Back with a bang!
Cavan Arts Festival returns from May 19 to 22 with a four-day celebration of music, art, circus, theatre, literature, dance, food and – above all – each other.
After a two-year hiatus, this year’s programme more than makes up for lost time with a line-up including Villagers, Iarla Ó Lionáird and Steve Cooney, Tumble Circus, Manchán Magan, Rogu, Gabhann Dunne, Blutack and the Greenhorns, Sarah McKenna Dunne, Fanzinis, and much more.
As in previous years, the festival will be headquartered at the Big Top in Con Smith Park, Cavan town, with free, family-friendly events taking place at ‘Park Life’ on Saturday and Sunday from 1pm to 6pm.
From the Baby Rave to The Never-Ending Bunting Station, from The Cinema Tent, to teenage tunage from Grooveline and KCD, ‘Park Life’ at Con Smith Park will be a sea of colourful installations and soulful sounds, with local food on offer from The Cottage Market Cavan. On both Saturday and Sunday at ‘Park Life’, the international, award-winning circus company, Tumble Circus present ‘Slap’ a hammer-smashing rollercoaster of Belfast inspired circus divilment.
This year, the festival is expanding to take in new venues, with Urney Church of Ireland, Farnham Street, hosting Iarla Ó Lionáird and Steve Cooney on Friday, 20th May at 8pm (Tickets €22.50, cavanartsfestival.ie). Renowned two-time Grammy nominee Ó Lionáird (The Gloaming, Afro-Celt Sound System) and acoustic guitar virtuoso Cooney have forged a unique musical partnership over many years and the intimate surrounds of Urney Church will provide the perfect venue to showcase their distinctive, memorable, and evocative music.
The grounds of Urney Church, Farnham Street will host the spectacular ‘Firestorm’ by Rogu on Friday, 20th May at 10pm. An explosion of fire, light, skill and the ridiculous from Ireland's most skilled fire performers, this free, all-ages show brings its audience on a journey from intense fire choreography to dreamlike worlds of illusion and imagination.
In what will be a highlight of this year’s festival and – let’s be honest, the entire summer – the critically-acclaimed, Ivor Novello winner and Mercury Prize-nominated Villagers perform at Town Hall Cavan on Sunday, May 22 at 8pm (Tickets €32.50, cavanartsfestival.ie). With his full, eight-piece band including brass section, Conor O’Brien will weave his hypnotic spell on Cavan audiences with tracks from his latest album, ‘Fever Dreams’ and from his outstanding back catalogue.
On Sunday, May 22 at 3pm in The Big Top, Con Smith Park (tickets €10, cavanartsfestival.ie), globe-trotting author, presenter and filmmaker Manchán Magan presents his new show ‘Arán agus Im’, a unique theatrical performance that celebrates the Irish language in an engaging, accessible bilingual way, through the medium of sourdough bread and home-churned butter!
Recipient of Cavan Arts Festival Bursary Award, playwright Sarah McKenna Dunne will present a self-guided, site-specific audio-theatrical experience, ‘Smouldering not Smothered’ which starts at Market Square, Cavan Town from Thursday, May 19, running all weekend.
Festival favourites Blutack and the Greenhorns will bring some brass neck to proceedings on Saturday, May 21 when they raise the roof in at the Festival Club. Boasting some of Ireland’s best touring musicians, when this collective comes together, dancing, chancing, and romancing ensues. See cavanartsfestival.ie for further details.
The festival programme was launched on Thursday April 21 by Cathaoirleach of Cavan County Council, Cllr Clifford Kelly, and to mark the occasion, the new exhibition by Dublin based Cavan artist Gabhann Dunne opened at Town Hall Cavan. The exhibition, ‘Crossing the Salt’, will be open Tuesday – Friday until June. 18
“We are incredibly excited to be able to present such an exciting, varied, and engaging programme for this year’s festival,” says Festival Director Kim McCafferty. “While the festival committee has kept active throughout the past two years with our street art gallery, and pandemic outreach programmes, nothing beats the communal experience of a crowd gathering to enjoy the arts and we can’t wait for the explosion of pent-up creativity and craic at Cavan Arts Festival from May 19 to 22. There is something for everyone to enjoy, so let’s all get our dancing pants on and make it a summer to remember. This is the excuse to come to Cavan you’ve been waiting for!”
The full festival programme is available for download at www.cavanartsfestival.ie. You can also book tickets today at www.cavanartsfestival.ie.
Cavan Arts Festival is supported by Cavan County Council, the Creative Ireland Programme, and the Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport, and Media.