Atlantic Sessions 2017

Cafes, restaurants, hotels, pubs, coffee shops and music venues across Portrush, Portstewart and Portballintrae will be lit up with gigs from the finest performers across Northern Ireland

Festival Details


Monday, 16 October 2017 to Thursday, 19 October 2017

Following the sell-out success of Atlantic Sessions in 2016 and its 2017 NI Tourism Award, Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council will be bringing Atlantic Sessions back to the Causeway Coast from 16 – 19 November. Over 60 of Northern Ireland’s finest musicians will perform live in coffee shops, hotels, restaurants, music venues and bars across the four days. Visitors will have an opportunity to see high profile artists in an intimate setting, with the stunning Atlantic as a backdrop. Each artist will play their own music for one hour, and this will form a music trail across the resorts of Portstewart, Portrush and Portballintrae. It offers a platform for emerging talent as well as established artists from across Northern Ireland an opportunity to bring their music beyond urban hubs.

Now in its ninth year and firmly established in the music calendar, Atlantic Sessions is delighted to be working in partnership with Bushmills Irish Whiskey and Tourism Ireland for the first time. Colum Egan, Master Distiller at Bushmills Irish Whiskey commented:

'The Old Bushmills Distillery was granted a licence to distil over 400 years ago, and since then has been richly contributing to the North Coast, so this partnership with Atlantic Sessions is particularly meaningful. Bushmills also has a strong heritage in providing authentic and enjoyable experiences for music lovers and whiskey drinkers alike. Most recently, the #AnswerTheCall campaign, with its eclectic event series, has been celebrating and sharing the stories of local talent from musicians, craftsmen, entrepreneurs and adventurers, making this partnership with Atlantic Sessions the perfect pairing. We look forward to welcoming both festival-goers and the rostered talent in November to experience a taste of North Coast hospitality.'

Welcoming the return of the much anticipated music festival, the Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Councillor Joan Baird OBE said:

'Our awards success, coupled with this high profile support, makes it a very exciting time for the event. I’m delighted that this year’s festival coincides with Causeway Coast and Glens Restaurant Week which runs from November 11 – 19, so there has never been a better time to visit. We look forward to welcoming you all to what will be one of the highlights of our autumn offering.'

The festival is delivered by Snow Water, and its Director Carolyn Mathers commented:

'Northern Ireland is extraordinary in the richness of its artistic talent and Atlantic Sessions is a perfect opportunity to showcase our creative energy. This year we will feature a series of new collaborations exclusively for the festival, six of the NI Music Prize 2017 nominees, EP and Single launches, specially curated gigs such as Ryan Vail’s Laser Show at the Arcadia and Ralph McLean’s Sunday Brunch, plus DJ sets from Joe Lindsay and Phil Taggart. Audiences will have an opportunity to witness our finest singer-songwriters partner together in intimate environments and we’re delighted that interest in Northern Ireland’s music scene is stronger than ever.'

Headline Events

Thursday 16th November
 will perform a very special show accompanied by the Prima Quartet, bringing lush strings to their already big sound. MTV have used two of their tracks in 'Teen Wolf' and 'Awkward' while their track 'The Few and Far Between' was used for the NI Tourism Discover Northern Ireland TV advertising campaign. Supported by ROE and Sam Wickens.



Friday 17th November
Three of NI’s finest singer-songwriters - Joshua Burnside, Rory Nellis and Gareth Dunlop - will headline the Friday night showcase with their full bands. ‘Rumbling, brooding, powerful, magnetic’ - The Irish Times (Joshua Burnside) 'Owing somewhat to Nick Drake via Nick Cave, Nellis’ blend of heady folk and singer-songwriter charisma is often dark, witty and always captivating.' – (Rory Nellis) "Gareth drew me into his experience…he’s the real deal.” – John Oates (Hall & Oates) (Gareth Dunlop). The bands will be followed by ‘Snake Eyes’, a night of whiskey soaked music from DJ Joe Lindsay.

Saturday 18th November
Grammy Nominee and double Ivor Novello Award Winner, Iain Archer will play an intimate gig. Iain received his first Ivor co-writing Snow Patrol's breakthrough album Final Straw, including the Number 1 hit single ‘Run’.

Ryan Vail will bring a full Laser A/V show to Portrush and will light up the Arcadia both inside and out. It features custom built LED lighting and 3D Video Mapping to create a full audio visual experience that will be a treat for the senses. His 2016 debut album 'For Every Silence' was album of the week for The Irish Times and Huw Stephens on Radio One.

Saturday will showcase three incredible bands together for the first time: The Emerald Armada, The Holy Innocents and Brand New Friend. 'They are wonderful live, all soaring harmonies and cheeky banter" Whatstheruckus Magazine, London (Emerald Armada); "A wonderful homegrown amalgam of rootsy country, rock and country rock' Americana UK (The Holy Innocents); Brand New Friend have been playing incendiary shows across Ireland, including Electric Picnic, Independence and Radio One’s One Big Weekend.  'This young Castlerock four-piece are arguably the most talked about new band in the entire country' - Irish Daily Mirror (Brand New Friend).

The night will culminate with a DJ set from Radio One’s Phil Taggart.

The Emerald Armada

The Emerald Armada

Sunday 19th November
BBC’s Ralph McLean has curated this year’s Sunday Brunch and it will feature Malojian, Mandy Bingham and Paddy Nash. 'Together Stevie, Mandy and Paddy should make for a very special brunch indeed. I hope you can join me for a little musical magic.' Ralph McLean Glenn Patterson and Neil Martin will make their north coast debut - these two artists co-created last year the highly-acclaimed and award-nominated – Long Story Short: The Belfast Opera. For this unique performance they draw on their extensive individual repertoires - words and music on humour and love and loss and dismay and hope and wonderment.

Brand New Friend

Brand New Friend

In addition to the headline events, music trails with FREE GIGS will run across the four days and will include performances from Amanda St John, Amy Montgomery, Anthony Toner, Bowana, Brigid O’Neill, Cup O Joe, Emer Maguire, Eilidh Patterson, Edele McMahon, Gerry Norman, Junior Johnston, Larks, Lauren Bird, Michael Mormecha, Matt McGinn, Roe, Runabay, Sam Wickens, Simon Murphy, Stephen McCartney, Teddy Charles Jnr, Toni Whitten, Tom McShane, VerseChorusVerse, Wanderers, Sam Wickens and the Wood Burning Savages.