A tranquil landscape dominated by farmland in the shadow of the Keady Mountain is in the process of transforming from grazing grasslands to a hub of creativity, as the stage gets set for the fourth instalment of Stendhal Festival of Art. Named after a disorder that inspires dizziness, rapid heartbeat and sometimes hallucinations when individuals are exposed to art, the event at Ballymully Cottage Farm has won plenty of acclaim from festival goers since its inception in 2011 and earlier this year was named Ireland’s Best Small Festival at the Irish Festival Awards.
The aim of the team behind it is simple, showcase as wide a variety of the arts as possible at an event that is suitable for all, that won’t break the bank, an ethos that seems to have hit all the right notes with the public as the event has grown in both scope and attendees each year since it began.
This year the event will showcase almost 70 musical performances, stand-up comedy, poetry, art, sculpture, dance, theatre, film, craft, children’s performers and a plethora of other creative pursuits and talent on August 8 and 9. Headlining the musical side of the event are Legendary, Legen-Derry Punk Rockers The Undertones and Scottish Indie darlings Frightened Rabbit. They are ably supported by a top class selection of well known and up and coming Irish and Northern Irish talent including; multiple Meteor Music Prize winner Paddy Casey, the highly rated Lisa O’Neil, Duke Special, Bell X1’s Dave Geraghty and the brilliant Bronagh Gallagher, to name but a few.
The quality and variety of musical talent on show is clear for all to see, but organisers at the event are quick to put across that it’s not just the music that makes Stendhal such a special event in the Northern Irish gig calendar.
“We are obviously delighted with our music line-up this year,” said organiser Ross Parkhill, “but Stendhal is so much more than just the music. We are all about bringing as many aspects of the arts as we can together under the Stendhal banner. We want to celebrate creativity and people who are passionate about how the arts can be a driver for social and economic change. The arts sector in Northern Ireland is a bustling and exciting scene and we want to bring everyone together to celebrate that at Stendhal.”
So as the tents go up, the toilets arrive and the stages are built, there will certainly be more than the sights and sounds of your average farmyard to see in Limavady on August 8 and 9. An event as charming as it is creative, Stendhal Festival of Art is the perfect place to immerse yourself in the arts with friends and family for a weekend of escapism and entertainment.
Farms have never been more fun.