Bangor’s Old Court House opens its doors

For the first time in a year, Open House Festival Bangor is opening its doors for a series of events – albeit not live ones just yet.

The Florentinas
The Florentinas

The doors in question are of the old Court House on Bangor’s seafront which the charity took possession of last December in the first ever community asset transfer, following a five-year development and fundraising campaign. And the performances, which will be filmed in various rooms inside the building following strict Covid guidelines, are all by artists who are based in the Bangor area – including NI Music Prize nominees, The Darkling Air, up-coming young band The Florentinas, who recently signed a major publishing deal with BMG, and internationally acclaimed author, Colin Bateman.

Funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the Court House Sessions will feature eleven recorded performances lasting from ten to twenty minutes. The sessions will be released in a staggered schedule from Friday February 26 through to mid-March on the Open House YouTube channel, and available to view through the organisation’s website and social media platforms.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for us to show people the interior of the Court House as it stands right now, before the full restoration project begins in April,” said Open House director, Kieran Gilmore. “When planning the project, we felt it was fitting to celebrate the wealth of talent we have on our own doorstep, something we haven’t been able to do for a while! We weren’t able to involve all our local artists, but believe the line-up reflects a strong cross-section of established and emerging musicians and writers. And we look forward to welcoming many more artists and performers to the Court House once the renovation work is completed, and to the festival in general just as soon as we can safely do so.”

As well as Darkling Air, the Florentinas and Colin Bateman, the other participating acts are singer-songwriters Stephen Macartney and Ken Haddock, funk rock band, Aeons, poets Moyra Donaldson and Amy Louise Wyatt, and electronic artists Bríen, Opmst, Gilmore, and the JBR Project with vocalist Ada Storm.