With just one month to go until Northern Ireland’s only 3-day festival of music and arts returns for its ‘most ambitious festival yet’, we’re offering a first look at the day-by-day breakdown of the artists and attractions across the weekend shows. This year festival-goers have something truly special to be excited about:
Redesigned to incorporate the theme of a ‘parallel universe’, immersive retro-futurism is the name of the game at The Barn stage, where fans of heavier sounds can expect to see fellow Roots heat winners Dreaming of Jupiter, Damola, Daz and the shimmering pop stylings of Montauk Hotel kick off their weekend in a unique, otherworldly performance space. While on the sloping, theatre-style Campfire stage, Belfast natives NEWT and up-and-comers Beauty Sleep will open mid-afternoon followed in the evening by Dublin barn-burners, The Bonny Men. Ubblakhan and Jika Jika! will bring their electronic stylings to the ElectroMoot, with Donegal native Jason Young warming up the controls earlier in the day.
DJ and acoustic pop-up sets in a new venue, The Forest, an intimate wooded setting will be found across the weekend as Sunflowerfest continues to give festival-goers the opportunity to experience ‘new dimensions’ of performance. One of many festival highlights, Belfast’s discerning queer disco Ponyhawke will host a takeover of the forest for a long set on Friday, with Bangor’s own Brién at the controls earlier in the evening.
Saturday 29th July
Alongside a hotly-awaited headline performance from Rubberbandits, fans on Saturday can expect Electric Swing Circus on the Main Stage as well as an essential dose of arena-worthy rock from R51. In between re-fuels at Boojum’s ‘Boojmobile’ – a partnership that is set to bring legendary street food to NI’s only 3-day festival – Magwere, Monkeeman and Derry five-piece Lavengro can all be found tearing up the main stage.
Over at The Barn, heavier noise on Saturday will be served courtesy of Stormzone, Lisburn noisemakers The Crawling and Banbridge’s unmistakable, dimension-bending NASA Assassin while the Campfire Stage will host the unique musical talents of Mr. B The Gentleman Rhymer. Tyrone’s Hiva Oa, acclaimed for emotionally powerful performances, will make their Campfire debut alongside the Irish-Lebanese Farah Elle, whose virtuosity as a pianist and vocalist has stunned her way to recognition in the Republic of Ireland.
Saturday’s ElectroMoot billing will see some of the most contemporary figures in the Northern Irish electronic scene join the Sunflowerfest-faithful, including OR:LA, Chris Hanna and Chinooq & Stayin Low.
Belfast Underground’s Topia are also set to take over the controls in an ambitious bid to ‘contact the mothership’.
Sunday 30th July
Festival circuit veterans King Kong Company always make sure to mark Sunflowerfest as a key highlight in their Summer festival diary, and Sunflowerfest 2017 will be no exception as the fan-favourites make their return to the Main Stage. Le Galaxie are also set to make a welcome return on the stage alongside newcomers AE Mak, whose unforgettable live performance, one that ‘flirts between music and dance-theatre’, has seen the young duo shoot to acclaim in record time; ‘A Parallel Universe’ marks their debut on the Sunflowerfest main stage. Belfast Ukulele Jam will also make their festival debut with an interactive main-stage performance, one that is sure to draw an early crowd.
The atmosphere is set to remain electrically-charged on the Barn Stage as Bangor’s The Hardchargers throw down their headline set. Ballymena art-rockers Electric Octopus and the indie-alternative Oh Boland are sure to make the festival’s final evening at The Barn one to remember.
The endearing Beans on Toast – of Glastonbury fame – will round off the Campfire Stage. Sunday’s Campfire highlights are set to include Jamie Stanton, Cado and comedy antics from Paul Currie who will keep spirits high on the final night of the festival. Opening on the final day is Lisburn-based duo Mississippi Boombox and Sunflowerfest’s annual ‘School of Rock’, a group performance initiative that has given young individuals the chance to pursue their musical ambitions and have them accredited on-stage at NI’s only 3-day festival.
Across the weekend illusionists, comedians, culinary experts, imbibers and even the infamous Twisted Sisters can all be caught at the new Heverlee Tent, an exciting new sponsorship with the Belgian brewers that promises the Sunflowerfest-faithful a truly unique experience inspired by the brand’s Belgian café culture.
Staying ‘rooted’ in their renowned ethos for self-care amongst the fans, drum circles, calisthenics, a sound healing spa, sweat lodge and even more uplifting attractions will take place in the festival’s renowned Bliss area with Tonic Health & Well-being, where Sunflowerfest continues to cultivate spaces for individuals to relax and take time to nurture in nature. The crew themselves are even expected to be treated to a shoulder massage drop-in centre to keep spirits high over the ambitious weekend!
Sunflowerfest never fails to stay true to its family-friendly reputation, and is all set again this year to deliver a new KidzZone experience that includes both educational and interactive opportunities for young people to embrace the festival’s charm. Sunflowerfest’s charity partnership with RSPB promises families a chance to learn more about our world while taking in the natural beauty of Tubby’s Farm, and circus skills, crafts and kid’s yoga will deliver a lasting experience for families.
Tickets to Sunflowerfest can be purchased online at www.sunflowerfest.co.uk.