Derry Singer Goes Outside the 'Box' with New Festival

Sarah McGuinness will open the doors to her Moville home next month to host an intimate day of live performances, literature, food and more

When Derry-born singer Sarah McGuinness was planning a one-day summer festival for this July, she didn’t have to look too far for other artists to add to the bill.

Not only is she herself a renowned singer, songwriter, musician, actress and filmmaker (as Sarah Townsend), her aunt Sheila McClean is a highly respected landscape painter and her sister Jane Townsend is an artist whose most recent work is inspired by her fascination with the sky.

Sheila and Jane are just some of the guests whose work will feature at Sarah’s Jewel Box Festival, a one-day celebration of music, comedy, art, food and literature which will take place at the multi-talented artist's own home in Moville on Saturday, July 16.

Explaining the idea behind the festival, McGuinness said: 'A lot of summer festivals are big, loud and overpriced and that can be off-putting for some audiences. The Jewel Box Festival will offer an antidote to all of that a small-scale festival with an eclectic programme which offers people the chance to get up close and personal with artists in a beautiful, relaxed environment.'

Jewel Box Festival 2

Musical highlights of the festival include Newry hit-makers The 4 of Us, whose new album Sugar Island, is set for release in September. With her own album of dark symphonic pop being mixed by Suede and Pulp collaborator Ed Buller, McGuinness joins them alongside Swedish folk artist Klara Kjellen and Derry singer-songwriter William Carson (aka Williem Vincent). The day of the festival will also see his new acoustic album released.

Described by The Guardian as 'One of the stand-up hits of the decade', sassy comedian Luisa Omielan will provide the laugh with extracts from her shows ‘What Would Beyonce Do?’ and her current hit ‘Am I Right Ladies?’.

Bookworms will have plenty to choose from too, with true-crime writer Tony Thompson, acclaimed author Garbhan Downey and poet Jenni Doherty comprising a hearty literary line-up.

So much culture under one roof will be enough to work up quite an appetite, but lucky help is at hand from award-winning chef, writer and food historian Emmett McCourt and Cameron Carter, whose restaurant The Wheathill was named Best Ulster Newcomer at the Irish Restaurant Awards 2016. Both will be serving up delightful dishes throughout the day.

The capacity of Jewel Box Festival is limited to just 300. Those keen to attend are instructed to email with their name, telephone number and the number of places required, and organisers will be in touch with further information. Stay up to date with the festival at