The Kilkenny Music Festival was founded in 1998 in memory of Fr. Con Sherin, who contributed greatly to the musical life of the city and the county.
The primary aim of the festival is to provide a platform for singers, choirs and musicians to perform, while promoting musical excellence and raising musical standards. In its 19 years it has grown to a week of competitions with over 90 cups,medals and awards in various musical genres and instruments. The festival is of huge importance to the music scene of the South East. While there are competitions aimed at adult choirs, the festival has changed over the years to become known as an invaluable opportunity for young musicians to gain experience in a friendly and supportive environment. The high caliber of our judges has also meant that young musicians have been exposed to a level of expertise that they would not normally encounter. The majority of our instrumental and vocal competitions cover from 7 years of age up to leaving cert level students. The nature of the festival has meant that we have been able to follow musicians and singers from their early years in primary school, through to secondary school and we are proud of the number of participants who have gone on to continue their musical studies, with many performing both as soloists and as members of professional orchestras and other music ensembles in Ireland and abroad. There are so many vibrant music programmes in our schools which have also been enhanced and encouraged due to their participation in the festival. This festival provides an added layer of encouragement for students to keep on their instruments and to pursue music as a subject up until Leaving cert. The festival also awards bursaries each year to promising students to enable them to continue their studies at a higher level. With competitions open to the public, and with many of the cups sponsored by families in memory of loved ones, this is a true community festival with a huge reach.