Armagh goes live with its biggest annual musical bash next month when a stellar line-up of over 50 musical acts flock to (Ireland’s / Northern Ireland’s*) Cathedral City for this year’s 7 Hills Blues Fest.
Firmly established as one of the UK and Ireland’s best blues and roots music events, the iconic festival runs from Thursday 8 August until Sunday 11 August, when the vibrant city of Armagh will again be enveloped with invigorating bluesy summer tones.
With over 20 venues taking part and a busy programme of events – including a Blues Picnic in the Palace Park, BBQ n’ Blues and a mouth-watering street food market at the Shambles Yard, musical workshops and a ‘Blues Special ’ Walking Tour – this annual family-friendly festival is one not to be missed.
From new local talent to established acts and exciting collaborations, this year’s special event features an eye-popping list of live entertainment and top performances – there’s even a special film screening of the Oscar-winning biopic ‘Ray’ at the Market Place Theatre and Arts Centre in celebration of the life of blues king Ray Charles.
Lord Mayor of Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, councillor Mealla Campbell, said: “Armagh’s 7 Hills Blues Fest is renowned for showcasing an eclectic mix of talented musicians from across the British Isles and around the world and is now a firmly-established landmark musical celebration that just gets bigger and bigger.
“From heavyweight blues legends and stars to new, up-and-coming and cutting-edge performers, I’m excited by the scale and the ambition set for this year’s event and by the range of activities that showcase Armagh’s award-winning credentials in hospitality, retail and tourism,” the Lord Mayor said.
This year’s bigger programme features several new musical additions, including Ken Haddock, David King, The Willin’ Fools, the James Grit and Kelle Redmond bands, Copperhead and The Dirt who join over 40 well-established bands, vocalists and performers already credited for making this annual festival an unrivalled success.
Flanked by great blues music, the weekend gets off to a sumptuous start with a Street Food Market at the Shambles Yard at midday on Friday 9 August.
Popular singer/songwriter Kyle Riley takes his ‘Sing to Me’ tour to Armagh Planetarium on Saturday for a special toddler-focused event to warm up the wee ones for a great day out – and a great night’s sleep!
Saturday’s Picnic in the Park in the city’s beautiful Palace Park welcomes back the ever popular The Casino Dixieland Jazz Band and One Horse Pony who will set the musical high notes with some big foot-tapping blues tunes in a beautiful, iconic spot filled with fun and games for everyone to enjoy.
The Shambles Yard plays host to a unique ‘BBQ n’ Blues’ family fun event, promising great food, good craic and blistering summer blues on Sunday 11 August from 1pm until 5pm.
For budding young musicians already out of those toddler years, the team behind Martin Rafferty’s Music School in Armagh will be there to host a series of afternoon workshops.
A ‘Blues Special’ Walking Tour of Armagh’s historic city centre and attractions gets under way from the Visitor Information Centre at 2.30pm on Sunday which will culminate in food and refreshments – including a taste of freshly-squeezed Armagh apple juice.
For more information on all the events, visit www.7hillsblues.com or phone 028 3752 1800.