Portaferry Sails and Sounds Festival

Inaugural maritime and music festival featuring four days of classic boating events, live performances and family fun

Festival Details


Thursday, 16 June 2016 to Sunday, 19 June 2016

One of the highlights of the inaugural Portaferry Sails and Sounds Festival is the gala concert in the newly restored and re-opened Portico Arts venue, from the combined talents of Brian Kennedy and McPEAKE on Saturday, June 18.

Brian maintains that ‘music is the language of emotion,’ and after all his years working with Van Morrison he prizes the live gig above all else. Seeing and hearing is the only way to experience this national treasure of a man.

Twenty five years later and Brian is only getting started. Multi-platinum selling singer-songwriter and highly regarded radio/television presenter, Doctor of Letters from University of Ulster, a published author not surprisingly for a lyricist of his calibre'. Brian has recently released The Essential Collection CD - 32 brand new recordings from the past and present including a duet with Boy George.

McPEAKE are a four-piece folk-rock band from Belfast. The band's music nods to the past generations of the iconic McPeake Family but has journeyed now to new territory and created their own sound. Their unique blend of indie, folk and Irish music attracts widely diverse audiences and a global following.

Audiences are drawn in by McPEAKE’s live performances, from their heart- pumping instrumentals to heart-stirring lyrics. The innovative use of McPEAKE’s traditional instruments, coupled with contemporary songwriting, creates a startling new perspective on an old musical genre.

The four generations of the McPeake Family have been whispered as ‘folk-royalty.’ Their beloved song 'Wild Mountain Thyme' has been on the lips of music lovers across the globe. This hauntingly beautiful folk anthem has been covered by music superstars such as Ed Sheeran, the late Glen Frey (The Eagles), Rod Stewart and Bob Dylan, to name but a very few.

Francis McPeake I, penned 'Wild Mountain Thyme'; Francis McPeake II influenced Van Morrison, Pete Seeger and Bob Dylan; Francis McPeake III taught John Lennon the Uilleann Pipes; and now Francis McPeake IV has formed the new band McPEAKE which appeared in the Emmy Award-winning PBS Special Music of Ireland.

The Sails and Sounds Festival which will be held over four days from June 16 to 19 and will include a classic boat regatta, skiff rowing, special meals in restaurants, music sessions around town, family cinema, storytelling, street clowns and kids entertainment, market stalls and vintage cars/motor cycles on show.