. The theme throughout the weekend is one of celebration as the new and vibrant music talents attract the growing audience for traditional music.
There is also a hint of nostalgia for visitors and locals alike as they revisit and relive the “heyday” of Doolin in the 1960s and 1970s in music sessions taking place in the public houses and hotels. The highlight of the festival is the concert on Saturday afternoon.
The concert has a unique and spontaneous atmosphere, which often includes surprise guest appearances.