posted on July 31st, 2018


Open House Festival intern Candice O’Reilly is ready for a month of gigs, events and festivities in Bangor-by-the-sea.

The seaside town of Bangor Co. Down is getting ready for the hottest month on its calendar when the sixth annual Open House Festival begins on Wednesday 1st August.

Throughout the 31 days of August, Open House will host 144 music, literary, food & drink, theatre, film and art events in and around the town.

The first big weekend sees The Waterboys return to Bangor 30 years after their last appearance in the town – this time playing an open-air concert on the seafront, overlooking the marina. This is the first of three large outdoor concerts on the seafront during the month. American/Icelandic singer-songwriter, John Grant, plays on Sunday 19thAugust, with support from acclaimed singer and electronic composer, Hannah Peel (who has recently moved to Bangor) as well as the Open House Festival Choir.

On Saturday 25thAugust, punk icon John Lydon, aka Johnny Rotten, brings his band Public Image Ltdto Northern Ireland for the first time, with support from The Undertones, XSLF andThe Outcasts. That afternoon, John will talk to Bangor author and former punk Colin Bateman, in a special interview and Q&A session at the Marine Court Hotel, overlooking the site of the concert.

“We’re thrilled that our three big weekend concerts have attracted so much attention locally, nationally and even globally,” says Festival Director, Kieran Gilmore. “We’ve had tickets bought by people in Canada, America and various European countries, as well as the rest of the UK and Ireland. So this year, Open House Festival is well and truly putting Bangor on the map as an international cultural tourism destination.”

Other headline guests appearing throughout the month include singer-songwriter Lisa Hannigan, former Thin Lizzy guitarist, Eric Bell, the women’s rights activist and great-granddaughter of leading suffragist, Emmeline Pankhurst, DR Helen Pankhurst, and the man in the famous white suit, Martin Bell, OBE. The lineup of top local artists and performers includes King Cedar, aka Stephen Macartney, The Darkling Air, Mandy Bell, daughter of the late David McWilliams who has just launched her debut album, Kitt PhillipaManukahunney Blue, mentalist Joel Mawhinney, comedian Nuala McKeever, authors Patrick Gregg and Emma Heatherington and poet Moyra Donaldson.

“Of course Open House Festival isn’t just about headliners and big concerts,” explains Kieran. “They’re obviously a vital component, but so are our smaller bespoke events like Folk on a Boat, Crossing The Lough – the story of the first person to swim across Belfast Lough, Bangor Rocks – a specially curated music inspired bus tour of the town, and our hugely popular food and drink events.”

More than one third of this year’s events are free, from music gigs to picnics and art exhibitions to workshops, and 75 of all events in the programme finish in time to get the last train back to Belfast. And in a festival first, Translink are running a special pre-book midnight bus to the Europa Buscentre after The Waterboys concert on Friday 3rdAugust.

Open House Festival Bangor 2018 is supported by Ards and North Down Borough Council, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Tourism NI.

For more information and tickets, go to