Westival lineup takes sparkling shape

Going Out


Ciara Moynihan

Westival, one of the oldest music and arts festival in the land, has launched its 2022 programme of events. Enlivening the streets and spirits of Westport for close to 50 years, this year it will once again showcase an increasingly diverse art-scene with music, theatre, film, spoken word, visual arts and more.
This year’s theme, ‘Direction-Forward’ – a term coined by a friend of the festival, poet performer Felispeaks – is symbolic of a reenergised community and the return to live events after the restrictions of Covid. The theme also touches on an exciting new era for festival programmers, in an increasingly diverse music and arts scene in Ireland.
The organisers are looking forward to once again welcoming all to this legacy arts festival, carrying on the torch of borne by an inclusive and passionate community of creatives and volunteers for years.
The Chair of Westival Board, Eugene Dowd, spoke about this year’s festival, saying: ‘Westival has a legacy of almost 50 years. During this time, community organisers have steadily built a unique offering here in the town of Westport; a celebration of creativity and art in a very special part of the world.
“We are so proud to be bringing together our team of both established and new faces, a collaboration that will drive our Direction-Forward for years to come… We hope people will come and try something new.”
Festival Manager, Sarah Byrne added that she’s ‘delighted’ to have joined Westival in her role this year. “As a recent blow-in to the town, and performer myself,  it’s a joy to bring a diverse programme of incredible musicians and artists to Westport, and build on the amazing work done by the Westival team and community,” she said.

This year’s musical highlights come from Camille O’Sullivan, Elaine Mai and friends, Houseplants, Michael Gallen, Patrick Dexter, Brian Lennon, and I Have A Tribe, among others.
Other community-based happenings include: a performance by the community choir, writers events, art and music workshops and readings; all representative of the brilliant sense of community and friendship that exists in Westport – this truly aims to be a festival for all. Events will happen in venues all around the town of Westport, including The Mariner, The Custom House Studios and Gallery, McGing’s pub, Grove House, Westport Town Hall Theatre,
The visual arts offering will include an exhibition of work by Westport artist Sheelyn Browne , entitled ‘Pressing on’ – a reaction to Lockdown, and inspired by the general state of mind at the time, capturing everything from dryrobed sea swimmers to the loneliness and longing embodied in a heron treading water.  Also slated to exhibit are Mike Bernard and John Brady, whos show will be hung in the Custom House Gallery – a joint show that sees the artists exhibit together for the first time since 2002.
Westport Town Hall Theatre will host a 12-artist West Ink Society of Artist Printmakers group show, ‘Print Matters’ – comprised of works exploring a wide variety themes using a range of techniques, including  etching, drypoint, collagraph, mezzotint,  monoprint, lino- and woodcut. The artists involved are Breda Burns, V R Gibbons, Áine Gallagher, Claire Griffin, Caroline Masterson, Bruce Mathieson, Ann O’Mahony, Owen Piffaretti, Susie Quinn, Benita Stoney, Sinead Wall and Michelle Webb.  
Theatre buffs young and old will be delighted by the staging of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s darkly comic tale ‘A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings’, as well as the interactive show ‘Juanita’s Talk’. Adult audiences will enjoy ‘cult cabaret sensations’ Bourgeois & Maurice, one of the UK’s most subversive and innovative musical acts.
Tertulia bookshop on The Quay will be hosting a slew of writing-related events, with a night of poetry and music with Geraldine Mitchell and Tim Rogers, and debates exploring such themes as underrepresented voices in Irish literature.
With a programme wide enough to include everything from ukelele workshops to a Kate Bush tribute night, Westival looks as though it has once again pulled together six days of top-class eclectic entertainment for all, with plenty of sparkle to brighten the shorter days and long evenings of halloween.

Westival will run from October 26 to 31. All events will be ticketed and are available to book online at westival.ie.