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Stars' feelgood factor for Bantry

September 15th, 2016 7:11 AM

By Southern Star Team

Fr Liam Lawton will be appearing in Bantry at the Maritme Hotel as part of the town's Feelgood Festival in October.

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A GALAXY of stars will light up Bantry for this year’s Feelgood Festival.

Singing priest Liam Lawton, broadcaster Evelyn Grant and world-renowned musician Mel Mercier will headline a sparkling programme of events during International World Mental Health Week next month.

The songwriter priest will perform with the Bantry Community Choir and the award-winning Seoda Chamber Choir at a ‘Live Life and Sing’ concert, hosted by Lyric FM’s Evelyn Grant at Bantry’s Maritime Hotel on Friday, October 14th.

Professor Mel Mercier, chair of performing arts at Limerick University’s Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, will also launch the West Cork Gamelan Ensemble at the start of a week aimed at brightening the lives of those touched by mental health issues. And, in case you didn’t know, the gamelan is an array of Indonesian percussion instruments like cymbals, chimes and gongs.

Bantry will be bursting with the feelgood factor following a programme of exciting activities targeting wellness and the many things that make us feel good.

‘There are many aspects of mental health that can leave people feeling helpless and isolated. We are here to help and we know that little things matter,’ said Kevin O’Shanahan, a clinical nurse specialising in mental health and the arts for West Cork Mental Health Services.

He explains that medication is but a small part of helping people feel better about themselves, and just about anything can help, from making a cup of tea to getting out gardening, singing a song or picking up a paintbrush. That’s why this year’s festival is a shop window of events for people to try, experience and maybe take further.

Bantry’s Feelgood Festival on Friday and Saturday, October 14th and 15th, will include open door music sessions, face painting, dance groups, fitness sessions and a ‘come and try’ sports session. For the Saturday Feelgood Parade, people are invited to dress however they like in the theme colours of blue and orange. Kids can even show off their Halowe’en costumes.

West Cork Big Sing, whose motto is ‘singing for community well-being,’ will host public workshops in Bantry, Mealagh Valley, Glengarriff, Durrus and Castletownbere in the weeks leading up to The Big Sing event in Bantry Square on the Saturday. ‘The aim is to provide participants with the opportunity to learn songs in advance, meet others in their locality, bring awareness to the benefits of singing and to encourage community participation in The Big Sing,’ said organiser Caz Jeffreys.

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