Apprentice Boys Governor Jim Brownlee says anticipation is building ahead of the annual Maiden City Festival, next month when over 40,000 people are expected to visit Londonderry for a bumper programme of theatre, live music, dance, visual arts, talks, tours and exhibitions in key venues across the city.
Mr Brownlee, who is also festival co-director, said: “Every year, thousands of people arrive onto the streets of Londonderry to enjoy music, dance, theatre and pageant, and this year will be no different with events for all the family.
“I’m really looking forward to welcoming both returning and first-time visitors to the city for eight busy but fun-packed days.”
Over August 6 -13 residents and visitors will have an array of events to enjoy, including Siege Tales, a re-enactment of stories and tales from the Siege performed daily by local actors on the City Walls and The Skirl of the Pipes, colourful displays of piping, drumming and highland dancing from Sollus Highland Dance on the Grand Parade.
Families will also enjoy the spectacular fireworks display that will light up Londonderry’s sky on Tuesday, August 9 at 10.15pm, following Kids’ Night in The Memorial Hall.
A special reunion event for former residents of the Fountain has been planned for Saturday 6 August in the Memorial Hall. Jesse Garron will provide the music from the 60s, 70s and 80s as those who lived and socialised around the area from yesteryear come back to share their memories and the sounds of the time.
On Sunday, August 7 Foyleside Shopping Centre will be transformed into one big stage as some of Northern Ireland’s most talented young musicians perform the best of traditional and modern Bluegrass & Folk music from 1-6pm.
Following its multi-million pounds investment, the recently re-opened Siege Museum will be encouraging residents and visitors alike to take time to visit ‘The Art of War’, its latest exhibition of trench art and artefacts crafted by soldiers during the First World War, complimented with original paintings from local artist Alister Gault.
Café across the city will also be buzzing with live music from young musicians from the worlds of jazz, blues, soul, rock and pop as part of Culture Bites.
Local musicians such as Roy Arbuckle and John Trotter will be joined by others around the city in cafes such as The Sandwich Company, Coffee Pot, Café On The Walls, Café Soul and The Memorial Hall.
For the second consecutive year, The Mountjoy Challenge, in association with the Lough Foyle Yacht Club will return to the River Foyle on Saturday 6 August. Boats will race from Ross Bay to the Council Jetty, to ‘break the boom’, emulating the path taken by the Mountjoy when breaking the Siege in 1689.
Launching the programme, Festival Chairman Graeme Stenhouse said: “I’m delighted to unveil this year’s programme and look forward to welcoming hundreds of performers, actors and musicians back to the city for what will be another fantastic celebration. The Festival has become a key part of the cultural life of our city and thanks to our sponsors we are able to provide so many free events. I would encourage everyone to come along and help us celebrate the rich and diverse history of our city.”
The Maiden City Festival is funded by Derry City and Strabane District Council, Tourism Northern Ireland, Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade, Ulster Scots Agency, and the Community Relations Council.
For more information and to download the programme visit www.maidencityfestival.com. Box offices for Festival events at Home Sweet Home, Bond Street, Waterside Tel 028 7134 6677 AND The Siege Museum, 16 Bishop Street Tel 028 7126 1219.