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A Guide to Ward Park’s Local Undercard

Following the return of one of the Northern Ireland’s biggest ever musical exports following a seven-year absence, Snow Patrol headline what is guaranteed to be one of the biggest shows of the summer in the latest of their Ward Park trilogy.

What solidifies this event as a must-attend, however, is the all-star bill of the very finest local talent. Local legends such as Two Door Cinema Club, Foy Vance, ASH and SOAK all feature on a massively impressive all Northern-Irish undercard.

Despite these massive names already guaranteeing an unforgettable day in Bangor, what makes this line-up all the more exciting is the selection of emerging local artists that will be performing on the day, both on the main and second stage.

It’s truly one of those special undercards where every single act brings something unique to the table, and barring any major clashes, those in attendance should attempt to experience as many of these acts as possible.


Since Naomi Hamilton’s arrival on the scene in 2016 with her debut ‘Parma Violets’, an intimate and hypnotic record which showcased her talent and versatile song writing abilities, she has always been tipped as one to watch. While being one of the most exciting acts on the scene since that release, it has been in the last year which has seen Naomi and her band really rise to the next level, releasing two EPs since signing with Atlantic Records.

With singles such as ‘New York Has a Lump in Her Throat’ and ‘Marrow’ proving the bands continued abilities to explore elements of various genres and create consistently fresh and intimate new music, the band has showcased a new-found ability for formulating more high-energy and punk inspired singles such as ‘Blue Eyes’ and ‘Plastic Skeletons’ which are sure to go down brilliantly on the main stage.

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A familiar face to Snow Patrol fans, Brand New Friend opened for LIghtbody and co. on their comeback Irish tour at sold out venues such as the Olympia Theatre and the Ulster Hall, with their energy-packed live shows and catchy indie-anthems gaining a number of fans across the ‘Wildness’ tour.

With their 2018 debut ‘Seatbelts For Aeroplanes’ containing energetic indie bangers from start to finish, tracks such as ‘I Was An Astronaut’ and ‘Why Are You So Tired’ will be stuck in your head days after they grace Ward Park. Being one of the most exciting Northern Irish bands about, Brand New Friend are the perfect act to kick off what will be a day of phenomenal music on the main stage and will undoubtedly occupy much higher slots on similar bills in the not so distant future.

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Moving onto the second stage now, there is no dip in quality. JC Stewart is notorious for the quality of his intimate live shows, making him ideal for a trip to the smaller stage. Taking a minimalist approach, Stewart relies on the shear quality of his vocal and song writing capabilities and is never caught short.

Songs such as ‘Medicine’ (which has received serious attention on streaming services) showcase a high level of maturity for what is a relatively new artist. With the recent massive explosion of artists such as Lewis Capaldi and Tom Walker, I see no cap on the potential of Stewart. A trip to the second stage is definitely worth a go to see one of Belfast’s fastest growing singer-songwriters.

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Ward Park FREE > Fri 24th May > Free music event


The Wood Burning Savages have a reputation for being one of the countries’ finest live acts and following the release of their NI Music Prize winning album ‘Stability’, it is clear these lot are here to stay.

With tons of energy and plenty to say, TWBS are exactly what Northern Irish music needs in 2019. While they are the heaviest act not featuring on the main stage by some distance, those who make the trip from the main stage will be met with an instantly unforgettable presence and a message everyone in the nation can relate to.

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There’s a case to be made that in the crafting of hauntingly intimate songs, there are few better in Ireland than Kitt Philippa.

The 2018 single, ‘Grace’ was one of my favourites of the year and the rest of their discography continues in the same vein with a range of captivating tracks which showcase Philippa’s musicianship. An incredible all-round musician, Kitt Philippa’s set will be sure to immerse and mesmerise you upon first listen.

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Another act who will be a familiar face to Snow Patrol fans, with ROE accompanying the headliners on the English and Scottish leg of their UK tour. The multi-intrumentalist has been hotly tipped on the scene for some time now, however with each release ROE appears to be growing as an artist.

Her new single ‘Down Days’ is easily my favourite local release of the year, and having seen her perform on the second stage of Stendhal festival and having with single audience member in the palm of her hand, I have little doubt that she will have a similar effect in Ward Park.

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Snow Patrol, and Gary Lightbody in particular, have always been exceptional in their support of local artists, and I truly believe that the bill that has been assembled for their third Ward Park show on the 25th May is one of the most special celebrations of local music in recent memory and simply cannot be missed.

Ward Park 3 > Sat 25th May 2019 > Tickets

Joined the team in December 2017 as a gig reviewer.