The Ards International Guitar Festival 2018 starts this week and this year’s line-up does not disappoint. With an eclectic mix of brilliant local talent and international artists, this year’s festival is packed with events ranging from classical, folk, jazz, bluegrass and rock from some of the best guitar talents around. Organised by Ards and North Down Borough Council, this year’s festival runs from 11-15 April in various venues around Newtownards.
The festival is a real opportunity to hear world-renowned musicians such as the Australian-born classical guitarist Craig Ogden. In 2004, Craig became the youngest instrumentalist to receive a Fellowship Award from the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester and his recordings have since received world-wide acclaim. Craig has performed for the world’s leading orchestras, including the Philharmonia, London Philharmonic, Manchester Camerata and many more. Craig will be supported by the Classical Guitar Society of Northern Ireland.
Other renowned guitarists on this year’s programme include; the acoustic guitar legend Martin Simpson, who has been nominated an astonishing 31 times for the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. Martin will be supported by two exceptional contemporary percussive / fingerstyle guitarists: Clive Carroll and John Tracey. The acoustic maestro Thomas Leeb will also be making the trip to Ards to wow audiences with his immense talent. Thomas will be supported by Gary Lutton and Tommy Loose.
Sure to be one of the highlights of this year’s festival is the ‘Classic and Contemporary’ event taking place at Kiltonga Hall. The classical guitarist Daniel Marx will perform supported by contemporary local guitarist Matthew Malcolm in a special concert which will meld the two genres. This is the first Northern Irish performance for Bavarian-born, LA-based Daniel and a unique opportunity to catch this virtuoso in action.
Other programme highlights include The 4 Of Us supported by emerging stars Orlaith and Mollie, the Classic Album Brunch, Us and Them: Dark Side of the Moon, 45th Anniversary: an illustrated talk by Ralph McClean which will examine Pink Floyd’s masterpiece and the ‘Free Fringe’ events taking place at Ards Arts Centre.
Speaking to about the festival, Councillor Robert Adair, The Mayor of Ards and North Down said: “ I am really looking forward to attending some events to see for myself the talent on offer once again at the Ards International Guitar Festival. The programme this year is fantastic and showcases local guitar talent as well as guitarists from around the world. We are very proud to have such a prestigious festival held in Newtownards and each year it goes from strength to strength.”
Ards International Guitar Festival runs from April 11 – 15. For ticket details or to view the full programme please visit the website www.ardsguitarfestival.co.uk or call Ards Arts Centre on 028 9181 0803