When it comes to modern Americana, folk and bluegrass three women are at the forefront of making it cool again to like these music genres.

Contemporary artists Aoife O’Donovan, Sara Watkins and Sarah Jarosz have teamed up for a special show for this year’s Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival on May 1 at Saint George’s Church.

The trio have joined forces for a unique tour already being tipped to be a milestone in contemporary American roots music.

Sara Watkins was a founder member of the acclaimed Nickel Creek. Her solo career and collaborations with the likes of Fiona Apple and Jackson Browne have stunned audiences and critics alike.

Grammy nominated Sarah Jarosz has caused a major stir with the maturity of her songs, the purity of her vocals, and her ability to effortlessly switch between guitar, banjo and mandolin.

Aoife O’Donovan came to prominence as the lead singer and songwriter with bluegrass legends Crooked Still. Her first solo release, Fossils has helped make her mark as a major international artist.

The festival, now in its 16th year takes place from April 30 to May 10 with over 150 events taking place across the city.

INBV.CQAF TheCharlatansRock survivors The Charlatans will headline the Custom House Square Festival Marquee with a vast range of other music, theatre, spoken word, literary and arts events also taking place in various venues.

Singer Camille O’Sullivan is set to play St Anne’s Cathedral on the opening day while celebrated sister act The Staves will take to the stage on the back of their Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) produced album If I Was, and the legendary axe-man with the 50-yard stare Wilko Johnson makes good on a promise to return to the festival following his recovery from serious illness last year.

Punk legends The Stranglers will aslso play the marquee stage as well as Woody Woodmansey’s Holy Holy.

Festival director Sean Kelly said: “We’re thrilled to be able to continue to bring what we hope is a perfect festival blend of the classic, the new, the huge and the up-and-coming.

“There’s a difficult year ahead for the arts in Northern Ireland with little to celebrate, but hopefully the 16th Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival will be a welcoming port in the storm ahead.”

A full programme of music, comedy, theatre, spoken word, film, literature, talks, tours and exhibitions is available from www.cqaf.com.

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