Open House Festival Bangor has begun, with events taking place in 36 venues and locations across the town over the 31 days of August.
“We are incredibly proud of this year’s programme,” says Festival Director, Kieran Gilmore. “From our trademark music gigs, to food, film, literature, comedy, theatre, art and photography, we think we have the full spectrum of the arts well and truly covered.
“The first weekend was incredibly busy, with fourteen events in total. The festival opened with a flurry of excitement and activity – which will continue as the month progresses.”
Highlights of the first full week include screenings of the popular classic films, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Grease and Jurassic Park in the Walled Garden, and concerts by the internationally acclaimed American folk singer-songwriter and founder member of the award winning Americana band, Old Crow Medicine show, Willie Watson, and the quirky showman Curtis Eller’s American Circus.
Other music events throughout the month include concerts by iconic musicians such as Joan Armatrading, Ian McCullough and Barbara Dickson, as well as exciting contemporary performers like Nick Mulvey, Ryley Walker and David Corley. Dynamic international Flamenco sensation, Rocío Marquéz, will be playing one of only two UK dates this year at Bangor Abbey on Friday 28th August.
This is the first year Open House has included food events in the programme – most of which have already sold out. And the festival has also extended its film repertoire, creating a bespoke site-specific line-up for several sites in and around Bangor. The Walled Garden still features, showing five much-loved classics, including romantic comedy favourite, When Harry Met Sally. But the festival team are particularly excited about the new, carefully selected locations, including Grey Point Fort where WW2 epic, The Guns of Navarone, will show; the old Courthouse, and Bangor Academy, where the assembly hall will host a 30th anniversary screening of the cult ‘Brat Pack’ movie, The Breakfast Club.
The festival’s free events are just as important to the organisers as the ticketed ones, and this year there are more than ever. Popular Belfast band, No Oil Paintings have come on board as the festival’s House Band and will play 14 free gigs throughout the month at The Jamaica Inn, Fealty’s and The Rabbit Rooms. The Hop House will host ten free music events throughout the month, and the Bluegrass Picnic will return to Ward Park on Sunday 30th. There are also free literary events as well as photography and art exhibitions – in fact there is at least one festival related event somewhere in Bangor on every single day of August. There is even a festival choir, which, under the guidance of Katie Richardson of Katie and the Carnival, will perform at several events throughout the month.
Eddie Rowan, Tourism NI Events Manager, said; “Tourism NI is delighted to support the 3rd Open House Festival. With such a diverse and quality programme of activity on offer, it is sure to enhance Bangor’s appeal for locals and tourists alike. We welcome the food offering at this creative and cultural event which will whet the appetite of our visitors in the run up to Northern Ireland’s Year of Food and Drink in 2016. I wish all participants, entertainers and visitors an enjoyable and memorable experience.”
For full details of all Open House Festival Bangor events, and to book tickets, go to www.openhousefestival.com, or call 07599853481.
Open House Festival is supported by Ards and North Down Borough Council, The Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Tourism NI, and the County Down Spectator.