Jazzing it up at Theatre at the Mill

Take a trip down memory lane with Derry born Clarinettist and Alto Saxophonist Gay McIntyre at Theatre at The Mill on Friday 12 September. Join us for an evening of reminiscing with classic jazz music from this local legend and a collection of talented performers.

Gay has had an extremely successful career which has spanned over six decades, working with artists such as Kenny Ball, Nat King Cole and Louis Stewart just to name but a few.

Gay McIntyre will be accompanied by Vocalist Victoria Geelan, John Leighton on Piano, David Lyttle on Drums and Rohan Armstrong on Double Bass. The musicians joining him on stage may be whippersnappers in comparison but don’t be fooled they are well established and super talented. The collaboration of a treasured master and some leading lights of future Jazz in Northern Ireland make for an interesting night of music.

Experience the incredible talent of Gay McIntyre as he performs timeless classics such as Strangers on the Shore, Moon River, Danny Boy and The Days of Wine and Roses. Join this veteran of Jazz for one night only at Theatre at The Mill.

Tickets are available at www.theatreatthemill.com<http://www.theatreatthemill.com> or by contacting the Box Office on 028 90340202.

Avalon String Quartet at The Bandstand this Sunday

This Sunday, 24 August, The Avalon Quartet will be taking to The Bandstand to entertain the Summer Sunday’s audience in Ward Park.

Drawing on diverse musical backgrounds The Avalon Quartet is an ensemble with strong classical and traditional roots. As well as playing a wide range of contemporary music, the group explores links between the classical string repertoire and folk and traditional tunes. The result is a compelling mixture of music by composers such as Bach, Corelli, Mozart, Tchaikovsky and Vivaldi, coupled with gems of Celtic folk and traditional music.

Depending on the weather, there will also be a speciality market at the event featuring a variety of local traders, another great reason to come to Ward Park!

So if you fancy kicking back in a deckchair to the classical sounds of a string quartet, get down to Ward Park this Sunday afternoon.

This FREE event runs from 3pm – 5pm and don’t forget your picnic!

Keep an eye out in local press each week for details on each artist or for more information phone our Visitor Information Centre on 028 9127 0069 or visit: www.northdowntourism.com

Movies in the Garden

Open House Bangor Festival is well underway, and so far almost every event has been a sell-out.

Tomorrow (Thursday 21st August) sees the launch of the festival’s mini film festival: four nights of open air classic film screenings in the tranquil setting of Bangor’s beautiful Walled Garden. The four films selected for this year’s festival offer something to tempt the taste buds of most classic movie lovers – Casablanca, Mamma Mia, Some Like it Hot and Pride & Prejudice. The ticket price of just £10 includes a complimentary glass of something appropriate – Gin Sling for Casablanca, Blue Lagoon for Mamma Mia, Manhattan cocktail for Some Like it Hot, and fizz with strawberries for Pride & Prejudice.

“At the moment the forecast looks to be on our side, which is brilliant” says Festival Manager, Alison Gordon, “but we will have waterproof ponchos for everyone, just in case there’s a shower. We’re also encouraging folk to wrap up warm, and bring a blanket with them if they wish. It all adds to the atmosphere. Other than that the dress code is optional – but if people do want to don raincoats and trilby hats, or flares and wedge shoes, or even Marilyn Monroe wigs, well anything goes! And, of course, when it comes to Mamma Mia, singing along isn’t obligatory, but is highly recommended.”

Tickets are still available for all four films, and while paying at the gate is an option, the organisers advise anyone wishing to go to book online now to avoid disappointment.

For tickets and full details go to: www.openhousefestival.com

Open House Festival is a registered charity. Open House Festival Bangor is supported by North Down Borough Council, The Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board.

Jacqueline’s Pick of What’s On This Week across NI

With only two weeks left of the Summer Holidays, here are Jacqueline’s pick of family events taking place this Bank Holiday Weekend across the North.


SunflowerFest is a unique 3 day fun filled family friendly festival of music and arts at Tubby’s Farm, Cabra Road, Legacurry Friday 22nd to Monday 25th August. Immerse yourself in 3 days of music, arts, comedy and holistic therapies.  The kidzone has activities to keep for children busy. Hear over 60 bands, comedians and poets perform and let holistic therapists look after your mind and soul. Three day camping tickets available with separate family camping and kids go free.


This Saturday sees the first ever Proms in Dungannon Park compered by Noel Thompson with the fabulous Celtic Tenors who have established themselves as the most successful classical crossover artists ever to emerge from Ireland Our local artistes the very popular Gemma Prince, Soprano from Dungannon and Local Baritone Karl MC Guckin. Also performing is Arco String Quartet, regarded as Ireland’s leading professional, vibrant and most successful string quartet.  This is a seated event with food hall and bar service available, so come along and have your tea before the show commences at 7.00pm.


Waterways Ireland Belleek Water Festival, Belleek takes place this Bank Holiday weekend to coincide with the arrival of the Heritage Boat Association including ‘Come and Try It’ water activities.


Lots of sparkle and swords are expected at Springhill over the Bank Holiday weekend. (Sunday and Monday).  Budding Princesses and Pirates can discover the Springhill treasure trail and enjoy lots of sparkling and swash-buckling games and crafts. Prizes given for the best dressed Princess and Pirate. Judging will take place at 3pm.


Following hot on the heels of previous record-breaking summer musicals at The Market Place Theatre, including ‘Les Miserables’, ‘Annie’ and ‘Peter Pan’, they present one of the most beloved British musicals of all time, ‘Oliver!’ 19th– 21st August.  Featuring a cast of the best local talent, wonderful sets, a live orchestra, and some of the most memorable tunes ever written, we bring Dickens’ timeless characters vividly to life with the exhilarating story of one boy’s survival against the odds. Lionel Bart’s sensational score is packed full of joyful songs including ‘Food Glorious Food’, ‘Consider Yourself’, ‘You’ve Got To Pick-a-Pocket Or Two’, ‘I’d Do Anything’, ‘Oom Pah Pah’, ‘As Long As He Needs Me’ and many more. This summer musical spectacular will leave you definitely wanting ‘more!’


Street Car Show & Go, part of the Ballymena Raceway Speedfest weekend, is 2 days of racing this  Friday 22nd & Saturday 23rd August with the Street Car Show taking place on the Saturday.  Entry to the show grounds around 4.15pm.  Open to Classic, Custom, Retro, Modified and Performance cars. Supercars also welcome – Ferraris, Porsche, entries taken on the day.


The EastSide Arts Festival, delivered by East Belfast Partnership with support from Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure and Arts Council for Northern Ireland will run 21st – 25th August across East Belfast locations, and will showcase a varied arts programme with something for everyone across the east of the city and beyond. See www.eastsidearts.net for full programme of events.

For more details on these and other events across Northern Ireland, news and competitions see www.whatsonni.com, follow us @whatsonni and like us at fb.com/www.whatsonni. Add your  events FREE OF CHARGE at www.whatsonni.


The 23rd Aspects Literature Festival which is taking place from 25 – 28 September in Bangor features a truly inclusive programme offering something for everyone – enticing the uninitiated to join in! Aspects is well renowned for bringing household names to Bangor and this year’s line-up will not disappoint.

In the 100th year since the outbreak of World War 1 and following the recent WW1 Commemoration Events in North Down, the Festival will take on a reflective feel, looking at war through modern day eyes, those who fought and those who report on the fighting.

On Thursday, 25 September, broadcaster Gerry Kelly will be interviewing Falklands War Veteran Simon Weston OBE in The Festival Marquee in The Walled Garden. Simon, who received 46% burns during the bombing of Sir Galahad in 1982, is known the world-over for his optimism which he radiates. His story and his determination have inspired the will to excel in countless others. And his irrepressible humour, infectious enthusiasm and his engaging personality have made him an extremely sought after motivational speaker.

Simon has made many, many television and radio appearances, including major BBC documentaries; ‘Simon’s War,’ ‘Simon’s Peace,’ ‘Simon’s Triumph’ and ‘Simon’s Return.’ This has been complemented by literary success as a best-selling auto biographer and most recently, as an author of children’s fiction.  For this event, Simon will also read from his novel ‘Moving On.’

Well-known TV war reporter Martin Bell will also be making a very special appearance at this year’s Aspects Festival. In keeping with the war theme, Martin will be in conversation with BBC Radio Ulster’s John Toal and will be talking about his career where he has broadcast from most major combat zones and reflecting on these experiences.

Bell who served in the Army in Cyprus during his National Service joined the BBC in 1962 after graduating from Cambridge and began a distinguished career as a foreign affairs correspondent. Over the next 30 years, he covered 11 conflicts and reported from 89 countries, making his name with reports from wars and conflicts in Vietnam, the Middle East, Nigeria, Angola and Northern Ireland.

This special event will be taking place on Sunday 28 September, also in The Festival Marquee at The Walled Garden.

Friend of Aspects Fergal Keane will be in conversation with Kenneth Irvine on Friday 26 September. Keane, a winner of numerous awards including a BAFTA, Royal Television Society Journalist of The Year and an OBE

for services to television journalism . He is also the author of seven books, most notably his top ten best-seller ‘Road of Bones’ on the siege of Kohima in World War Two which was recently named Military book of the year.

No stranger to conflict, Keane will be recounting his experiences as a veteran war reporter, mostly recently reporting from The Gaza Strip.

Also on Friday 26, local author Sheena Wilkinson will be reading from ‘The Great War,’ a recently released anthology of stories about World War 1. The book is a collection of stories inspired by objects from The First World War and Sheena will be reading her story ‘Each Slow Dusk’ inspired by the 1914-1918 school magazines of Methodist College, Belfast where she taught for 19 years. Sheena, a shining light on Northern Ireland’s literary scene was recently granted a major award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and has just completed her term as an inaugural Bringing to Book Writer in Residence at the Church of Ireland College of Education in Dublin. This event will be taking place in The Council Chamber at The Town Hall, Bangor.

All tickets for these events are now on sale at www.northdown.gov.uk/bookings.  For the full line-up, please download a programme at www.aspectsfestival.com

Tickets are available at www.northdown.gov.uk/bookings, from the festival Box Office at North Down Museum (028 9127 1200) and from Bangor Visitor Information Office (028 9127 0069).

Aspects Irish Literature Festival

This year’s Aspects Festival will run from 25- 28 September and will definitely appeal to everyone, simultaneously welcoming the return of experienced Aspect’s fans and embracing the uninitiated.

Martin Bell
Martin Bell

As always Aspects likes to showcase as many forms of writing as possible, in addition to displaying the wealth of local literary talents from new writers like Jan Carson, to established highly respected masters of the written word such as David Park.

Aspects is well renowned for bringing household names to Bangor and this year’s line-up will not disappoint. Reflecting on World War 1, this year’s Festival will take a look at war through modern day eyes. Martin Bell and friend of the Festival Fergal Keane will offer audiences an insight into the impact a career in reporting on conflict can have. Whilst Gerry Kelly will be interviewing Falklands War veteran Simon Weston plus Sheena Wilkinson will be reading from the book ‘The Great War’.

Another headliner for the Festival is Holywood born award-winning actor and comedian Michael Smiley. Michael will revisit his childhood in Bangor, whilst reminiscing about the characters he met on his journeys including acclaimed local photographer and cyclist Bill Kirk. For all those photography enthusiasts the Festival will offer the chance to exclusively preview Bill Kirk’s new exhibition which will be opened by well-known author Glenn Patterson.

Bangor is famous for its strong Mod culture so who better to represent the genre than the literary godfather of the subject and author of The Sharper Word, A Mod Anthology, Paolo Hewitt. Paolo will be in discussion with Northern Ireland’s own well-known Mod celebrity hairdresser Paul Stafford.

As always Young Aspects plays a major part in the Festival, Pauline Burgesse will be holding a writing workshop for all those potential authors, whilst the very successful Young Aspects Showcase Event will return to present writing from young people from around the Borough. The little ones will have plenty to look forward to with some Dr. Zeuss yoga and Young at Art presenting a not to be missed interactive experience.

For those whose years of Dr.Zeuss are well behind them need not worry, as agony aunt Virginia Ironside will be on hand to help, she is bound to raise a few laughs with her one woman show Growing Old Disgracefully.

For poetry lovers Damian Smyth and Nathaniel Mc Auley will be reading from their new collections or why not take the bull by the horns and participate in Bangor’s first ever poetry slam.

Without a doubt this is a Festival not to be missed. Mayor of North Down, Councillor Peter Martin commented: “With its eclectic mix of poetry and prose this Festival highlights the wealth of local literary talent in North Down and displays the cultural diversity of the area. It has something for the young and old alike”

Tickets and programmes are available at www.aspectsfestival.com, from the festival Box Office at North Down Museum (028 9127 1200) and from Bangor Tourist Information Office (028 9127 0069).

Excitement builds as a bigger and better Walled City Tattoo returns to Derry~Londonderry next week

Preparations for next week’s Walled City Tattoo are in full swing, with regular rehearsals in and around Derry~Londonderry and the open air ampitheatre build having started in the city’s Ebrington Square.

Over 300 international performers are enroute to Northern Ireland to perform in the show alongside a local cast. The 550 strong cast of musicians, dancers, actors and acrobats will entertain and delight audiences when the show returns to the city for 4 nights from next Wednesday 27th August. It has been revealed that the 2014 production, which is themed around the transort history of the North West, will feature a giant ship.

The spectacular opening scene of this year’s Walled City Tattoo will tell the story of the old ship building yards on the River Foyle. A 30 strong drums corps from marching bands, rock bands and samba bands across the country will create an exciting and unique sound for the show’s ambitious beginning. Swapping their traditional instruments for oil barrels, corrugated iron sheets, steel tubing, hammers and grinders the drummers are led by international Musical Director Yaron Engler who has composed the unusual musical piece for the start of the show.
The Walled City Dance troupe returns with over 200 dancers from the Highland, Irish and Contemporary dance worlds playing a significant part in this year’s production. Revealing more Choreographer Georgina Kee-McCarter said: “The Highland dancers are performing what we have called a Water Dance which is inspired by the River Foyle. Then the Irish dancers’ Immigration Dance will tell the story of those who headed to a better life in America and returned home with a wealth of experience. Our modern piece sees a dance based on train travel which will recreate some of the holiday journeys people would have taken from Londonderry to the likes Ballycastle, Portrush and Bundoran.”

The travel theme continues through into the music with various local and international music acts playing traditional marches and airs alongside contemporary favourites. The Lone Piper and Auld Lang Syne will be performed by featured acts alongside songs by Coldplay, Biffy Clyro and Daft Punk as well as local acts Snow Patrol and the Undertones.

The Massed Pipes and Drums will be joined by special guests from across Ireland, England, Scotland, Germany and Malta. Two of the city’s oldest bands Britannia Concert Band and Hamilton Flute Band will perform together for the first time.

Other special guests are travelling from around the globe to be part of this very special production.  From Switzerland Starbugs will bring their unique slapstick comedy acrobatics to this years show; from London come the world-renowned motorcycle display team The Imps; and all the way from Malta the 30 musicians of the Marsa Scouts Pipes and Drums are bringing 20 family members to make a holiday out of their time in Northern Ireland.

Traveling from France, the Paris Fire Brigade Band are putting together a one-off performance for the Walled City Tattoo as they do for each show they feature in. Their performances are a heavily guarded secret and use contemporary music, taking inspiration from the area they are performing in. The audience is promised an extra special treat from these international tattoo favourites.

Mayor of Derry~Londonderry, Councillor Brenda Stevenson said: “I’m delighted to see the return of the Walled City Tattoo after what was undoubtedly one of the major highlights in last year’s City of Culture programme. And from what I have heard from the organisers, this year’s spectacle promises even more in terms of dramatic visual effects, all set once again against the stunning backdrop of Ebrington Square.

Behind the scenes

“The show was a fantastic success for the city in 2013 and its return is very much in keeping with Derry City Council’s commitment to promoting cultural diversity and providing exciting new platforms for musical talent. The Tattoo is a perfect example of how differing cultures can complement each other in a celebratory performance to be shared and enjoyed by all.”

Event producer James Kee from Sollus Cultural Promotions added: “It was a privilege to produce the show last year and now that we are back and looking to make the Walled City Tattoo an annual event we can see the direct legacy that has come out of all the work put into the UK City of Culture last year.  This year we are bringing different acts and a different theme, but all with the same aim in sight:  to wow and enthral our audiences over this last weekend in August. The amphitheatre is bigger than last year with more elevated seating. We have the capacity for an audience in excess of 4,000 per night and are pleased to say every seat has a superb view.”

A Family Festival Fun Day will run as part of this year’s Walled City Tattoo. Taking place on Friday 29th August, the free event will be open to the public and will give the audience the chance to meet performers, try on costumes, play instruments and watch some very special performances.

The Walled City Tattoo is funded by the Department of Trade, Enterprise and Investment through the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure, Derry City Council, Ilex and the Ulster Scots Agency and is supported by Derry Visitor and Convention Bureau.

The Walled City Tattoo, Ebrington Square, Derry~Londonderry
Wed 27 – Sat 30 Aug 2014 at 20.45
Tickets from £18.50
For more information visit www.walledcitytattoo.com To book visit www.millenniumforum.co.uk or call 028 7126 4455

Bangor’s First Culture Day This Weekend!

This Saturday, 23 August, Bangor Town Centre will be buzzing with the arrival of its very first Culture Day.

Skateboarding busker, Rennon O’Neill, gets in some rehearsal time for his appearance at Culture Day Bangor on 23 August. Originally from Hawaii, Rennon now lives in Bangor. He’ll be busking at different locations throughout the town on the big day, including this gorgeous vintage campervan during the Campervan Jam!

The event which is being organised by Open House in conjunction with North Down Borough Council will celebrate the wealth of creative talent alive in the town.

On the day, the town will be organised into zones and will literally come alive with activities such as tea dancing, craft demonstrations, art displays and street games, plus live entertainment including bands, buskers, DJs, choirs and dancers.

Highlights of the day will include an open air Tea Dance in The Sunken Gardens, a craft bazaar and creative emporium at Project 24, a speciality street market along The Promenade, and a motorbike petrol tank custom art demonstration at the pods by internationally acclaimed local artist, Terry Bradley. Lots of retailers and publicans are getting behind the day too, with music, workshops and events happening in many of the local shops, pubs and restaurants.

There’ll be flash-mob dancing in Menary’s and a Campervan Jam at Project 24 with musicians jamming inside campervans. There’s a Lawn of Wellbeing where you can join in with yoga, tai chi and sound healing sessions throughout the day, and a Circle of Sound which will host various performances from talking drums, to street theatre. And best of all, it’s all free!

Christine Mahon, Director of Development Services for North Down Borough Council, believes that Culture Day has all the elements of a hugely successful local event, which will also appeal to tourists, and people from outside the town.

“North Down Borough Council are very pleased to be supporting Culture Day Bangor,” she says. “This unique event can only enhance an already superb Open House Bangor programme and further support the growing range of artistic talent in the Borough, and we look forward to welcoming many people to our town on 23 August.”

So come down to Bangor this weekend for this special day, guaranteed fun for all the family – starting at 2pm!

For more information and updates on Culture Day go to www.openhousefestival.com.

Get A New View And Explore Ulsters River Towns

Get out and about this summer around some of Ulster’s most beautiful rivers and explore what they have to hold.

Paul Livingstone with Cool FM Presenter and DJ Kathryn Wilson

Rivers, streams and fresh water areas in and around Portglenone Marina, Drumaheglis, Belturbet and Kilrea have received a massive cash injection to allow the public and visitors to the province to step off the beaten track and revel in a tourism attraction that many don’t realize exist on their doorsteps.

The new campaign, Fresh Waters, run by The North East Partnership under its RIVER Project, aims to educate the local community and tourists about the wealth of camping opportunities, walking trails and cycling routes amid a backdrop of some of Ulster’s most stunning water ways; that take visitors inland to appreciate the natural landscape carved out by rivers, lakes and streams. The Lower Bann, the River Erne and their neighbouring towns open up a whole new tourism sector for locals and tourists to enjoy, with an expansive heritage to be explored.

Throughout the summer months ahead, all four River Towns have a raft of events and activities taking place – suitable for all types of days out and members of the family. For information, log on to Fresh Waters Facebook or follow @the_freshwaters on twitter.

Everyone invited to the PGI Party at the Armagh Bramley Apple Festival!

The Armagh Bramley Apple Festival at the Shambles Market Yard in Armagh City on Saturday 6th September is gearing up to be something incredibly special, as it’s the very first time that all three of Northern Ireland’s PGI accredited products will come together to celebrate their celebrity status in the world of food!

Miss Armagh Bramley Apple, nine-year-old Kara Morgan with just a selection of the goodies up for grabs by the winner of the Neill’s Flour Best Armagh Bramley Apple Tart competition.

So, what exactly do Armagh Bramley Apples, Comber Early Potatoes and Lough Neagh Eels have in common that sets them apart from apples, spuds or eels from anywhere else? Well, they’re all from Norn Iron, of course! But they have all also been given recognition on a global stage as being extra special through the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status awarded them by the European Union.

What this means, basically, is that, because of the geographical environment in which they are produced, they all exhibit unique and exceptional qualities and characteristics, which distinguish them from all their competitors. It’s a status recognised and appreciated as far away as Japan, yet largely ignored and taken for granted here where these superb foods call home.

But all that’s set to change at the Armagh Bramley Apple Festival! At this free to attend event, running from10am until 6pm, visitors can discover exactly why our three PGI products are so superior direct from people who produce them. We’re even challenging some local chefs to demonstrate exciting and innovative recipes that combine Armagh Bramley Apples, Comber Early Potatoes and Lough Neagh Eels  – you can watch those dishes being made (and maybe even get a taste) at the Flogas demonstration kitchens on the day.

And there’s more, of course, much, much more to see, sample and enjoy on the day at the Armagh Bramley Apple Festival! If you fancy a tipple, there’s Cider Maker’s Row, featuring local producers of Armagh Bramley Apple ciders and juices, plus cocktails and mocktails from Viva Bar & Bistro’s mixologist.

If you fancy a bite of lunch, ‘artisan street food’ is the ‘in thing’ and at the Armagh Bramley Apple Festival you can savour some of the best. If you’d rather cook for yourself at home, bring a bag and pay a visit to the artisan stallholders – you won’t find the kind of wonderful foodie delights they have to offer in your average shop!

And while you’re indulging all that grown up stuff, the kids can be enjoying their own entertainment by taking part in one of four simulating and interactive Armagh Bramley Apple educational presentations during the day from the good folks at the Navan Centre.

But you too could get directly involved in this celebration of Armagh’s most iconic food product by putting on your pinny, rolling out some pastry and entering the Neill’s Flour Best Armagh Bramley Apple Tart Competition! Open to anyone who is not a professional cook, all you need to do to enter is bring along your tart on the day (entries close at 4pm), hand it over to the appointed steward and sit back and wait for the judging at 4.30pm! It’s all for fun really, but there is a prize for the winner – a lovely hamper of Armagh Bramley Apple goodies and a bag or two of Neill’s Flour. Now, is that not worth turning the oven on for?

The Armagh Bramley Apple Festival is part of Armagh City & District Council’s Armagh Bramley Development Programme, which is funded through the Northern Ireland Rural Development Programme 2007-2013 (NIRDP) and administered through Southern Organisation for Action in Rural Areas (SOAR), the Festival is set to showcase Armagh Bramley Apples in their rightful place at the heart of the County’s historic tradition of culinary apple production and as an iconic Northern Irish food product that we should all take more pride in and celebrate for its unique characteristics.