Since 2015, we have asked independent artists to share their favorite memories from their time at SXSW. In just a couple of years, this project has become one of our most popular features thanks to the growing interests of bands and singers from around the world. Forty-five artists participated in this year’s edition, including Ciaran Lavery.

Belfast’s folk-rock singer-songwriter with a genius for universally personal lyrics. Look out for his EP, A King At Night, set for release on the 22nd of April. This should be a good one.

By far, my stand out memory of this year’s SXSW was a return visit to Willie Nelson’s ranch for the Luck Reunion festival. Last year, I was invited out to play among twenty-nine other names. It was not only a dream but also a terrific honour.

Last year, I was booked to play the church but around 2.30 PM a storm warning came in and the whole camp was evacuated, resulting in a huge delay with stage times and eventually me losing my slot in the venue. We hid out under shelter while the storm raged for thirty minutes and then passed by before we returned to the site. Unfortunately, all the generators were down meaning no gig!

Determined, as I was to play, I hopped up on a table in the saloon & busted out an impromptu acoustic set. Returning this year just as a punter was not only a great way to sit back & enjoy the great atmosphere & music (especially Wild Reeds & Conor Oberst/M.Ward & The Felice Brothers), but also eradicate the ghosts of a bittersweet 2016 memory. I even took the opportunity to get that on-stage snap in the church, just so I could reenact the ‘almost’ of the year previous. It was a joyous time all round & I hope to be there again someday.


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