“Bangor is an energy.” So said punk legend John Lydon, aka Johnny Rotten, when Open House Festival Bangor signed his band, Public Image Ltd (PIL) to play their first ever gig in Northern Ireland this summer. Lydon played on the iconic lyrics “ anger is an energy ” from the band’s 1986 hit Rise to coin the phrase. And it seems that other international artists agree.
The Waterboys were the first headline act to be announced for Open House Bangor’s annual month-long August festival – and today it’s been revealed that American musician John Grant will be in concert on Sunday 19th August. All three acts will be playing open-air concerts on Bangor seafront – the first time Open House has had a large-scale outdoor space for evening concerts at its disposal.
“It’s clear that Bangor has become an attractive destination for international touring artists,” said Open House director, Kieran Gilmore. “Gaining access to the outdoor space beside the marina, slap bang on Bangor seafront has been pivotal in allowing us to programme acts like PIL, The Waterboys and John Grant, all of whom will draw in bigger audiences. But part of the festival’s ethos is programing handpicked events in special places, and we will continue to do that. So the likes of Mercury Rev and Simone Felice playing in pop-up venues such as beautiful old town-centre churches, and Willy Mason playing in the local drama club studio, is always going to be a feature of both our August festival and year-round programme.”
Bringing PIL to Bangor is a huge coup for the festival, and for the town. “The band have never performed in Northern Ireland before, and we feel extremely proud and privileged to be the ones to coax them here – and to Bangor in particular,” says Kieran. “In truth, we’re thrilled with all the acts we’ve announced so far – and there will be more to come. The Waterboys will be kicking off the August festival with their open-air gig against the backdrop of Bangor Bay on Friday 3 rd and that gig will set the tone for a month of amazing music, food, film, theatre and art. And the Mercury Rev, Willy Mason and Simone Felice gigs in April and May will get everyone in the mood for a summer of energy in Bangor by the sea.”
Simone Felice – Friday 18 th May – Wesley Centenary Church
The Waterboys – Friday 3 rd August – Bangor Seafront
John Grant – Sunday 19 th August - Bangor Seafront
Public Image Ltd – Saturday 25 th August - Bangor Seafront
Tickets are still available for the following gigs at http://www.openhousefestival.com