Music lovers are among those preparing for the long awaited Newry Arts Festival, which will be opening in the City on Thursday 2 February.
This 10-day festival will offer an immersive mix of exhibitions, comedy, drama and an incredible line up of live music acts across all genres from renowned local and regional musicians.
The first of the live music events — Knowing the Ground of Which We Stand —plays at the Edinburgh Woollen Mill Building on Hill Street on Saturday 4 February. Folksinger and storyteller Colum Sands teams up with classical musician Anne Harper to weave stories, songs and tunes around the language that connects us all to the places where we live.
On Thursday 9 January, music lovers will be spoilt for choice between Newry Chamber Music at The Imaginarium Arts Centre and Zoe Conway and John McIntyre at Newry & Mourne Museum. The evening with Newry Chamber Music will feature celebrated musicians, violinist, Joanne Quigley McParland, Irish classical guitarist, Redmond O’Toole, and choreographer Emily Ayers. In a concert not to be missed, they will explore the relationship between classical music and dance. This is a spectacular cross-arts performance, which will be the first of its kind.
Over at the intimate surroundings of Newry & Mourne Museum, Zoe Conway and John McIntyre will get things going with an exciting blend of eclectic fiddle and guitar music. The duo will bring to the stage sympathetic arrangements of traditional Irish music, compositions and songs, old and new.
Music lovers will once again be treated to another incredible night in Newry & Mourne Museum the following evening, when fans of one of Ireland’s finest songwriters, Brigid O’Neill, can see her in concert. Reviews of her critically acclaimed previous album releases including Touchstone and Intangible Heritage, have reaffirmed that the gifted artist is one of the most versatile, unique and fearless storytellers on the island.
Finishing the Festival’s music line up on the last evening of the Festival, Shindig Arts presents ‘Later With…’, an intimate live performance music show in Newry Town Hall. This will feature local musicians, Cormac Neeson, Odhran Murphy and Sionan Hanratty (Rue), The String Ninjas and Leo Miyagee. This will be a truly unique evening of live music and interviews in a relaxed and informal setting.
The new Newry Arts Festival was conceived following the popular virtual Re:Imagine Arts Festival produced in 2021. Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Cllr Michael Savage said, “The Newry Arts Festival has an impressive range of talent on display and a diverse programme catering for a range of ages and tastes.
“It is an exciting time for the Newry arts scene with a brand new Theatre and Conference Centre planned for the city. Ahead of this multi-million pound development the festival wants to recognise the many artists who have contributed to Newry’s rich artistic life through the Sean Hollywood Arts Centre. Many of the artists performing will have honed their craft at this theatre, so it is wonderful to see them taking part in the Newry Arts Festival to recognise that legacy and celebrate the local arts scene.”
The Newry Arts Festival takes place in venues across Newry City. For the full programme and to purchase tickets go to www.newryartsfestival.com.