Fleet Foxes, Laura Marling and Villagers headline a magical midsummer week of music at the 13th Open House Festival
Open House open for business: Guitarist Andrew Farmer from The Sons of Caliber serenades Stephie McCluskey and Emily McWilliams at the programme launch of the Coors Light 13th Open House Festival
Under a blazing June sun, the bars, the salons, the venues and the spaces of Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter will reverberate to the new folk renaissance as the city becomes an Open House for the 13th time.
The Coors Light Open House Festival, funded by the Arts Council, will run from the 22 to 26 June, boasting a line-up which not only includes some of the biggest names in folk and roots music, but some of the biggest current acts you’ll find this side of a Radio 1 Roadshow.
The mighty Fleet Foxes, who have just gone top ten on both sides of the Atlantic with their Helplessness Blues album make their historic Northern Ireland debut, headlining Saturday’s Open House open-air summer extravaganza at Custom House Square. Folk-pop princess and Brit-Award winner Laura Marling, leads the line for a Friday evening of blissful outdoor entertainment.
Support for these two days of outdoor musical magic comes from the cream of the contemporary folk-pop scene: The illustrious likes of Villagers and The Low Anthem reads like a who’s who of contemporary folk and Americana.
Open House director Kieran Gilmore says he’s still ‘taking in’ the list of names assembled for the 13th Open House Festival.
“We’re absolutely delighted. We’ve moved Open House to the longest, brightest - and hopefully hottest - week of the year and we believe that acts such as Fleet Foxes will be just that little bit more special in the open-air and glorious sunshine of a June weekend. Folk music seems to be everywhere these days, whenever you turn on your radio or television. But huge acts such as Laura Marling are just the tip of a very large iceberg for us this year. There’s so much great music coming out of the 13th Open House that reflects the depth and breadth of a genre that never fails to excite. We’re looking forward to seeing festival fans, familiar and first timers alike, making their way down to Open House for a week to remember.”
From the remarkable Cathal Hayden, Mairtín O’Connor and Seamie O’Dowd performing together to the lustrous wonder that is Ms Caitlin Rose to the bar-room growl of Marcus Foster not to mention all the free traditional pub sessions going on across town, there will be music of integrity, acclaim and nerve-tingling verve permeating from the very stonework of the city during Open House.
The dazzling and disparate likes of The Sons of Caliber, Smoke Fairies, The Staves and Skip Moses, Dezi Donnelly and Mike McGoldrick, John Edgar Voe will all take centre stage during a long summer week of Open House and an-all star, 30th anniversary rendition of the classic Dick Gaughan album Handful of Earth promises to yield yet another highlight in a programme full of them.
The Open House Festival receives public funding from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Maria McAllister, Traditional Arts Officer at the Arts Council, commented:
“Over the last thirteen years The Open House Festival has grown to become one of the biggest and most popular events in our cultural calendar. Annually drawing large numbers of visitors from across Belfast and beyond, the Festival is an excellent example of the major contribution that the arts make to our social, creative and economic life.”
Jordana Grimes, Coors Light Brand Manager said:
“We are incredibly proud to be headline sponsor of the Coors Light Open House Festival once again.The festival is a perfect fit for Coors Light as they both have a very cool factor and strong American roots and there is no better way to kick off your summer than with an ice cold Coors Light and a weekend of live, open air music."
And of course, Open House wouldn’t be Open House without Chililifest, the family-friendly celebration of all things fiery. Not for the faint hearted, and now under the glare of a Belfast Summer (we’ve checked – June’s a scorcher), this year’s Chillifest will be a day of culinary and cultural adventure, sound-tracked by none other than the superb Alabama 3, they may be London-based, but they cook up a spicy musical gumbo that Open House heads will devour more easily than they will the Bells Scotch Bonnet.
25,000 people, five days of summer and one goal – to enjoy the hell out of the sights, sounds (and beards) of the most enduring folk and roots urban-based festival on this island – the 13th Open House Festival.