Things to See at Stendhal Festival of Art

Over 300 artists and performers, including one Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, are set for Ireland's Best Small Festival this weekend. Here's our pick of what not to miss

On August 7 and 8 Ballymully Cottage Farm, Limavady welcomes an vast array of artists and performers from the worlds of music, comedy, dance, theatre, visual arts and crafts for the fifth annual Stendhal Festival of Arts.

In being named Ireland's Best Small Festival in 2014 the Roe Valley weekender cemented the growth from its modest roots and this year's line-up sees its continued trajectory to becoming one of the island's richest outdoor arts showcases, big or small.

With hundreds of names making up the two-day programme, figuring out where to begin can be a dizzying prospect. So to start you off we've handpicked highlights of what not to miss this year, whether you're a first-timer at the festival or a yearly patron. See our picks below.

Donovan - Friday, 10.20pm on the Main Stage

'Donovan is one of the most celebrated names in folk music,' said festival director Ross Parkhill upon was his initial announcement. 'His catalogue of songs have played a part in the soundtracks to many people’s lives.' With some of the most highly regarded and memorable songs in music history produced over a 50 year career, the Rock and Roll Hall Fame inductee is the festival's biggest coup so far and the one truly unmissable act of the weekend.

Boogaloo and Graham - Friday, 6 - 11pm at the Garden Shed Stage (time TBC)

Producer Brian Falconer is in attendance for a special screening of the Oscar-nominated short as part of an evening of cinema at the festival's Garden Shed Stage. An attendee since the festival's inaugural year, Falconer will also take part in a Q&A about his role in the film, which follows two young brothers who learn a few life lessons with help from their pet chickens in 1970s Belfast.

Conor Keys and Teresa Livingstone - 8.55 - 9.30pm, Saturday at the Garden Shed Stage

Two of Northern Ireland's finest comics offer an alternative of homegrown hilarity to the international names elsewhere on the bill. Keys is the resident MC at Daly's Comedy Club in Omagh while Livingstone's musical act recently took her to the final of the UK-wide Hobgoblin comedy competition.

Kerbdog - 9.30pm, Saturday at the Karma Valley Stage

At the heavier end of the musical spectrum few are likely to be disappointed with the first performance in this part of the country by Kilkenny's reformed grungers.

Ciaran Lavery - 6.45pm, Friday at the Karma Valley Stage

Described by Zane Lowe as having the 'sound of a songwriter who’s very, very in touch with his own ability and comfortable in his own skin', alternative folk artist Ciaran Lavery is perfectly suited to his Friday evening timeslot as the first night begins to gather pace.

Katharine Phillipa - 5.40pm, Saturday on the Main Stage

Singer-songwriter Katharine Phillipa recently performed her first sold out solo show at Belfast's Black Box and after Stendhal enlisted her for a standalone gig alongside Join Me in the Pines and Ryan McMullan as part of the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival earlier this year, this step up to main stage is certain to progress the young talent further still.

Sara Pascoe - 7.25pm, Saturday at the Karma Valley Stage

One of the biggest draws of this year's line-up, TV regular Sara Pascoe (Mock The Week, Live at the Apollo) shares a side-splitting comedy bill with legendary Irish stand-up Kevin McAleer, who came to prominence through RTÉ's Nighthawks in the late 1980s.

The Docs - 9.30pm, Friday at the Keady Corner

Rock'n'roll five-piece The Docs are one of the brightest talents to emerge from Derry's ever-growing hotbed of young contenders. Having won both Strabane and Letterkenny's recent busking festivals, the band form part of an impressive line-up of rising musicians programmed entirely by the Nerve Centre's Set The Stage and Oh Yeah Centre's Scratch My Progress initiatives. Make sure to stick around for teen starlet Rebecca Mulhern and keep an ear out for Riot Upstairs, R51 and Hot Cops on Saturday.

Macka B - 12.10am, Friday on the Main Stage

A sleeper hit at the 2013 festival, the British reggae and dancehall pioneer returns this year to cap send off day one with his trademark brand of humour and high-energy performance.

David Lyttle - 7.30pm, Friday on the Main Stage

'One man industry' David Lyttle is joined by a host of collaborators from his ongoing tenure as Musician-in-Residence at the Nerve Centre for what is odds-on to be one of the most technically thrilling sets of the weekend.

Televisor - 11.15pm, Saturday at the Air Stage

In a rare live outing, multi-national nu-disco duo Televisor bring the curtain down on the Air Stage with a high dosage of electro-funk, giving those looking to round out the weekend with a real party ample reason to stay up.

Stendhal Festival of Art takes place at Ballymully Cottage Farm, Limavady on August 7 and 8. For ticket information see the festival website.