Music in The Chamber – A Night in Nashville

On Thursday 11 May, the next in the series of Ards and North Down Borough Council’s Music in The Chamber events will feature Jenn Bostic, Sarah Darling and Michael Logan for A Night in Nashville.

Left : Country music singer and songwriter, Sarah Darling who will appear at The Chamber, Bangor Castle on Thursday May 11. Right : Jenn Bostic, the talented soulful blues artist from Nashville, Tennessee who will be performing at The Chamber, Bangor Castle on Thursday May 11 for “A Night In Nashville.”

These three artists from Nashville, Tennessee, will be performing original songs in the round, as well as sharing the stories behind them. From Americana to Country, Blues to Soul, this intimate evening will be a night you don’t want to miss.

Jenn Bostic is a soulful Blues/Gospel artist. Her emotive song writing and powerful vocals have been touching hearts around the world. Her hit single Jealous of the Angels, was championed by both Smooth Radio and BBC 2. Since then, Bostic has had 4 singles play listed on BBC Radio 2, including her most recent single What Love Feels Like.

Sarah Darling has released several albums with 1/2 a million downloads worldwide. Her biggest hit, ‘Home to Me’ lead to performances on Conan O’Brien, Fox & friends, and opening for artists like Carrie Underwood and Kacey Musgraves. Her next Grand Ole Opry appearance will mark her 82nd performance on the historic stage.

Michael Logan is an Americana/Folk artist based in Nashville. You may have heard his songs on TV shows like “Nashville”, “One Tree Hill” and “Suits”. He tours throughout Europe and North America and has been invited to open for such artists as John Legend, John Hiatt, Mat Kearney and Jonny Lang. A prolific songwriter, his songs have also been recorded by many artists including Kelly Clarkson, Jonny Lang, Will Hoge and Mat Kearney.

Tickets are £10 including refreshments and are on sale at

CHRIS REA – Announces the ‘Road Songs for Lovers’ European Tour Waterfront, Belfast – 07 December

Chris Rea will play the Waterfront, Belfast on 7th December 2017, as part of a European tour, to celebrate the release of his new album, ‘Road Songs for Lovers’.

Tickets will go on sale this Friday 28 April at 9am via:

Tickets for Belfast Waterfront are available:

In person at the Ulster Hall Box Office

By Telephone: 028 9033 4455
Book On Line:

In person: From 100 Ticketmaster Outlets Nationwide
By Telephone (24 Hour): Northern Ireland – 0844 277 44 55
Book On Line:

The album will be released on BMG in September, with the European tour arriving in the UK for ten dates starting on November 21st at The Sage Theatre, Gateshead.

Like all truly great artists, Chris Rea has followed his own unique artistic vision and a path that is his and his alone. And although his exemplary musical output to date is deeply embedded into the framework of the world’s rock n roll DNA, it is also safe to say that his presence has been something of a glittering thorn in the side of an industry that has always had him down as a perennial outsider. Artist and painter, blues aficionado and self-confessed motoring nut, filmmaker and Italian-influenced classical music composer, eclectic and maverick are two terms that hardly come close to describing a man who has sold more than 30 million albums worldwide for just being himself. In 2017 Rea returns to what he’s best known for: an album of gorgeous rock ballads which showcases Rea’s unique voice and a songwriting skill at the top of his game.

Born in Middlesbrough in 1951, Rea released his debut album in 1978 and promptly had a huge US hit with the first track to be lifted off the record, Fool If You Think It’s Over. In 1983, Rea’s fifth studio album Water Sign sold over half a million copies after I Can Hear Your Heartbeat became a Top 20 hit all over Europe. Rea’s follow up, Wired To The Moon was also a huge success and attendant tours of Europe would ensure that Rea commandeered a significant fan-base that has stayed with him through subsequent decades.

In 2000, Rea’s, King Of The Beach reached the Top 30 but his well-documented illness meant that he took a brief sabbatical from recording before returning to his blues roots.

Rea is not alone in the company of musicians who found fame later in life – think Jarvis Cocker, Leonard Cohen – and indeed it is interesting to note that he didn’t achieve UK Top Ten single status until the release of The Road To Hell (pt2), a record that was actually his eighteenth chart entry. Perhaps it is this fact that makes Rea such a breath of fresh air and a man effortlessly in control of his own faculties as a singer songwriter. “I was never a rock star or pop star and all the illness has been my chance to do what I’d always wanted to do with music,” he says. “The best change for my music has been concentrating on stuff which really interests me.“  He is obviously referring to his love of motor racing, painting and the blues but if Road Songs For Lovers proves one thing it is this: you can add beautiful, poignant rock ‘n’ roll love songs to that pantheon of passion.

Jacqueline from shares her pick of What’s On across NI this Bank Holiday weekend.


Top Trump Trails begins at WWT Castle Espie on Saturday 29th April. They have put a selection of Giant Top Trumps cards around the grounds that represent some of the favourite wetland animals. When you arrive you’ll be given a Top Trumps card and score card – the aim of the game is to compare the animal scores on your card against our giant cards to win!


Hundreds of vintage vehicles will descend upon The Argory this Saturday 29th April as they host their famous vintage vehicle rally. A must-see event for all vehicle enthusiasts. From 12.00 pm to 5.00 pm.


Dogs are always welcome at Castle Coole but will be especially welcome this Saturday when the National Trust will dedicate a whole day of fun to their pooch pals! Bring your dogs along for the dog walk, enter your dog in the pet dog show, and pick up some behavioural techniques and grooming tips at Paws in the Park.


The Blue Boy of Glenmore is a new play by Joe Brennan Produced by the Brassneck Theatre Company. See it at the Craic Theatre on Saturday evening at 8.00pm.  Winter 1978. Cooley Mountains, Ireland. Jemmy John is a tortured soul. The sheep on the glen and the farm are his life but his younger sister Colleen yearns for something much more. With the help of a local car mechanic, Colleen is determined to escape Glenmore for the chance at a better life… but her older brother is having none of it. The life-long conflict between these sibling rivals is the catalyst that ignites the shocking events that unfold.


With over 20 acts performing over 5 days, Da Vinci’s Hotel in Derry City is the place to be from Thursday 27th April – Monday 1st May.  Da Vinci’s Hotel has 3 unmissable Head line Event as part of this year’s Jazz Festival programme with entertainment from Hot Chocolate, Someone Like you ‘The Adele Songbook’ and Finale Night of the Jazz Festival.


Cushendun’s Big Arts Weekend is a four day festival of music, drama, poetry, art, walks, workshops and family fun in one of the most beautiful villages in Glens of Antrim. The programme  which runs from 28th April to 1st May has something for everyone and many of the events are free. For further information and the full programme visit


Visit Titanic Belfast for some family fun from the 29th April – 1st May to celebrate the Bank Holiday Weekend!  Challenge the kids with an Explorer Trail throughout the Titanic Experience, meet the Titanic Mascots and try out a family interactive guide, before stopping off for a bite to eat with Kids Meal Deals in Bistro 401 or for a lighter option the Galley Cafe!


­For more details on these events and to add your events free go to Follow us on twitter @whatsonNI and on facebook at for news, competitions and what’s on near you.

The 4 of Us bring their critically acclaimed show to Flowerfield Arts Centre

Irish music legends The 4 of Us are bringing their critically acclaimed show to Flowerfield Arts Centre on Saturday 29th April.

One of Ireland’s most successful rock groups, brothers Declan and Brendan Murphy have developed a unique musical identity, garnering rave reviews for their timeless songs and trademark acoustic guitar sounds.

The group will showcase songs from their brand new album Sugar Island, which explores the brothers’ early years growing up in Northern Ireland.

The 4 of Us shot to fame in the late 80s with hits including ‘Drag My Name Down’ and the radio classic ‘Mary.’

They followed this with the UK-charting songs She Hits Me and Sunlight, and quickly notched up over two decades of radio hits.

They’ve had six top 20 charting albums including Man Alive which was voted as one of Q Magazine’s Top 50 albums of 1992.

Promising to be one of their best studio recordings to date, Sugar Island has been described as ‘perceptive pop folk of the highest order’ by The Irish Times while Hot Press define The 4 of Us as having ‘considerable melodic flair’.

Tickets for the event, which begins at 8pm, cost £13 and are available from Flowerfield Arts Centre Box Office on 028 7083 1400 or online at (booking fee applies.)

‘Live, Love, Laugh’

Mrs Brown’s Boys star Eilish O’Carroll, best known as Winnie McGoogan in her brother Brendan’s successful sitcom, will bring her critically acclaimed one woman show ‘Live, Love, Laugh’ to Theatre At The Mill, Newtownabbey on Friday 5th May.

Eilish commented “I’m thrilled to bring my solo show on tour to Northern Ireland. For many years I’ve had the good fortune to perform in the North with Mrs Brown’s Boys, so to have the opportunity to perform “Live, Love, Laugh’ in Theatre at The Mill is very exciting.”

Eilish comes into her own with this reflective look on an eventful life that includes a strict Catholic upbringing, two failed marriages and coming out as a lesbian at the age of 50.

While poignant and deeply moving it is also packed with comedy. A 1950s baby, and the ninth of ten children, she describes her childhood with affection. Her discovery that she was a lesbian is also tenderly handled with good humour. The end result is a warm, witty triumph that joyously celebrates being true to yourself.

Tickets available from Theatre At The Mill Box Office, Tel: 028  9034 0202 and online from

Festival organisers ‘roll out’ a partnership worth singing about!

Sunflowerfest organisers and performers scheduled to attend the three day summer festival in Hillsborough, County Down, ‘rolled’ up for a big announcement this week as the leading summer festival unveiled yet another surprise for festival-goers with a unique partnership with award-winning burrito bar Boojum.

Pictured: (L to R) Derry musician Ryan Vail joins Kieran Jennings, Boojum, to launch the unique festival partnership between Sunflowerfest and burrito bar Boojum for 2017.

Credited with introducing Mexican street food to the Northern Ireland mainstream, Boojum’s iconic burritos will be a welcome addition to the buzzing festival atmosphere this year as the brand rolls in their food truck, The Boojmobile, and rolls out a stretch marquee to create an unparalleled street food experience.

Speaking on the new addition to Tubby’s Farm, festival organiser Vanessa Magowan said, “We’re delighted to work with Boojum this year as we believe our products are a perfect fit. Freshness, authenticity and quality are all ideals we hold high and it’s great to be collaborating with a company that is so like-minded.

“With Sunflowerfest transforming the NI festival scene and Boojum revolutionising the street-food culture, it’s a match made in heaven featuring down-to-earth, wholesome nosh in a chilled out, happening environment combining to create a recipe for summer happiness.

Commenting on their tasty partnership with Sunflowerfest Nuala McMenamin, Marketing Manager, Boojum added, “We are so excited to be involved with Sunflowerfest. The ethos of the festival complements our brand and style so well. Not only are we bringing the Boojmobile and our delicious food but will also have a marquee space to create an eclectic, funky environment for all our customers and festival goers to chill out and enjoy! Keep an eye on all our social feeds for updates and maybe even the chance to win a prize or two. Roll on July!”

Sunflowerfest guests can find Boojum on Tubby’s Farm, Hillsborough for Sunflowerfest from 28th – 30th July.  Tickets are now available for sale at

Ten things to do in Northern Ireland Next Week!

Tourism NI has put together a list of 10 exciting things to do in Northern Ireland (April 24 – April 30).


  1. Lord Mayor’s Day, Belfast, Saturday April 29. Celebrate all that is exciting and entertaining about Belfast on the lawns of Belfast City Hall. From the extremely talented artists and musicians to the top class performers and well-known landmarks, there will be something to entertain everyone. Try your hand at making some Belfast animations, or relax and listen to fantastic Belfast stories. You can also enjoy interactive drumming, visit a completely different world through virtual reality or even help to paint a portrait of the Lord Mayor. 12-5pm, free entry.
  2. Jazz in the Gardens, Co. Down, Sunday April 30. Bring your picnic and settle down on the lawn with your family and friends to enjoy an afternoon of jazz in the beautiful gardens at Mount Stewart. Dogs on leads are welcome. 2-4.30pm, admission £4.31 – £8.63.
  3. Scarva Band Concert, Co. Armagh, Sunday April 30. The finest in local concert bands performing at the magnificent Victorian bandstand on beautiful Scarva Green, which is renowned for its superb floral displays.3-4pm, free entry.
  4. Presidential Portraits by Frank McKelvey, Co. Tyrone, until April 30. American Presidents claim ancestral links to Ulster. This exhibition at the Ulster American Folk Park of original drawings, made around 1930, focusses on eleven of them and their journeys to the White House.
  5. Paws in the Park, Co.Fermanagh, Saturday April 29. Dogs are always welcome at Castle Coole but especially when a whole day is dedicated to our pooch pals! Join the dog walk, enter your dog in the pet dog show and pick up some behavioural techniques and grooming tips. 12-3pm, admission £2-3.50.
  6. City of Derry Jazz & Big Band Festival, Derry~Londondery, April 27 – May 1. The festival returns with five days of live music throughout the city and district, featuring Imelda May, Hot Chocolate over 200 other musical acts over the Bank Holiday weekend.
  7. Damhead Miniature Railway, Coleraine, Saturday April 29. Damhead Miniature Railway, in the heart of the countryside between Coleraine and Ballymoney, is a great place to visit with the children. The small trains can be travelled on by both the kids and adults and the track covers one third of a mile. There are picnic facilities on site.12-5pm, children £1, adults £2.
  8. Laurentic Exhibition, Derry~Londondery, until June 21. It has been 100 years since the famous Laurentic sank off Lough Swilly on a bitter cold night in January 1917. This Tower Museum exhibition tells the story of the famous ship, the numerous salvage operations and the search for the elusive gold still on board.10am-5.30pm, free entry.
  9. Cushendun’s Big Arts Weekend, Co. Antrim, April 28 – May 1. A four-day festival of music, drama, poetry, exhibitions workshops and family fun in one of the most beautiful villages in the Glens of Antrim. Now in its fifth year, the festival celebrates the rich culture and spectacular landscape of Cushendun and the Glens of Antrim.
  10. Malone House Spring Fair, Belfast, April 29-30. Experience the flower filled grounds of Barnett Demesne, with farm animals including chickens, rabbits and goats. Falcons will be swooping in for aerial displays and exotic reptiles such as snakes and lizards will also be on show. There will also be a variety of children’s entertainment, music, dance, plant and craft stalls, and environmental activities to enjoy.30-5.30pm, free entry.

Jacqueline from shares her pick of What’s On across NI


Spend the Easter holidays outdoor in nature at Castle Ward for daily Easter activities for all of the family until Sunday 23 April, 10am-5pm.  Highlights include Easter Crafts at the Barn daily at 12-4pm, Victorian Playroom & Easter Fun, Cornmill demonstrations Sundays, 2-5pm, House tours and Children’s Trail in the mansion, Children’s woodland & adventure playground,- feeding the animals with the Rangers daily at 3.30pm and visit the artists in the Studio at Castle Ward.


Danann Crafts is back at the Discovery Centre at Oxford Island this Sunday 23rd April, this time with loads of family fun for kids and adults!  Enjoy live crafting demos and wonderful craft stalls. Over 30 stalls with make & take workshops, fantastic local crafts & food stalls with the best chutneys and oils. And ideal Sunday day out.


Borderline Players are back with their Easter Pantomime, ‘Goody Two Shoes’, which promises to be another epic tale for all ages.  Septica, an evil sorceress, has left her magic shoes with the Elf Cobbler for mending, and as they are her only comfortable pair, she is far from pleased when Goody Coddle appears wearing them. Playing at the Ardhowen Theatre this Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd April.


The Ad Lib Charity Drama Group present The Real McCoy in Eskra Community Centre, Co. Tyrone this Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening.  Proceeds will go to The Michaela Foundation and Parkinsons UK.


This Friday at the Glassworks Derry, winning early music ensemble Sestina presents Music of the Grand Tour from Italy, to include the seminal Four Seasons by Antonio Vivaldi, played by virtuoso Dutch violinist Johannes Leertouwer, and the youthful early work of Georg Frederic Handel – Dixit Dominus.  Join the young voices of Sestina and experience music from Italy performed on instruments of the period in stunning surroundings.


The Curious Wedding Fair is back, this time for the weekend, for two full days, jam packed with eclectic exhibitors, revolutionary runway shows, quirky entertainment and more.  The Curious Wedding Fair is hitting the Eikon Exhibition Centre, Lisburn on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd April 2017.


Anthony Toner makes his solo debut on the Lyric Theatre stage this Sunday to celebrate the release of his seventh album. This new collection, Ink, finds the Belfast-based songwriter in top form on a series of stripped back, acoustic-based songs dealing with the big themes of love, loss and happiness.  He’ll be joined by special guests Eilidh Patterson, Ciaran Lavery and John McCullough.


­For more details on these events and to add your events free go to Follow us on twitter @whatsonNI and on facebook at for news, competitions and what’s on near you.

A ‘good little fellow’ hops out at Belfast Zoo this Easter!

It’s not just the Easter bunny that Belfast Zoo visitors have spotted this Easter, as Kau Kau the Goodfellow’s tree kangaroo has finally ‘hopped’ out of mum’s pouch to greet the Easter crowds!

Until this year Belfast Zoo was the only zoo in the UK and Ireland to care for Goodfellow’s tree kangaroo and were the first in the UK to breed the species.

Kau Kau was born to mother, Jaya and father, Hasu Hasu last summer but the joey has only recently ventured from her pouch to explore her surroundings.  Like all marsupials, female tree kangaroos carry and nurse their young in their pouch.

As their name suggests, the Goodfellow’s tree kangaroo is a tree-dwelling mammal which is native to the mountainous rainforests of Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. Tree kangaroos are well adapted to a life in the trees by climbing up to 20 feet high and leaping more than 30 feet through the air from branch to branch.  However, this species is facing increasing threats due to habitat destruction and hunting.

Zoo manager, Alyn Cairns, is delighted with the new arrival, “Belfast Zoo is committed to the conservation of species in danger and we take part in a number of global and collaborative breeding programmes. While we are always delighted to welcome new arrivals, we are particularly pleased with the arrival of Kau Kau.  Until this year Belfast Zoo was the only zoo in the United Kingdom and Ireland to care for Goodfellow’s tree kangaroo and we were the first in the UK to breed the species back in 2014.  This species is listed as Endangered on the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List as the population has dramatically declined in Papua New Guinea by at least 50% over the past three generations.  The work of zoos is becoming ever more vital in ensuring the future survival of species, such as the Goodfellow’s tree kangaroo, and we are delighted to play an active role in the conservation efforts.”

Zoo curator, Andrew Hope, said “When the joey is first born it is the size of a jelly bean and remains in the pouch for eight to ten months so Belfast Zoo staff were unable to determine the sex of the joey immediately. When we started to see the joey peak out of her pouch, we began to affectionately refer to her as ‘wee spud’. We then named her Kau Kau, a Papua New Guinea word for ‘sweet potato’ which happens to be our tree kangaroo’s favourite food. Kau Kau is already proving to be quite a character and we hope that visitors to Belfast Zoo will enjoy seeing her first ventures outside of her pouch.”

Visitors can see Kau Kau and her family at Belfast Zoo.  The Goodfellow’s tree kangaroos have a public feeding time daily at 11.15am.  The zoo is open daily from 10am, last admission is at 5pm and the zoo closes at 7pm.  For more information visit

Bank Holiday Fun at Navan Centre & Fort

A visit to the Navan Centre, is always a fabulous day out for all the family.

Busy preparing for the feast of Bealtine at the Navan Centre & Fort, Armagh – your help is needed this Bank Holiday!

The exhibition allows you to discover the history and the archaeology of Navan and a visit to our Iron Age dwelling transports you to the traditional age of the Celts.  Explore the myth and reality of Navan on a guided walk to the Fort.

This bank holiday (1st May) the characters will be preparing for the arrival of Summer as the feast of Bealtine is fast approaching.  Bealtine marks the end of Winter and the arrival of the warmer, longer days of Summer.

All fires are put out to mark the end of Winter and the upcoming light of Summer.  Winter bedding is burnt and families separated by Winter are reunited, cattle are moved to Summer pastures, the fairies move from their Winter homes to their Summer palaces, hand fasts take place and offerings are made to please the gods and purification fires are lit to cleanse and encourage good health and fertility.  Rowan and hawthorn is used to signify good luck and fertility and to ward of fairies as they move to their Summer homes.

This event runs from 11.00am – 5.00pm, normal admission charges apply.  No advance booking needed, just come along and join in all the fun!

For information please contact: Navan Centre, 81 Killylea Road, Armagh.  BT60 4LD.  Tel 028 3752 9644 or