Launched on Monday evening by Minister Jimmy Deenihan, the 37th Westport Arts Festival is under way. Providing its typically quirky and diverse line-up of acts, it spans two full weeks this year, from October 1 to 14, with something on offer for all ages and tastes. If you are looking for something to do this weekend there is lots to chose from.
A series of classic films will run from Friday October 6 to Thursday October 11 at Westport Cineplex. The programme offers a nostalgic choice of box office hits suitable for all the family, a treasure trove of musicals from the history of cinema, and pioneering movies for dedicated followers of the art of film.
On Friday night The Baah Band perform their fusion of Indian classical music, tangled with bluegrass and driven by pulsating acoustic and electric rhythms, and infused with ethereal vocals in the Eastern and Irish traditions.
Saturday sees the return of To Hell or To Connaught – a raucous mini-festival with two stages. Gracy’s Bar will be rocking from two in the afternoon until the small hours with more than a dozen bands from the metal, rock, and punk genres.
Also on Saturday night, the festival will feature a live dance music night, headlining Le Galaxie – one of the best Irish bands in the genre - with new two-piece Ships playing in support.
Sunday afternoon will offer a classical option with violinist Catherine Leonard and pianist Hugh Tinney playing Holy Trinity Church at 4pm. And if you feel like a dance afterwards, there will be a Scottish ceilidh in the Wyatt Hotel at 8pm. No prior ceilidh experience is necessary – you will be guided through easy, fun, steps in accompaniment to Antrim-based five-piece folk band Hast to the Wedding.
For one night only, Fishamble present the award-winning Silent, which is currently wowing audiences on its extensive international tour. Catch Pat Kinevane’s intense performance in Scoil Padraig at 8pm this Sunday.
Award-winning novelist, playwright and poet, Dermot Healy will host a workshop on Short Story Writing on Saturday morning. He will also give a poetry reading at the announcement of winners of the first Westport Arts Festival Poetry Competition on Friday evening.
On Saturday, Custard Pie Puppet Company will present two performances of their unique adaptation of Punch and Judy. Bringing a carnival-like atmosphere to the party, their interactive approach creates a memorable and fun experience.
Also on Saturday, The Cove Youth Café will offer Nelsons Mandala – a performance art-piece from 2pm to 6pm. On Sunday, Carmel Balfe will present a puppet making workshop in Holy Trinity National School.
Later in the week
There will be more music and theatre on offer. Check out westportartsfestival.com for full details. Or find it on facebook.com/WestportArts or @WestoportArts on Twitter. Tickets on sale online or from the box office on Brewery Lane.