The Castlebar International Song Contest started with just 70 entries to find a song that might make the town of Castlebar better known. Twenty-two years later it boasted the second highest prize fund for any song contest in the world. It had attracted 17,653 entries from songwriters in every continent and had become and one of RTE’s flagship programmes in the station’s annual schedule.
The first contest was staged in the Royal Ballroom on Monday 10th October 1996 with a total prize fund of £95. It went on to become a week-long festival during the 1st week of October each year until it finished in 1988.
In between it had become the 2nd richest song contest in the world – only the Yamaha contest in Japan had a bigger prize fund. The finals of the contest were relayed on live television from 1970 to 1988.
And now, a comprehensive history of the contest has been compiled by Paddy McGuinness who was one of the contest’s directors on a number of occasions.
The history contains all of the facts and results from all of the contests. It has reminisces from many participants such as Gay Byrne, Terry Wogan, Mike Murphy and Acker Bilk. It features lots of photographs… many of which have not been seen before – you may even be included yourself!
The book, which is on sale on line at www.mayobooks.ie , is a ‘must have’ for everyone with an interest in music and songwriting.