West Cork Chamber Music Festival debuts inaugural Fringe Festival

Miranda Cuckson. Pic: Beowulf Sheehan

World-class chamber music will be heard throughout the Bantry region as the West Cork Chamber Music Festival debuts its inaugural Fringe Festival from Saturday 1st to Saturday 8th July.

Throughout the week, Ireland’s best young performers will join some of the professional musicians to perform in a series of daily Pop-Ups, randomly popping up during the day and performing in local coffee shops, restaurants, shops and streets in Bantry, exposing the music to all in the community. All of these events are free of charge, for non-festival goers to experience and enjoy. These lunchtime events will run in a variety of locations in the Bantry area, including Whiddy Island, Garnish Island and Durrus.

Deirdre O’Donovan, who is organising the Fringe, says “We are delighted the OPW – Office of Public Works, are sponsoring this event. It’s great to have such a prestigious company believe in what we’re trying to achieve. We would also like to thank the Southern Star and O’Keeffe’s Supervalu for their support.”

The Fringe begins on Whiddy Island when the young musicians of Ensemble Dagda perform on Saturday 1st July. The concert will be followed by a mackerel smoking demonstration and a seafood lunch with Tim O’Leary from the Bank House. Tim will also host a short walk and talk on the history of Whiddy Island. The events are free, however the ferry cost is €6 return. The action then moves to the Westlodge Hotel the following day when The Behn Quartet perform in the Sugarloaf Restaurant. General Manager of the Westlodge Hotel, Pat Gill, will host a complimentary Summer Sangria reception to accompany visitors’ lunch.

Ensemble Dagda return to the Fringe programme on Monday 3rd July upstairs in Organico Café. Rachel, Hannah and the Organico team look forward to welcoming visitors to their award-winning café. Young Cork violinist Mairead Hickey will perform in Bantry Library on Bridge Street on Tuesday 4th July. Flute player Katie Hyland and harpist Fiona Gryson will perform in Bantry Community Tourist Office at the Old Courthouse in Wolf Tone Square on Wednesday 5th July. And on Thursday 6th July, Voice will perform in St James Church, Durrus. This is a fitting way to mark the opening of the Enjoy Durrus Festival which takes place over the weekend of 6th to 9th July, and will help to showcase all that’s so great about Durrus and its surroundings.

The Fringe then sails to Garnish Island, Glengarriff, on Friday 7th July, where Voice will be joined by harpist Fiona Gryson on this unique garden of rare beauty, which offers visitors a wealth of horticultural and architectural delights. Returning to the mainland, at Bantry Community Tourist Office on Saturday 8th July, Voice will be joined by members of local choirs for a rousing Fringe finale.

Alongside these performances, there will be three workshops for all ages during the week. Alex Petcu and Sinéad Frost will bring Bang and Crash! to the Bantry Bay on Wolfe Tone Square. This percussion workshop is for under 12s. Alex and Sinéad will perform with congas, bongos, snare drums and cymbals, while the kids will join in, using shakers, rainsticks, tambourines and their bodies to create sound. For the second workshop, Alex Petcu and Sinéad Frost return to take their show outdoors at the National Learning Network, Donemark, Bantry. All ages are welcome to attend. On Friday 7th July, at the Bantry Bay, Voice will give a workshop to a number of locally based choirs, including Bantry Community Choir, Glengarriff Church Choir, Muintir Bháire Mens Choir, Durrus Folk Choir and Bantry Folk Choir.

To mark the first Fringe Festival, West Cork Music have offered a special accommodation offer for those wishing to stay in Bantry. Friends of the Festival have just finished renovation on their 5 star luxury summer home, which sleeps up to 10 guests. Set in a tranquil area overlooking the town, this little getaway offers breathtaking panoramic views over Bantry Bay. Visit www.seascapebantry.ie for more details.

The complete Festival and Fringe Festival programmes are available online at www.westcorkmusic.ie. For more details, ring the West Cork Music office on +353 (0) 27 52788

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