What have Skibbereen, Bandon, Bantry and Kinsale got in common? Besides being significant sized towns in West Cork, they also feature an annual arts or literature festival. So what’s wrong with this picture? Well, there’s no mention of Clonakilty – until now. A group of individuals from the local drama group ‘Tadhg an Astna Players’ (Neil Fitzpatrick, Trish Walsh, Greg Mulcahy Cathy Fitzgerald and Kieran Doyle) and the Clonakilty Arts centre, (Clodagh Connaughton and Manny Lange) have formed a committee that has put together an exciting, eclectic and excellent range of performances that will enliven Clonakilty from June 18 to 21 in the form of the Clonakilty Organic Arts Festival.
What makes this unique is the fact that the festival is built around the rich talents from the town and its local environs, hence the word ‘Organic’ in the title. “We thought about how much talent is within the town and so many people in the region are unaware of this. So we decided that our mission statement from the beginning was to provide a creative space and stage for local talent,” said Kieran Doyle, one of the organisers. “It was easy to get people to agree to do it because Clonakilty has so much talent and people are proud of what they can do.”
The festival will open on Thursday night in De Barras pub with a taste of poetry, drama and singing, featuring acts such as the singing talents from Clonakilty Lodge and opened by Clonakilty man and renowned poet, Dave Lordan.
There is something for everyone over the three and a half day event. Children’s events on the Model Railway Village train, to poetry, drama, music, choirs, film, dancing in Emmet square, street performances, history talks, comedy, workshops etc. Clonakilty Community Arts Centre has also created an arts trail to showcase an array of talent and has got the consensus from many of the local businesses to ‘display some of the local art’ in their premises for the duration of the festival.
“The local venues have been great in giving us space for the performers and we have tried to spread the performances around the town as best we can, including a dramatic pageant out in Inchydoney amphitheatre,” says Greg Mulcahy. “Everyone we have dealt with has been so supportive and all we need is people to come along, enjoy the events and the town.”
Most of the events are free and the programme will range from morning to late over Friday, Saturday and Sunday, as well as the opening on Thursday evening. Although Cork County Council are part funding the event, Neil Fitzpatrick and Trish Walsh, the financial officers explain that “the festival is being run on a shoe string and any money we have received is for promotional purposes. The performers have all waivered any expenses, which has made it easier for us. But we would be delighted with any sponsorship or donations.” (These can be submitted to the local credit union, Clonakilty Organic Arts Festival account.) Check out Clonakity Organic Arts Festival 2015 facebook page or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put it in your diary, iPhone, facebook page….Clonakilty’s first arts festival…June 18 – 21.