Carlow Arts Festival 2016
Carlow is home to the first big cultural event of Summer 2016 – the 37th Carlow Arts Festival. This year it’s more than a festival – it’s three festivals in one, celebrating all the very best of cultural Carlow. Get inspired at the Borris Festival of Writing and Ideas (June 10-12). Then sail up-river with Barges on the Barrow (June 14-16) a floating mini-festival that will deliver a cargo of music and fun events at Carlow’s riverside towns from June 14-16. Finally, they’re delighted to announce a brand new arrival –The Big Weekender!
Le Galaxie DJs, Hothouse Flowers with Lisa Lambe, David Kitt, Abandoman, Foil, Arms & Hog, Happenings with Grease, Fidget Feet Aerial Spectacle, Barges on the Barrow, Chrissie Hynde and Kate Tempest @ Borris Festival of Writing and Ideas, and so much more
The Big Weekender (16-19 June) is the grand finale of Carlow Arts Festival – a four-day splash of music, art, street spectacle and family fun in the historic heart of Carlow Town. The Big Weekender Festival HQ is centred on the beautiful lawns of Carlow College St Patrick’s, next to the cathedral. A specially-built Festival HQ Pavilion will be the place for comedy, top music acts and more. Pop next door for the best of contemporary art at VISUAL, then grab a bite at the Festival HQ food village.
Pay What You Can: Carlow Arts Festival is the first arts festival Ireland to introduce a pay-what-you-can scheme. Money’s always too tight to mention, so the festival is holding back a number of tickets for each performance on a pay what you can basis. These will be released on a first-come-first-served basis 30 minutes before each show. Festival-goers simply pay what they are able to afford, and enjoy the show! They’re also introducing Tenner Thursday (June 16) – a full night’s musical entertainment for just €10 in the Festival HQ Pavilion, featuring Black Wing Bird, Treelan and BARQ. The vast majority of events at Carlow Arts Festival 2016 are free, but for those that are not this is part of their way of making sure the arts are accessible and inclusive for all.
Family Fun is a big focus of this year’s Carlow Arts Festival. The family highlight is the aerial acrobatics of Fidget Feet on Saturday night against a backdrop of a breathtaking fireworks display. The Big Weekender also includes circus, storytelling and kids workshops. Grease outdoors brought to you by the wonderful Happenings is the big screen offering on Friday night. Bring a picnic and take part in the free games set up on the lawn around the Festival HQ Pavilion.
Announcing details of Carlow Arts Festival 2016, the incoming Festival Director Jo Mangan said: “I’m delighted to be announcing my first programme as festival director. I’m particularly excited about our first Big Weekender. We’ve concentrated our programme over four days right in the historic heart of Carlow. I think that will create a real buzz for people in the town and visitors alike. We wanted to make sure this year’s festival has something for all ages. There’s loads to do and see for kids, like Fidget Feet’s spectacular acrobatics, an open air movie, free activities and workshops. Then at night the adults can let their hair down with comedy, music and theatre in the Festival HQ Pavilion and roving festival clubs.”
Full programme details for all strands and tickets available from carlowartsfestival.com.
Music, Comedy and Performance: At Festival HQ Pavilion comedy highlights come from the award winning comedy rap of Abandoman, Foil, Arms and Hog and Aindreas De Staic. Music fans can get up to speed with current music from Le Galaxie and David Kitt and relive the best of Irish with theHothouse Flowers, supported by Lisa Lambe. Carlow Choral Society at the Cathedral and Glen Austin and RTE Contempo Quartet round out the classically inspired performances. A Wagnerian Dance and Opera performance comes from Irish Modern Dance Theatre called Heroes, theatre is represented by Breach and Quinn (Alan Howley and Jack Cawley) and a funky little show from the UK called In Good Hands by Farnham Maltings and Catherine Ireton which takes place in the local hairdressers. Afternoon gigs include Dublin Ukulele Collective and Vittels and Fiddles – Sunday Hootenanny.
Visual Arts: The festival’s SITE WORKS strand brings art out into the open with four exciting new works. They include an event inspired by the 70s blockbuster film Close Encounters of The Third Kind by Loitering Theatre. This unique light and sound performance is happening at the ancient Brownshill Dolmen near Carlow Town. Another almost agricultural Visual Art event features a 1960’s Ford Tractor and a Piper by Steve Maher called Follow me up to Carlow. This performance art work features a customised bagpipe connected to the exhaust of a tractor – that’s played by a piper.
Barges on the Barrow: Barges on the Barrow will see barges containing cultural cargo including the wonderful Little John Nee a.k.a Sparkplug Callaghan. He will be joined by other musicians and performers at the ultimate unique small-scale pop-up festival. Follow the barges as they wind their way from South Carlow to Carlow town. Bring a picnic to an encounter with boats, music sessions, riverside performances, walks, talks and food, with the Barrow River as the star of the show.
Borris Festival of Writing and Ideas. The spoken word element of Carlow Arts Festival is The Borris Festival of Writing & Ideas. This marks the fifth year of stimulating dialogue and discourse, with intriguing minds from all over the world from 10 to 12 June. Many speakers are writers, but artists, film-makers, political commentators, musicians, architects, and regular people who have experienced the extraordinary also take part. Taking place in the surrounds of Borris House at the foot of the Backstairs Mountains, highlights of this year’s event include includes Martin Amis, Chrissie Hynde, Michael Chabon, Joseph O’Neill, Bruce Robinson, Simon Callow, Rory Stewart, Lloyd Grossman, Dominic West & many more.
Carlow Arts Festival, the first big cultural event of Summer 2016, runs from Friday 10 June to Sunday 19 June.
*Press Release courtesy of Mission PR & Communications Ltd
**Images courtesy of Carlow Arts Festival