NAPLES — It all comes down to this weekend.
After about five days of voting, local Irish band West of Galway is leading in the international, online battle of the bands contest sponsored by the Strangford Lough Brewing Co. in Northern Ireland. Of the five bands in the final round, the top vote-getter wins a trip to Ireland and the chance to play at Celtic Fusion, an international musical arts festival.
As of 6 p.m. on Friday, West of Galway had just over 27 percent of the 6,300 votes cast. The next closest bands, the Kreelers out of Detroit, and Maidens IV out of Ohio, each had about 21 percent of the vote.
“We’ve been steadily, through the last two days, 300 votes in the lead, which really isn’t enough,” said Jim McEvoy, the former Naples fire chief who is a singer and guitar player in West of Galway. “We want to make sure we win this thing, and we’re really grateful that the community is getting behind us.”
To see videos of the five finalists and to vote for your favorite, visit www.slbc.ie. Voting concludes on April 5.
To drum up some votes on Friday night, West of Galway played at the Under the Shady Palm Pub, 210 U.S. 41 N., Naples. They’ve also been reaching out to Facebook friends and fans on their e-mail list.
McEvoy said his band would be proud to represent Southwest Florida in Europe.
“Any one of the five bands in this competition can start pulling ahead and win this thing. That’s a fact,” McEvoy said. “You can bet your life they aren’t sitting on their hands and waiting for someone to go on online and vote for them. They’re doing the same thing we’re doing, going out and getting people to vote.”
Two voters will also win trips to Ireland.