Earagail Arts Festival launched their 2014 programme yesterday with performances on the ground and in the air.
The 26th annual Earagail Arts Festival runs from Saturday, July 12th to Saturday, July 26th, with performances at venues across a large swath of the county.
One of the flagship Donegal events along the Wild Atlantic Way, Earagail Arts offers family and outdoor events, theatre, comedy, art, workshops and music from Donegal and around the globe.
The programme launch yesterday began with a graceful and powerful performance outside An Grianán Theatre by Fidget Feet aerialists Chantal McCormick and Carolina Cabanas, who wound themselves in long, black scarves that hung from the high theatre roof and danced far above the heads of the audience.
The festival’s centrepiece is “Fiesta”, a new play celebrating one of the finest dance halls in Ireland and presented by Earagail Arts, An Grianán and Donegal County Council. Running from July 12th to 14th, “Fiesta” recalls the music, memories from Letterkenny’s Fiesta Ballroom.
Patricia McBride, An Grianán director, said the new play is rooted in the community and came from an idea from Festival Director, Paul Brown.
“I think Paul had a great idea there, and I knew it would strike a chord with people,” Patricia said. They sought stories from people who remembered the Fiesta, and the public response was tremendous.
The play was developed by weaving together the stories, “in a play which everyone can enjoy,” she said. “It’s a bit of nostalgia, but ultimately it’s a great play.”
Other highlights include “I Do”, a work of immersive theatre by Clonmel Junction Festival and Dante or Die (July 15th to 18th); “Bombino”, an evening with Tuareg guitarist and singer Omara “Bombino” Moctar, a star from the Sahara (July 18th); “Melting Pod Finale”, a melting pod keyboard masterclass with Selan, American musician, singer, songwriter, composer, arranger and producer known for combining electronic, pop, and soul (July 17th); “Imaginarium”, the processional spectacle by Landscape Theatre Company LUXe (July 26th); and “The Drive-In”, a night of thrills at Ards Forest Park with the “The Goonies” on the first night and a public vote on whether “Evil Dead II or “Psycho” is screened on the second (July 24th-25th).
Paul said the festival tries as much as possible to provide a platform for Donegal artists, celebrating the very best of Donegal and Irish culture, while also bringing in the best of international artists. He said Earagail Arts Festival is synonymous “with award-winning, ground-breaking international and national music, theatre and visual arts.”
Úna McCarthy, head of festivals and events, Arts Council of Ireland, said, “The Earagail Arts Festival exudes a strong sense of place and identity and continues to deliver a high quality programme which reaches audiences in strategic and surprising ways.”
Earagail Arts is funded by The Arts Council of Ireland, Fáilte Ireland and Donegal County Council. Full details at www.eaf.ie.