Corrymeela’s Arts and Culture Festival Kicks Off This Weekend

Duke Special set to attend inaugural festival of diversity, arts, debates, politics and music, marking 50 years of peacemaking

If you love music, literature, and arts and culture in general, then this weekend’s inaugural Aperture Festival in Ballycastle is a must. Taking place from Friday, July 31 until Sunday, August 2 at the Corrymeela Centre, Aperture has been dubbed ‘a festival of diversity, arts, debate, politics, faith, music and celebration.’
It’s certainly packing a lot into three days, with music from the likes of Bangor’s Ivor Novello award-winning songwriter, Iain Archer, on Sunday night and speakers including Naomi Long and Gerry Kelly. The political pair will take part in the Friday afternoon panel discussion on the Good Friday Agreement, so there’s certainly a mixture of events and something for everyone to enjoy.
Aperture Festival
A definite family-friendly event, the Aperture Festival will also feature everything from circus acts, games and films, to workshops, debates and talks. There’ll also be lots of hearty local produce to sample, as well as appearances from authors, poets, theologians, politicians and of course, musicians.
Corrymeela executive director, Colin Craig, says: 'Corrymeela has been a witness to peace in Northern Ireland since 1965. We’re celebrating 50 years of peacemaking with the Aperture festival a temporary community to engage your heart and soul. It’s a place to ask questions about reconciliation, faith and justice a place to dance, to think and simply to be. And an amazing line-up of musicians, thinkers, artists and performers will help us celebrate the past and imagine a shared future for all on these islands.'
The festival kicks off with keynote speakers Rev Mark Gray and Zen Buddhist, Daigan Gaither, on Friday, along with panel discussions on the Good Friday Agreement and the Human Rights Act. Music will also come from Jun Tzu, Master & Dog, R51, No Oil Paintings and Rory Nellis.
Meanwhile, over the weekend, Saturday will bring with it an eclectic line-up of events, including more than a few literary-themed talks and workshops. Indeed, guests include writers Glenn Patterson and Paul McVeigh, as well as keynote speakers, Sigi Rieuwerts and Marian Partington.
Aperture Festival
Debates on how media reflects society will also feature, with digital director at Independent News and Media, Kevin Traynor, PR expert Nick Garbutt, and The Detail editor, Stephen McCaffery taking part. Corrymeela community leader and poet, Pádraig Ó Tuama will also join Culture Night director, Adam Turkington, and executive director of Belfast Exposed Photography, Tracey Marshall-Elliot, to discuss ‘Why the Arts Matter’.
Music over the weekend will subsequently see talented singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Hannah McPhillimy, take to the stage. Other local musicians set to add a spark to the festival include Duke Special, The Sands Family, Ballymoney Rock School and The Salt Flats, amongst many others.
Aperture Festival
'The Aperture festival will be a wonderful and temporary community for three full days on the north coast,' says a Corrymeela spokesman. 
'Marking Corrymeela’s 50th anniversary, it will give voice to a wide range of ideas, placing them all in the context of a celebration of 50 years of community, and space to explore how we might all travel this complicated and joyful journey of living well together. We’ll celebrate local and international peace building. We’ll celebrate our common ground and our differences, and we’ll explore how far we’ve come and how far we have to go. 
'We’ll listen to voices often ignored and in a space of celebration, dialogue and diversity, talk about our differences and celebrate the amazing work of community.'
On Sunday, Tony Macaulay will also be in attendance, along with fellow keynote speakers, Baroness Nuala O’Loan and Davie Philip founding member of the Cloughjordan ecovillage project and Cultivate a Sustainable Ireland Co-operative. Visitors can also go along to panel discussions on ‘Faith and Aid in Action’ and ‘Beyond Cross Community’, with insights also set to come from the LGBT community about contemporary Northern Ireland.
Threaded throughout all of this will be puppet-making, sketching, dance and yoga workshops, plus film screenings, art installations and song-writing events.
Renowned for its work in bringing people together for the past 50 years, Corrymeela works with everyone from youth groups and schools, to community organisations and political parties. The Aperture Festival is subsequently yet another strand to the community-based work that they do and with a whole host of events planned, it’s shaping up to be a great weekend on the North Coast.
The Aperture Festival takes place from July 31 - August 2 in Ballycastle. For more details visit the Corrymeela websiteWith tickets available for single days or the full weekend family tickets are also up for grabs  the Aperture Festival is sure to be a three-day extravaganza for all.