Songwriters in search of success bring their work to the Castlebar International Song Contest in Mayo.
The Eurovision Song Contest may get more television coverage, but organisers firmly believe that with a total prize fund of £20,000, the Castlebar International Song Contest is the number one event of its kind in the world.
The Castlebar Song Contest held in the Mayo town was launched in 1966 as a one night event. However, under the aegis of a representative committee headed by director Peadar Flynn, the 20th Castlebar International Song Contest boasts a week long festival of events, all aimed at different sections of the community.
So in general it's a pretty festive atmosphere in the town.
In addition to the Castlebar International Song Contest final which many Irish people watch live on RTÉ television, there is also the 'West Awake’ show mainly featuring acts from Mayo. Two further shows will be recorded from the stage of the Traveller's Friend Hotel for broadcast on RTÉ.
The week's festivities open with Mol an Óige, a songwriting competition in Irish for young people. There is also a poster competition for Castlebar school children. Shops in the town are taking part in a window display completion. Other festival activities include a cabaret fashion show, a 10 kilometre road race and outings for senior citizens.
Peadar Flynn cannot quantify how much tourism the Castlebar International Song Contest brings to the town, but confirms hotels and guesthouses do well during the event.
Out of 1,200 entries to the Castlebar International Song Contest just 10 are selected to take part in the final. The finalists are from Ireland, England, America, Spain, West Germany and Sweden.
The winner receives a prize of £5,000, the Berger trophy and hopes to gain a hit record in the process. Peadar Flynn accepts getting an actual hit record takes a lot of money but nevertheless believes the Castlebar International Song Contest,
Gives singers a platform to display their talents and it’s a very important date on the musical calendar, I think that regardless of a hit that Castlebar is going to go on.
The 20th Castlebar International Song Contest took place on 5 October 1985. Swedish composer Ulf Norquist won with the song ‘Don't Play a Sad Song’ sung by Sten Nilssen. In second place was an English entry ‘Wishful Thinking’ composed by Paul Gredus and sung by Bobby McVay. In third place was Ireland's Johnny Logan, composer of the song ‘Tonight We Share The Night’ sung by Trish O'Brien.
An RTÉ News report broadcast on 3 October 1985.