31/07/2019

Open House Festival Returns To Bangor

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A celebration of culture, creativity, people and passion- Bangor's Open House Festival is back for the seventh year with a bigger and better programme of concerts and events. An array of musical genres will be showcased this month, from soul and reggae to Irish traditional, with a peppering of local talent, DJ sets and American country thrown in for good measure.

A registered charity, Open House runs the month-long festival with the help of local people and their businesses, bringing £2.1 million into the area last year in its continued bid to regenerate the seaside town through festivals and events. Easily accessible by train and with a fantastic 31 day programme of cultural and musical offerings, thousands are expected to flock to the County Down town this August.

Among the long list of headline acts set for Bangor is London Calling, the UK's premier tribute to The Clash. The Bristol-based foursome will pay homage to the Clash's greatest album, London Calling, by playing it in its entirety, followed by several of their greatest hits including Should I Stay or Should I Go, I Fought The Law and White Riot.
London Calling will be supported by special guests Aeons, a local 5-piece groovy funk n' rock band with a set list of original material- think Red Hot Chilli Peppers meets Ziggy Marley meets Talking Heads.
Where? Marine Court Hotel
When? Sat 31 August, 9pm
How much we hear you ask? Tickets for London Calling are priced at £15

A diverse range of musical genres will be heard in Bangor throughout the month, including ska- a Jamaican style sound that came before reggae. Seventies supremos The Specials will headline an outdoor summer show on the town's seafront, overlooking the marina. Terry Hall and members of the original line up will perform songs of their era mixed with new material from their acclaimed 2019 album Encore.
Supporting The Specials are The Skallions, an eight-piece ska-reggae band from Belfast and The Vibes, a soulful reggae collective.
Where? Bangor Seafront
When? Sunday 25 August, 5.30pm
Price: £45

The Specials will finish at 10pm to allow the audience to explore some of Bangor's quaint pubs and get a taste of the local nightlife. Free after show gigs and DJ sets are planned around the town centre, beginning shortly after The Specials close their show.
Aftershows include:
• Tony Villiers and The Villains, Donegan's, 10.15pm
• Gnarkats, Wolsey's, 10.15pm
• Stir It Up! Rabbit Rooms, 10pm
• Bobby Analog, Hop House.,9pm

Other main gigs in the action-packed programme include English indie-folk-rock trio The Staves, The Villagers, who will play the festival's debut concert at First Bangor, a historic Main Street church with excellent acoustics, and I See Hawks in LA, an alt-country quartet from LA.
The full digital programme of events and links to book tickets can be accessed here. As the Open House festival continues to grow, it's become an exciting showcase of home-grown talent featuring some of Northern Ireland's most up and coming new acts. The festival's support for local artists echoes its philosophy of celebrating all that's great about the area. If you're in the market for expanding your Spotify playlist and adding some new sounds to your music collection, there's an array of fresh talent for you enjoy this month..
Head to the Space Theatre on Castle Park Road to hear Manukahunney Blue, Northern Ireland's finest soul collective. Returning to the festival on Friday 02 August after last year's sell-out show, they will deliver a laid back soul, jazz, blues and gospel vibe, with a set list mixed with original compositions and classic songs. This fully seated immersive soul experience is set to be popular, with tickets priced at £17.50.

Local favourites Cap On The Wall are a traditional and folk four-piece that blend traditional and folk music with jazz and contemporary styles. This popular act is made up of two of Bangor's most musically talented families, father and son duo Damian and Jason McCoubrey and brothers Niall and Brian McClean, who will bring a unique sound to the Studio 1A Theatre on Hamilton Road. Variations of the band have been playing together for over 20 years, and original member Damian Fitzpatrick is rumoured to be making a guest appearance. This gig, which is set to be a firm favourite with the locals, is priced at £13.50.

Donegan's Bar on the town's High Street is set to host local legend Wilfie Gilbert on each Friday night of the month. Wilfie has been hailed as one of the most under-exposed, self-effacing artists in Northern Ireland's music scene after playing locally for many years. Off the back of his first album, Miner's Gold which was recently released, Wilfie and his band will play a festival residency with free entry to each of the five shows. These gigs will begin at 10.30pm until late.

As well as a prestigious showcase for local acts, the packed festival will also welcome a handful of Irish musicians:
• Piper, bodhrán, whistle and guitar player Francis McIlduff will bring his traditional music to The Old Auction Rooms on Gray's Hill on Wednesday 14 August.
• Ballyholme Yacht Club will welcome The Remedy Club on Sunday 18 August, a husband and wife duo with an American country style.

• And for the Blues lovers, guitar legend Ronnie Greer and his powerhouse big band will make their Open House festival debut this year. Still recognised as the greatest Blues guitarist in Ireland after making his name in the 70s, Ronnie will play the Marine Court Hotel on Quay Street on Friday 30 August.

A range of popular events are also set to take place throughout the month:
Music in the Park will continue throughout August, bringing a range of sounds to The Bandstand in Ward Park. Pack a picnic basket and spend your Sunday afternoon relaxing to a range of musical genres each week.
The itinerary for these free musical sessions, running from 3-5pm each week, is:
• 04 August- Grumpy All Folkers
• 11 August- The Clay Pigeons
• 18 August- Punk in the Park featuring Wasted Talent
• 25 August- Bluegrass Picnic, Mules & Men and the Open House Choir

A sell-out tradition for Open House Festival, Celtic Soul will also return to the Walled Garden at Bangor Castle on Monday 26 August. A nine piece band will deliver a musical tribute to Northern Ireland local Van Morrison, with the audience choosing the set list from his extensive back catalogue. When you book your tickets, simply put your song request in the comments section.
This fully seated event is priced at £22.50.

Other exciting events that may pique your interest:
• Vinyl Nights @ Hop House, Saturday 03 & Sunday 11 August, 9pm-1am
• Poetry & a Pint, Tuesday 06,13,20 & 27, Fealty's Back Bar, 7.30pm-9pm
• An Evening with broadcasting legend Sir Michael Parkinson, Thursday 29 August, Clandeboye Lodge Hotel.

Access the Open House Festival programme for full details on events, how to book tickets, parking, special requirements and accessibility. (JG/CM)

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