20 Jan, Wednesday
4° C
Atlantic Sessions - Portrush Portstewart

Landmark gigs to celebrate 10 years of Atlantic Sessions

Following the sell-out success of Atlantic Sessions last year and its 2017 NI Tourism Award for most Innovative Event, Atlantic Sessions returns to the Causeway Coast from 15 – 18 November 2018. Over 50 of Northern Ireland’s finest musicians will perform live in over 25 venues across the four days, in coffee shops, hotels, restaurants, music venues, bars and iconic National Trust properties. Visitors will have an opportunity to see internationally renowned artists partner together in intimate settings, with the stunning Atlantic as a backdrop. Each artist will play their own music for one hour, creating an unforgettable music trail across the resorts of Portstewart and Portrush.


Now celebrating its tenth anniversary and firmly established in the music calendar, Atlantic Sessions is this year working in partnership with Bushmills Irish Whiskey and Tourism Ireland to reach wider audiences. Live music ranges from traditional, bluegrass and americana to electronic, indie, rock and acoustic singer-songwriters. It offers a platform for emerging talent as well as established artists. With a rise in the number, and quality, of musicians and bands making headlines and enjoying success in the international marketplace, and new and innovative music businesses based here, Atlantic Sessions has a significant role to play in showcasing this on the global stage.

Atlantic Sessions is a Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council event delivered in partnership with Snow Water, and its Director Carolyn Mathers said:
“Northern Ireland is extraordinary in the richness of its artistic talent and Atlantic Sessions is a perfect opportunity to showcase our creative energy to international audiences. We’re very excited about the tenth anniversary – special guests will be curating premieres exclusively for the festival, it will feature EP and Single launches, and audiences will have an opportunity to witness our finest artists partner together in intimate environments. Interest in Northern Ireland’s music scene is stronger than ever.”

For a taste of what’s to come, four events are now on sale. The Atlantic Sessions EARLY BIRD FESTIVAL PASS is now available here, and the full line up of over 40 events will be announced in September (over 30 of them are completely free of charge).

For the first time Atlantic Sessions has teamed up with hotels, B&Bs, accommodation providers and Translink to make a trip as accessible as possible for visitors. On top of this, Atlantic Sessions will coincide with Taste Causeway, a food and drink celebration which builds on the success of Restaurant Week. Its foodie experiences will showcase our local produce sector with theme nights, speciality menus, food tours and ‘Meet the Maker’ opportunities. Combined with the music on offer, there’s no better time to experience the best of the Causeway Coast and Glens. The festival’s partnership with Bushmills Irish Whiskey makes it the perfect mix to showcase and celebrate all that Northern Ireland excels at. Photos by Chris Flack.


A specially curated opening night event

Poems and Music from Frank Ormsby, Anthony Toner & Neil Martin

15th Nov at 7.30pm, Tickets £10


For this special concert as part of the Atlantic Sessions’ 10th birthday, all three will include works with a tang of the salt air about them – Anthony will feature a brand new song, ‘Lost at Sea’, while Neil will play his wonderful rendition of ‘Port na bPucai’, a tune from the Blasket Islands.

Acclaimed poet Frank Ormsby makes a long-awaited return to Flowerfield for a special Atlantic Sessions 10th birthday appearance – in the company of two of Northern Ireland’s foremost musicians: songwriter Anthony Toner and composer Neil Martin.  All three were collaborators on the spoken-word-and-music CD The Kiss of Light, released earlier this year and featuring poems read by Frank and instrumentals composed by Anthony and featuring Neil on cello and Linley Hamilton on trumpet. Three of the four are reunited for this special evening of poetry, stories and music.  The evening will feature readings from Frank – by turns profoundly moving and laugh-out-loud funny – and a selection of cello-and-guitar instrumentals from the Kiss of Light project, as well as songs from Anthony’s extensive back catalogue, and some gorgeous solo cello pieces and stories from Neil Martin. All of this laced with the kind of easy onstage rapport you can expect from these friends and well-travelled artists.

Atlantic Sessions - Portrush Portstewart


18th Nov at 12pm, Tickets £15


Curated by Ralph McLean: “We’ve got rising star Kitt Philippa, whose beautiful blend of electronica and song writing has been winning them friends all over in 2018, the hugely talented Ciara O’Neill, whose gorgeous album Arrow is one of my essential releases of the year so far, Armagh songsmith Matt McGinn, who’s long been a favourite on my BBC radio shows, and a performance from the sublimely talented Mark McCambridge AKA Arborist to look forward to.”  All that plus the warmth of a Portstewart welcome and the promise of a bacon roll!  What more could you ask for on a cold November lunchtime?  Personally I can hardly wait!”

Atlantic Sessions - Portrush Portstewart



16th Nov at 7pm, Tickets £8

Portrush (venue to be announced)

On January 13th 1968 Johnny Cash performed two of the most important gigs of his life. Much against everyone’s advice at Columbia records, Cash, June Carter, Carl Perkins, the Statler Brothers and the Tennessee Three went to Folsom Prison to record a live album in front of an audience of inmates. His career seem to being stalling, this was a make or break live album. He’d been interested in performing in a prison since his 1955 single Folsom Prison Blues. The 15 tracks on the album released that May came from 13 tracks from the first gig, 2 from the second, Cash had always intended to do two gigs, in case he wasn’t happy with just one. It was pure ‘belt and braces’ approach and even had the blessing of future President, then Governor of California, Ronald Reagan. The setlist included the gallows-humoured ’25 Minutes To Go’, ‘I Got Stripes’, ‘Jackson’ with June Carter and ‘Greystone Chapel’ written by inmate Glen Sherley, who was in the front row unaware Cash was going to perform his song.  The live version of Folsom Prison Blues gave him his first number one single in four years; the album, a number one on the Country charts, top 15 on the national chart. The gamble paid off and was the first of 4 albums he would record in prisons.


17th Nov at 6pm, Tickets £10

Portrush Town Hall

A specially curated event for the 10th anniversary of Atlantic Sessions, Malojian will perform with full string accompaniment with a visual show made up of Northern Irish coastal and vintage holiday footage from its golden age, shot in Portstewart and Portrush.

Atlantic Sessions - Portrush Portstewart

For the very latest news, including tickets and line-up information, and where to stay, go to or follow us on Facebook and Twitter @atlanticsess.

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