Stendhal Festival Announces 2017 Line-up
Sharon Shannon and Ash are amongst the first half of music acts revealed to be playing the award-winning Limavady event this year
The first wave of artists set to soundtrack this year's instalment of Limavady's award-winning Stendhal Festival have been announced.
Headlining the two-day event, which takes place at Ballymully Cottage Farm over August 11 and 12, will be Downpatrick rockers Ash, who make their first appearance at the festival on the Friday night.
The veteran trio are one of the most popular and successful acts to ever hail from Northern Ireland, bursting onto the scene with their seminal debut 1977, an album which contained classics such as ‘Girl from Mars,’ ‘Goldfinger’ and ‘Oh Yeah’. The album hit Number One in the British Album Charts and spawned four top 20 hits for the fledgling outfit.
Since then the band's career has spanned over 20 years, producing 18 top 40 singles, two UK Number One albums and a further three, which all charted in the top 10. Their latest, 2015's Kablammo!, was the band's first traditional release in almost a decade, following the innovative A-Z Series of digital-only singles. Last year Ash were recognised for their contribution to music with the Oh Yeah Legends award, and performed 1977 in full to mark its 20th anniversary.
From one legendary act to another, Irish folk hero Sharon Shannon will also be taking to the Stendhal stage this summer.
Shannon has seen and done it all in the Irish folk scene. She has played on stage with the likes of the Waterboys and Christy Moore, while her 1991 self-titled debut album remains the highest selling folk album in Irish history.
Granted a lifetime achievement award at the 2009 Meteor Awards, the multi-instrumentalist has attained revered status and festival organisers say they're very proud to welcome her to Limavady in the summer.
Adding a stylish international flair to proceedings will be both Ginkgoa and Ulrich Schnauss, featuring Nat Urazmetova. Parisian/Manhattan electro-swing act Ginkgoa has been garnering rave reviews thanks to their electrifying recent appearances in festivals across Europe and North America.
German electronica icon Ulrich Schnauss is at once uplifting and otherworldly, combining multi-layered synthesizers with beats and ethereal vocals, serving as an aural escape route from the trappings of reality.
Showcasing the very best of Northern Irish talent has always been a key component of the Stendhal experience and this year some of our very brightest home-grown stars will be shining on the festival stage.
Ciaran Lavery is making a welcome return to Stendhal. The fast rising home-grown star has been making huge strides in recent months and is recognised as perhaps the one to watch from these shores, while Jealous of the Birds is another hotly-tipped talent making waves. Equal parts light and shade, her songs are poignant and vulnerable, bursting with honesty and raw passion.
After being selected to support Ed Sheeran on the superstar's summer European dates however, Ryan McMullan may just be Northern Ireland's breakout name of 2017. McMullan is no stranger to Stendhal, having made his Limavady debut in 2014 he hasn’t looked back. He has opened for the likes of Foy Vance and is looking forward to his first headline show in Belfast this coming September.
Other local standouts include the brooding intensity of Hiva Oa, the always outstanding and original Joshua Burnside, the excellent Susie Blue, Derry electro-pop/rock purveyor ROE, the soaring vocal magnificence of Rosborough and with many more to be announced, expect only excellence from the Northern Irish contingent this year.
Brothers Declan and Brendan Murphy have been better known as The 4 of Us for over 25 years now. Propelled by hit single ‘Mary’ the band’s first album Songs for the Tempted shot them to Number One in the Irish album charts, going double platinum and winning them Best Album of the Year at the Irish Music Awards.
Anthony Toner has been described as ‘John Prine meets James Taylor – in a second hand book shop’. The Coleraine-born singer-songwriter is a masterful composer whose songs are meticulously crafted, poetic and suffused with compassion, warmth and wisdom.
A multitude of different genres and styles of music will be on show, including bluegrass courtesy of Rackhouse Pilfer, gypsy orchestral from Basork, reggae from the John Street Band, folk from Emma Lusby and with further announcements to come, Stendhal will ensure that there is something for everyone to enjoy.
Festival organiser Ross Parkhill said: 'We are really pleased to be welcoming so many top acts to Stendhal again this year. Last year was by far and away our best year ever so we have been working incredibly hard in the knowledge that we have to top it.
'The first part of the music line-up I think shows that we are on our way to doing that and that Stendhal is once again going to be the most unmissable music event in Northern Ireland this summer.'
Earlier this week the festival announced Rachel Morrow as its headline visual artist for 2017. The Islandmagee painter will collaborate festival artwork in the run-up to this year's event, before having the opportunity to showcase her own work at an on site art gallery over the August weekend.