Festival in a Van ready for Fingal tour

by Rose Barrett
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Fingal County Council and Creative Ireland team up with Festival in a Van for a 6-day, 12-stop tour of Fingal County bringing music, poetry, dance and joy right to your door for midsummer!  June 21st – 30th

In a new collaboration with Fingal County Council, Festival in a Van gets on the road again this June for a six-day tour called Sounds Like Summer: Fingal Festival in a Van to celebrate this year’s summer solstice and create mid-summer joy with local communities in the area – bringing music, spoken word, and dance to every corner of Fingal. Taking place over six days during the last two weekends of June, this tour is a free, open air, open-to-all celebration of Fingal’s community spirit and creativity.   

With the festival landing like a celestial ship on the front door of many of Fingal’s diverse communities, audiences are invited to bring their own picnic blanket, slap on the sunscreen, and enjoy some of Ireland’s best talent who were born or are based in Fingal County, including artists such as Jyellowl, Niamh Bury, Paula Meehan, and Asha Ari, plus many more. Locations include Lusk, Blanchardstown, Baldoyle, and more towns, villages, and neighbourhoods across the county.  

From housing estates to public parks to community gardens to refugee accommodation, all are welcome to participate in the festivities. Get the summer going with the Fingal Festival in a Van!  

Amongst the performers for this inaugural summer series with Creative Fingal and Festival in a Van is the Choice Music-nominated (2020) (for his debut album 2020 DIVision) Nigerian-Irish rapper Jyellowl (Jean-Luc Adenrele Ibrahim Koko Uddoh). With his Irish roots set in Blanchardstown, his music was featured in the video game FIFA 20 and on the hit TV show Normal People; he also appeared on BBC Three’s Rap Trip. He was selected to compete in the Irish National Final for the 2024 Eurovision Song Contest with his song “Judas”, ultimately coming fifth in the competition.

Another is Niamh Bury who is quickly becoming one of the hottest commodities in the Irish folk scene, where she had shared stages with the likes of Ye Vagabonds, Martin Hayes, and Cinder Well in recent times. From Portmarnock, Bury honed her craft by busking on the streets of Dublin for many years, and recently released her debut album Yellow Roses.

One of Ireland’s most prominent living poets, Paula Meehan joins the Van with her award-winning work, which is known for its wit and attention to craft. Her poems have been put to music by composers and songwriters including Christy Moore. Her poetry has been extensively published in translation, including substantial collections in French and German. She has written plays for both adults and children and she has published six original collections of poetry, the most recent, The Solace of Artemis, in 2024. 

Named as Hot Press Magazine’s Hot For in 2023, Asha Ari is a half Ghanaian, half Irish singer-songwriter, who grew up in Blanchardstown. She has been actively performing in the Dublin music scene since her teens, and has released many singles and impactful music videos, as well as an EP entitled Freedom.Her music combines elements of Pop, Soul, and R&B to create uniquely catchy and relatable songs. Her songwriting inspirations stem from growing up bi-racial, self-love, believing in yourself, spreading positivity and being true to oneself. Ultimately Ari’s music aims to bring people together, making her the perfect performer for Sounds Like Summer: Fingal Festival in a Van, which plans to do the same for all the different communities across Fingal. 

This midsummer series takes place from Fri 21 June – Sun 23 June, and again from Fri 28 June – Sun 30 June. For full locations and details, visit www.festivalinavan.com

Since 2020 Festival in a Van has democratised access to the arts by delivering high-quality inclusive performances around Ireland. A trad session in the town square, a classical concert on the green, Shakespeare at schools, craic at care homes, and poets proclaiming in parks… Festival in a Van tours nationwide, bringing the magic of live performance to the parts and places other venues cannot reach.

Festival in a Van’s Director, Elizabeth Mohen says: “We can’t underestimate how free and truly accessible arts performances have the power to not only transform lives, but to save them. Working closely with Creative Fingal and the Community Office at Fingal County Council, this unique Festival in a Van tour will ensure that everyone feels genuinely welcome within the fold of Ireland’s rich cultural life. We can’t wait to see the special moments created across different generations and communities through the energy – and, most of all, the fun! – of top-tier live performance.”

Initially an idea to keep music, poetry and theatre alive during Covid, Festival in a Van tours the country to provide a vital cultural link for all those throughout Ireland whose access to the arts may be limited, for whatever reason. Festival in a Van is supported by Creative Ireland, the Arts Council of Ireland and Ireland’s Local Authority Network.

EVENT DATES:

Friday June 21st

  • 1pm – Prosper Fingal & Swords – Intellectual Disability Community
  • Performances from Tony Curtis (from Balbriggan) and Trish Reilly.
  • 4pm – Matt Lane Traveller site, Balbriggan
  • Performances by Trish Reilly, and more to be announced.

Sat June 22nd

  • 2PM: Rolestown (small village on road to Ashbourne)
  • 6pm – Millennium Park Blanchardstown
  • *Both Performances by Asha Ari (from Blanchardstown) and Sophie Meehan (based in Balbriggan)

Sun June 23rd

  • 1pm – Lusk Bandstand
  • 4.30pm – Skerries – Floraville Public Park
  • *Both performances by Hazel Hogan and Niamh Bury (from Portmarnock)

Friday June 28th

  • 11am – Balseskin
  • 4pm – Dun Saithne Estate in Balbriggan
  • *Both performances by Kiruu (from Balgriffan) and Rhythm Africana (dance performance – Michael is based in Mulhuddart)

Saturday June 29th

  • 1pm – Dromheath Estate (celebrating 40 years)
  • 5pm – Corduff Community Resource Centre
  • *Both performances by Trudie Gorman (from Mulhuddart) and Jyellowl (from Blanchardstown)

Sunday June 30th

  • 1pm – Deerpark Ukrainian Centre near Howth Castle
  • *Performances by Maryna Odolska and Indeceltic
  • 5pm – Baldoyle Community Garden
  • *Performances by Paula Meehan (based in Baldoyle) and IndeCeltic 

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