Festival marking 100 years of arts

Ballymena Town Hall. Editorial image.
Ballymena Town Hall. Editorial image.

100 years of culture will be celebrated by some superb performers at Ballymena Festival’s centenary concert in the Braid Arts Centre next month.

The concert, on Saturday February 13 promises to be a very entertaining and varied event.

1916 marked the beginning of a hundred years of music, speech and dance at the festival.

The centenary audience will be entertained by past and current musical and vocal performers alongside exponents of Irish and Modern dance.

Among the past performers will be The Priests, Frs Eugene and Martin O’Hagan and David Delargy. As boarders at Garron Tower in the 1970s, the internationally renowned artists have fond memories of their annual visit to perform in the old Town Hall where the festival was held for decades.

Also taking to the stage will be Allie Ford, ‘Dympna’ from Give My Head Peace, who enjoyed her many youthful appearances as a successful competitor at the festival. The distinguished soprano Rachel Thompson (nee Mol), who sings with Anuna, the group which accompanied the international sensation, River Dance, will also perform.

Two young and hugely talented musicians, Eva Richards (cello) and Stephen Rankin (flute) will entertain the centenary concert-goers. Both have won the Northern Ireland Young Musician of the Year Award, and are now continuing their music studies in England and Scotland.

The Nine Glens School of Irish Dancing from Martinstown will display their considerable skills, and members of the Ballymena Dance Academy will delight the audience with their contemporary dance, synchronised tap dance and lyrical ballet routines.

Traditional music will be represented by the highly talented McCloskey Family from Portglenone. Generations of this family have participated in the festival and many of them have won All-Ireland medals.

Tickets are currently on sale on the website ballymenafestival.org.uk, and from the box office at the Braid Centre. For further information please check out the website ballymenafestival.org.uk