Open House Festival Bangor returns this August with a month-long celebration of local talent, local people, local food and local business – plus an eclectic international lineup.
The programme will be launched at a special Festival Sundown Market on Bangor Seafront this Saturday from 4pm-10pm. There’ll be a host of gourmet street food stalls, a pop-up pub and prosecco bar, and live music on the Sundown Stage, including songs from the sensational Open House Festival Choir.
This is the fifth year of Open House in Bangor and, with 141 events in 42 venues over 31 days, it is the Festival’s most ambitious and creative programme yet.
“This year, more than ever, our focus is firmly on what’s local,” says Festival director Kieran Gilmore. “More than 40 of our music events feature artists from Northern Ireland, and we estimate around 300 local musicians will be involved throughout the month. When you add in local visual artists, authors, actors, chefs and others, we’re talking more than 400 people who live and work in Northern Ireland contributing to the delivery of this year’s festival.”
There’s also an exciting array of national and international artists from America, New Zealand, Canada, England and Ireland, including the likes of Courtney Marie Andrews from Arizona, who recently wowed audiences on Later With Jools Holland, and Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band – one of America’s foremost country blues bands.
The extensive 2017 programme covers music, words, food & drink, film, comedy, theatre, tours and visual art. Highlights include Lennifest – a specially curated celebration of the late Leonard Cohen in the town’s Walled Garden, and an audience with Belfast born writer, Bernard MacLaverty who’ll be launching Midwinter Break, his first novel for 16 years.
“We’ve put a lot of love into this year’s festival,” says Kieran. “Many of our events are hand-curated and completely unique to Bangor. We’ve even got our own locally brewed Festival beer – alongside 40 food and drink events showcasing some of the best of Northern Irish produce, craft beers, gins and whiskeys. And because the Festival is open to everyone, more than a third of the events are free. Plus, 120 local business have joined our Festival Friends scheme offering a range of deals and discounts to ticket holders throughout August – from fishmongers to fashion.
“We remain committed to the regeneration of Bangor through Arts and Culture, and this year’s programme shows that the town is well on its way to being the Brighton of the North.”
Stephen Reid, Chief Executive of Ards and North Down Borough Council, one of the Festival’s funders, said: “Open House Festival plays a key role in the town and the borough. After five years, it has truly made its mark on Bangor, helping to unearth the town’s latent talent and creative potential. There is no doubt August 2017 will be a superb month to spend time in Bangor and we hope local businesses will benefit from the many visitors we will see in the town throughout the month.”
Maria McAlister, Traditional Arts Officer at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented: “With its eclectic range of music, visual arts, literature and family events, Open House Festival has firmly established itself as an annual summer highlight. The Arts Council is delighted to support this terrific festival which demonstrates the power of the arts in bringing people and communities together as well as being a tool for economic regeneration.”
Eddie Rowan, Events Manager at Tourism Northern Ireland, commented: “Tourism Northern Ireland is pleased to support Open House Festival in 2017. The event continues to grow and attract great seaside crowds to the seaside town. It’s fantastic to see the Festival celebrate the legacy of Northern Ireland’s Year of Food and Drink with plenty of food-themed events on the line-up. I commend the hard work of the Festival team for the creation and delivery of a high-quality event. We wish all the visitors and participants an enjoyable and memorable festival.”
Open House Festival is a registered charity. The 2017 Open House Festival Bangor is supported by Ards and North Down Borough Council, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, and Tourism NI
For bookings and information go to www.openhousefestival.com.