By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Arts Council to present first Acoustic Music Festival
Harry ODonoghue
Harry O'Donoghue, a longtime favorite at Kevin Barry's who also performs at irish nights in Statesboro, will be among the artists at the first Acoustic Music Festival. - photo by File photo

Get ready for some foot stompin’ and some toe tappin’ as the Effingham Arts Council presents its first Acoustic Music Festival on May 1 and 2.

The two-day event will feature some of the area’s best folk, blues and Irish musicians on one day and the Effingham Community Orchestra on the other.

The first day’s back-to-back performances will be held at the Effingham County Board of Education’s Auditorium on Ash Street in downtown Springfield and will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Acclaimed Irish folk singer Harry O’Donoghue will emcee the day’s activities as well as present some of his own traditional Irish music.

In addition to his busy concert schedule, he hosts the weekly radio show “The Green Island Radio Show” on Georgia Public Radio. O’Donoghue was born and raised in Drogheda on the banks of the River Boyne, just three miles inland from the Irish Sea. In 1979 he was a founding member of the group Terra Nova and by the mid-1980s they were touring the U.S. and signed to Polydor Records.

When the group performed their last concert in 1987, O’Donoghue embarked on what would become a hugely successful solo career. With nearly 30 years in the music business, O’Donoghue has become a master folksinger, storyteller and songwriter.

Saturday’s lineup will include the Pace Brothers, Julian and Ethan, who will play a mix of popular and traditional folk tunes and original material. Julian plays guitar and Ethan accompanies on mandolin, fiddle and stand up bass. Two other Effingham County favorites are Josh Sanders and Michelle Aspinwall. Sanders has a rich, full sound and plays a wide variety of music. Aspinwall, who will be accompanied by another local favorite, Don Coyer, has just signed a publishing deal with a Nashville company.

Nick Webb and his group will present acoustic Christian music and are also from Effingham. Brandon McCoy and Daniel Shinall are two Savannah folkies who will be sharing their brand of music.

Andrea Huff, director of the Effingham Community Orchestra, is excited about the weekend.

“A music festival is a wonderful event for any community,” she said. “It provides a venue for musicians to perform and share their music. It provides an opportunity for the public to hear live music, and we all know that live is best. The time is right for Effingham to have its own music festival. We need live performances for our local audience. I especially like that our Effingham County Council for the Arts has chosen to sponsor an Acoustic Music Festival.

“My personal favorite is acoustic music, and I feel that musical style is in harmony with Effingham’s smaller, hometown atmosphere. As director of Effingham Community Orchestra, I am excited about the Acoustic Music Festival. A full orchestra is the largest form of acoustic music.”

The Effingham Orchestra’s Third Annual Patriotic Concert will serve as the grand finale for the festival at the Effingham County Recreation and Parks gym in Springfield. The orchestra will play medleys of patriotic favorites including “America the Beautiful,” “You’re A Grand Old Flag,” “This Land is Your Land,” “God Bless the U.S.A.” and others. Attendees also will hear the marches of the armed forces, “The Stars and Stripes Forever” and more. The orchestra’s jazz ensemble and clarinet ensemble also will perform pieces.  

“Our goal is to give our audience a very exciting and satisfying finish to a wonderful weekend of music,” Huff said.

Both days of performance will be free to the public. For more information about the Acoustic Music Festival or the Effingham County Council for the Arts, call 228-2028 or email