OVER 700 young people gathered at Charleville Castle in Tullamore on Good Friday for a major music festival with a difference.
The Teen Aware concert was organised by TY students from the Sacred Heart School, Tullamore as a method of raising awareness of the growing number of young people who are considering suicide and also to raise funds for organisations supporting troubled teens.
Tickets for the non-alcohol event were sold through schools throughout the midlands with students travelling from as far afield as Longford, Laois, Westmeath and throughout Offaly. There was strict security on the day with the students gathering at Tullamore Harriers beforehand from where they were transported by shuttle bus to the Castle.
Throughout the day numerous bands performed on the outdoor stage in the Castle’s front yard where there were also food vendors and information booths from organisations such as The Samaritans, mental health etc.
Inside the Castle itself there was a Battle of the Bands competition for young local bands which attracted 19 enthusiastic entries. There was an amazing response to this section, according to Sean McFadden, the teacher at the Sacred Heart School who assisted with the organising of the event. “The standard of the competitors was very impressive, the judges were stunned at the level and quality of the bands. Every band got to play three songs which showcased their versatility.” The eventual winners were Della and the Dealers which was comprised of three Sixth Year girls from the Sacred Heart School.
Mr McFadden was, understandably, very proud of the TY team who organised the concert. “It just goes to show you what 25 determined students and one teacher can do when they put their hearts and minds into it.”
Among the attendees on the day were local TDs Marcella Corcoran-Kennedy and Barry Cowen, County Manager Pat Gallagher, local clergymen Fr. Shane Crombie and Rev William Hayes. A special song highlighting suicide awareness called Reach Out received its debut on the day. Offaly band XLR8 wrote the song to encourage young people to look out for their friends.
SEE THIS WEEK’S OFFALY EXPRESS FOR EXTENSIVE PHOTOGRAPHIC COVERAGE FROM THE EVENT