Fermanagh man ready for Glastonbury gig

A FERMANAGH man has said he’s feeling ‘excitement rather than nerves’ as his band prepares to perform at the hugely popular and much-anticipated Glastonbury Festival next week.

Jack McKelvey from Derrylin, and his band ‘Manilla Times’, has been confirmed as a main act at the five-day music festival, which is scheduled to take place in Pilton in Somerset.

The Manchester-based band, which specialises in indie rock music, is one of the UK’s top up and coming groups. The Fermanagh singer is looking forward to the Glastonbury Festival.

“We have been in discussions with one of the festival bookers, a few emails back and forth and what not, and then we got an email that every band dreams of,” Mr McKelvey told the Herald.

“I would say the feeling from us all is one of excitement rather than nerves. We try not to take it too seriously and just enjoy it.

“However, if you were to ask me that question at 2.55pm on Saturday afternoon, you might get a different answer.”

Back in 2015, the Derrylin man moved to Manchester to study at university. He later linked up with three other members, Jase Watkins (guitar), Ollie Neave (bass) and Sean Wheldon (drums) to form the band.

The Manchester-based band’s name comes from an Irish-bred racehorse, ‘Manilla Times’, who won the prestigious Grand National in 2021.

“We were actually watching Rachel Blackmore’s historic win at the 2021 Grand National on ‘Minella Times’ when we were trying to name the band. That’s how ‘Manilla Times’ was born,” said Mr McKelvey.

The Fermanagh man, who is the lead vocalist with ‘Manilla Times’, reports that the band has been in big demand in England and throughout Europe.

“We play all over, really. In May, we were on tour and had the chance to perform in London, Paris, Wrexham, Edinburgh, and Brighton, which definitely put some extra miles on the van,” said the 29-year-old.

“We are playing festivals all across England and Wales this summer too. Unfortunately, we don’t get to play in Ireland as often as we’d like due to the costs.

“Last year we made it to Whelan’s in Dublin, and this year, we’ll be playing at the Ulster Sports Club in Belfast on Friday, October 4.”

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