The Future's Bright at Sunflowerfest
Tubby's Farm enter's another dimension in 2017 as art and science collide to transform the three-day festival into A Parallel Universe
Thousands of festival-goers will be taken on a journey through space and time this summer with the announcement of a new-look Sunflowerfest, themed around A Parallel Universe.
Taking place at Tubby's Farm, Hillsborough from July 28 to 30, organisers and designers are collaborating to create a unique experience where art and science collide, in addition to three days of live music.
Amongst the first wave of acts revealed, Irish comedy-rap duo Rubberbandits are scheduled to take their cult status to the main stage alongside acclaimed Derry-born singer-songwriter Ryan Vail’s new live AV show, which has been well-received at this year’s SXSW in Austin, Texas. Fan-favourites King Kong Company will also make a welcome return to headline the main stage.
Other additions to the bill will include Electric Swing Circus, a unique blend of '20s swing and modern electro, Golden Age-channeling MCs Too Many T’s, endearing, festival-worthy folk from Beans on Toast and the contagious humour of Mr. B, the Gentleman Rhymer.
The festival maintains its strong links with music communities abroad by welcoming new Dublin noisemakers Farah Elle and Damola, and Glasgow pop-rockers Single By Sunday. Disco masters Le Galaxie as well as local-favourites Malojian and Reading and Leeds regulars R51 will also bring their explosive sound back to the packed-out ‘festival for all’ at Sunflowerfest.
A local hub for all genres of music, the festival’s dedicated ‘ElectroMoot’ venue for dance and electronica will see a headline set from OR:LA alongside JIKA JIKA!, Ponyhawke and Brién at the controls with many more to be announced. To the delight of Sunflowerfest veterans, the famous ‘Silent Disco’ will also make a welcomed return.
Meanwhile, a new partnership will be launched this year that sees the festival join forces with popular local eatery Boojum to feed hungry festival-goers, families and artists. And following the success of last year’s Year of Food and Drink venue, Sunflowerfest plans to bring a huge range of treats, cooking demonstrations and tastings showcasing the best in Northern Irish food and drink.
Alongside her husband, Sunflowerfest organiser Vanessa Magowan was inspired by their young son's musical pursuits to develop the festival into a family-friendly force in the local music and arts community.
'Sunflowerfest began as a small-scale fundraiser to help our son raise money for a school project, she said. 'Over the years, the festival continued to grow until we made the decision to open to a wider public and host it on our picturesque farm in Hillsborough.'
Previous years of the hugely successful festival have seen the enchanting natural beauty of Tubby’s Farm transformed into a steampunk haven and an ancient Viking settlement, among other unique themes. This year’s theme of A Parallel Universe places a focus on futurism.
Speaking on what can be expected at this year’s festival, festival organiser Michael Magowan described how their world-building ambitions are ‘rooted’ in positive community engagement.
'Since 2002, over 7,000 native trees including beech, birch, ash, alder, willow, hazel, and oak have been planted on-site,' he said. 'The festival’s electronic music venue ‘The Moot’ and the festivals picturesque Pond Stage were crafted five years ago from a lorry load of renewable pine logs from the forest at Jonesborough, near Castlewellan.
'We strive to foster a sense of community and connection both during the festival and at Tubby's Farm generally. While visiting the festival, people from all walks of life can enjoy yoga, meditation, interactive and educational workshops as well as inspirational talks from individuals who share creative and environmental interests. We’re proud to share our home in the countryside – a collective, beautiful, piece of heaven on earth. We are just the caretakers for the generations to come.'
Sunflowerfest is built on principles of permaculture and sustainability, with an army of volunteers assembled each year to ensure that the farm is prepared for the thousands of expected guests as well as looking after the land during the festival weekend.
Tickets for Sunflowerfest start at £74.95 (includes two children, aged 15 and under) and £64.95 for students – now available online at www.sunflowerfest.co.uk. Additional bands, artists, and activities will be announced via the festival's website, Facebook, and Twitter.