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28 Nov 2021

Magee on Music: New hope with return of Stendhal Festival

Music festival at Stendhal - something to be proud of

Magee on Music: New hope with return of Stendhal Festival

Stendhal was a huge success when it returned earlier this year.

I was going to save this appreciation to later and write about the Northern Ireland Music Prize this week, but I’ll wait to the results come out before I lay into that farce. Although if Hannah Peel loses both the NI Music Prize AND The Mercury Music Prize you can safely assume that the Irish music scene has imploded.

Incidentally, Andrew McGibbon’s Northern Gothic was the best album released in the last year, including re-released eps, Waldorf & Cannon’s We Are Your Government was the best single.

There haven’t been any new bands apparently to contend with nor was there any live acts to mention…but were there in 2020? Anyway. Stendhal. For some unknown reason people tend to review bands at festivals and neglect the organisation.

John once said: “The first festival back felt a bit magical. Before the event, setting up it felt like the whole place (and the team) were sitting simmering to deliver something very special.

“Everyone who turned out, be it artists/audiences or crew, just got into the spirit of what it was and how much it meant after a long 18 months. July’s instalment of Stendhal Festival was a success on several different levels.

"From finally being allowed to provide artists a live platform to a captivated responsive crowd, bringing much needed economic benefit to the local area which depends so much on tourism, to helping find a way forward for the events industry in a post pandemic environment. The team at  Stendhal  have again done the event proud in their endeavours to find a balance in providing a safe yet welcoming environment.

“On a personal note, being able to see the excitement of the artists, festival heads and families over the course of the weekend brought a smile to my face”.

And Colm O’Donnell once added “After a long 18 months, July’s instalment of  Stendhal  Festival was a success on a number of different levels. From finally being allowed to provide artists a live platform to a captivated responsive crowd, bringing much needed economic benefit to the local area which depends so much on tourism, to helping find a way forward for the events industry in a post pandemic environment. With those in attendance noticeably enjoying the return of live music to the farm, it’s made the work behind the scenes worthwhile.

“The team at  Stendhal  have again done the event proud in their endeavours to find a balance in providing a safe yet welcoming environment. On a personal note, being able to see the excitement of the artists, festival heads and families over the course of the weekend definitely brought a smile to my face.”

Following their ambitious endeavour in producing two covid compliant music festivals in 2021, Stendhal Festival has announced that it will be returning to the one festival format in 2022 and that their one festival will begin on the very last day of June (the 30th), running to July 2nd.

The two smaller events which instigated numerous social distancing protocols combined to create the largest gathering of tents at a music festival anywhere in Ireland in 2021 and with that experience under their belts, the team behind the multi-award- winning event have decided that the best way to try and get back to normality is to press forward with one larger event for approximately 10,000 people.

Festival Director Ross Parkhill explained: “Despite the difficulties, the uncertainties and all the additional rules and regulations we had to impose, both events in 2021 went off really well and people really worked incredibly well with us to ensure that was the case.

“Running two events provided big challenges for us but happily, as always, our amazing team rose to the occasion twice and more people camped at a music festival at Stendhal than anywhere else on the Island of Ireland this year, something we can really be proud of.”

Ross continued: “Going forward though, to continue with the model of two smaller events would not be practical for us and we are confident that people are a bit more confident themselves now about returning to large scale outdoor gigs, as witnessed at a number of events in Belfast throughout September.

“With that in mind, with the eradication of social distancing rules for outdoor spaces and with plenty of lessons learned from our events in 2021, we are confident that we can return to our usual event set up in 2022 and safely welcome over 10,000 patrons to the farm once again.”

Super Saver Early bird tickets for Stendhal 2022 will be on sale on October 29thth at 1pm and will be available until January 5th, when the organisers are hoping to make their first batch of line-up announcements.

“By moving the event forward by about 6 weeks we have to hit the ground running,” added Ross, “we also don’t have any major uncertainties about if we can run or not next year so expect us to have plenty of info regrading Stendhal 2022 out early in the new year, when we will also be opening our annual artists submission process.”

For tickets and more info regarding Stendhal Festival 2022, visit www.stendhalfestival.com

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