Open House Festival Bangor returns on Thursday 11th August with three weeks of music, comedy, classic cinema, theatre, boat trips and food events.
The majority of the fifty scheduled events will be held in the beautiful surroundings of Bangor Castle Walled Garden under a stretch tent canopy. There’ll also be four free music concerts in Ward Park each Sunday afternoon of the month and a free Seaside Revival Vintage Festival on Bangor seafront on Saturday the 13th.
“The Walled Garden worked really well for us last year in what was still an uneasy time with Covid constraints,” says Open House director, Kieran Gilmore. “It’s a magical environment and our audiences love it, so we decided to keep the garden as our key venue for 2022. And with no restrictions in place this year, we expect the reaction from audiences and artists alike to be even more positive.”
The festival has reintroduced food events in some of Bangor’s top restaurants again this year, while the ever-popular Folk on a Boat and Island Picnic trips also make a return.
Three of the biggest crowd-pullers to the summer-long free Music in the Park concerts at Ward Park will take place during the festival – Revival Picnic on Sunday 14th, Punk in the Park on Sunday 21st, and Bluegrass Picnic on Sunday 28th. And on Saturday 13th, the free Seaside Revival Vintage Festival returns to Bangor seafront, with live music from rockabilly band The Sabrejets, a classic car and bike show, a vintage car boot sale, vintage fashion shows and makeovers, and much more.
The month will culminate with an acoustic Snow Patrol concert on Bangor Seafront, held in partnership with Ards and North Down Borough Council to celebrate Gary Lightbody receiving the Freedom of the Borough Award. All profits from the concert will go to The Court House on Quay Street. The new permanent Open House music venue will open its doors in October following a seven-year funding and refurbishment project.
“This will be our ninth annual Bangor Festival,” said Kieran Gilmore, “and our first in the city of Bangor. It would have been our tenth but for the pandemic, but we’re just grateful to be back bringing a diverse programme of live events to Bangor again. And the fact that the festival concludes with our biggest Bangor event ever is the icing on the cake.”
The Mayor of Ards and North Down, Councillor Karen Douglas, said: “I am delighted the Open House Festival is back in Bangor this month. A packed programme of live events will take place in the beautiful surroundings of Bangor Castle Walled Garden and Ward Park, together with delicious food events at some of our finest restaurants. I am looking forward to welcoming an influx of visitors to our city and I wish all those participating a very successful festival.”
Meanwhile, Gilly Campbell, Director of Arts Development, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented: “The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is delighted to support the 9th Open House Festival. This festival brings world-class arts and music to the city of Bangor every year, and once again, the team there has curated a terrific programme with something to suit all tastes. I would encourage everyone to go and enjoy everything that this wonderful festival has to offer.”
Tourism NI’s CEO, John McGrillen, commented: “We are delighted to support the Open House Festival as it enters its ninth year. August will bring a whole month of music, theatre, comedy, film and more to Bangor, with headline performances from an eclectic range of local and international acts. Events such as the Open House Festival contribute greatly to the positive perception and profile of Northern Ireland, and are recognised as crucial economic drivers. I wish the organisers, sponsors, participants, and attendees the best of luck for an exciting event.”
Open House Festival runs from 11th – 31st August. Tickets for some events are still available, including comedian Nuala McKeever with her new stand-up show, musician Duke Special, whose concert was cancelled last year due to covid, English ‘fokltronic’ BRIT award winner, Beth Orton, acclaimed American singer-songwriter Willy Mason, a screening of the classic film, Cabaret, and From Berts to Bangor – a recreation of Belfast’s famous Berts Jazz Bar in Bangor’s Walled Garden. Most of the Walled Garden events end in time to get the last train home to Belfast. For full details and bookings, go to www.openhousefestival.com
Open House festival is a registered charity dedicated to regenerating Bangor through arts and culture. The August Festival is funded by Ards and North Down Borough Council, Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Tourism NI, with additional support from Clandeboye Lodge and Translink.