Open House Festival launched its much anticipated 2015 programme recently, with the news that this year’s Bangor festival has virtually doubled in size.
With more than 100 events taking place in 36 different locations in and around the town for the duration of August, the message from Open House Festival is that Bangor itself is very much the star of the show – with a dynamic programme of handpicked music and arts in special places.
This year, as well as music, film, comedy and spoken word events, the festival is introducing food and theatre to its repertoire. And there will also be a diverse range of art, photography and print exhibitions running throughout the month.
Highlights include a musical boat trip to Copeland Island; a gastronomic tour of the town; Joan Armatrading at Bangor Abbey; and a series of specially selected site-specific films, such as Twelve Angry Men in the town’s old Courthouse and a 30th anniversary screening of The Breakfast Club in a school assembly hall. There’s a 1920s inspired festival ball; a Reggae BBQ; and a picnic party in the town’s Walled Garden to celebrate Van Morrison’s 70th birthday. There’ll be theatre in pubs; music in clubs; comedy in schools; a host of pop up food events; and a festival community choir, which will be performing at several events throughout the month. The town will be welcoming artists from America, Spain, Holland, Ireland and the UK, some of whom will be familiar names, and some you might not have heard of – yet.
“Despite the cuts to arts investment, and continuing economic gloom hitting the town centre, we’ve almost doubled our events, and more than doubled our participating venues,” says Festival Director, Kieran Gilmore. “From the Old Auctions Rooms, to the Masonic Hall, to Grey Point Fort, to a living room in a listed sea-front terrace house, we’ve tried to use as many of the great locations our town has to offer as possible.”
Several festival favourites will make a welcome return, including Bluegrass Picnic in Ward Park, Folk on a Boat, the festival Book Clubs, and Bangor’s Ghost – which this year will be held in Bangor Abbey, the inspiration behind the event concept.
“Bangor is a beautiful and historic town in a stunning location,” says Kieran. “It has a thriving creative subculture, and lots of good people who love living here, just as I do. But Open House Festival isn’t just for locals – it’s for folk throughout the country and beyond who love live music, enjoy eating out, get a kick out of site-specific film screenings, are game for a laugh, want to be surprised, and crave the feel-good satisfaction that hand-picked arts and culture can deliver.”
FULL PROGRAMME: Click here.
Open House Festival Bangor 2015 is supported by North Down Borough Council, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board. The County Down Spectator is the official media partner for the festival. For more information about the festival go to www.openhousefestival.com.