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Local talent gets showcase at spectacular Open Ear festival

May 30th, 2024 7:00 AM

Local talent gets showcase at spectacular Open Ear festival Image
One of the sandy beaches on Sherkin Island.

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LOCAL talent will be celebrated on this year’s Open Ear Festival on Sherkin Island over the bank holiday weekend with a special Thursday night featuring musical artists from the island.

The Open Ear Festival returns to Sherkin Island on the June Bank Holiday Weekend from May 30th to June 2nd.

This will be the sixth staging of the event over the past eight years, and is their most ambitious and island-wide edition yet.
Open Ear champions musicians and artists from the fringes and underground of Ireland’s experimental and electronic music worlds.

The organisers of the festival do not hail from Sherkin Island but have strived to make more of a connection with the area.

‘The islanders have always made us feel so welcome, and we try to respect that and respect that this is where they live,’ said Dion Doherty of Open Ear's organisers.

As part of that ethos, a special night will take place on Thursday May 30th in the Jolly Roger on Sherkin Island with a range of musicians from Sherkin Island performing on the night.

With backing from Creative Places West Cork Islands, the event will be entirely free and ferries will be available to bring attendees to and from the island for what promises to be a special night.

There will be 11 residents performing on the Thursday night bill. One of these is Juno Cheetal aka Flowers at Night, a talented and emerging electronic artist who hails from Sherkin.

The Sherkin Resident’s Party also features Bridgid Madden, Daniel & Mike O’Connor, John Simpson, Ken Cotter, Paddy Marshall, Paddy Comerford & Orla, and Shanti.

There will be a special guest performance from Mohammad Syfkhan, a Syrian Kurd folk musician living in Leitrim who has recently released his debut album ‘I am Kurdish’ to local and international acclaim. ‘Mohammad is an amazing artist,’ said Dion. ‘I think that with Ukrainian population living now on Sherkin there is a special significance too of Mohammad, a Syrian Kurd, performing there.’

This is the first edition of the festival since June 2022 and is the most ambitious edition of Open Ear yet.

The main stage is on the North Shore but this year will see the festival traverse the island using a variety of spaces to host performances.

A Sunday ticket is also on offer, which will give access to an adventure across Sherkin with concerts in the Franciscan Abbey, St Mona’s Church, Silver Strand, Banger Cliff and The Secret Beach, with music from lunchtime until right into Monday morning. The Sunday programme features performance art, sound experiments, music and dancing, as well as a performance from da Googie of Irish rock royalty My Bloody Valentine.

Open Ear has focused on Irish talent but this year will include an international element, from the likes of Bristol artist Ossia, and Italian duo Wisecrack. And its not just attracting international

‘Most of the people attending to the festival are coming Dublin but we get a lot of people locally too and I know a lot of people coming from Schull and Skibbereen for the festival. But we are also expecting people from the UK, from France and Italy to attend this year,’ said Dion.

‘Sherkin is such a beautiful and incredible place, and a unique place for a music festival. There is nothing else like it.’

For the first time Open Ear  will have a proper, dedicated quiet campsite. It will be situated a seven-minute walk from the main festival site and directly across from the stunning Silver Strand beach

Open Ear has also launched its inaugural Open Ear Graduate Award for emerging artists studying on the BA Visual Art Degree Programme on Sherkin Island.

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