Kilkenny Arts Festival – a beginners guide
Arts festivals. It might seem like there’s one in every corner of Ireland these days. Often fantastic bringing a huge range of local and international talent to a stage near you but for anyone who feels like they’re not much of a “culture vulture” it might be completely alienating. That’s how I felt before I threw myself into my first Absolut Fringe Festival three years ago and have been hooked since.
The Kilkenny Arts Festival is a little over a week away (August 5th – 14th) so I thought it might help put together a beginners guide to the festival. Whether you haven’t been to a gig in years or the only theatre you’ve seen lately is the school nativity, fret not and read on.
Step 1: Open the programme
If you can get your mits on a printed programme, brilliant. Now arm yourself with your favourite biro and a notepad. If you haven’t a printed programme click here to see the online version. Yes it’s big and a bit overwhelming but bear with me!
Step 2: What’s your poison?
Into music? Jump to page 15 or click here. There’s a healthy dollop of jazz and even within that there’s plenty of choice from TrioVD to Barry Guy & Evan Parker. Looking for something more delicate? You won’t go wrong with James Vincent McMorrow, Luka Bloom & Friends or Gemma Hayes with Ann Scott.
If classical music is more up your street then you’re spoiled for choice with a whole section of the programme dedicated to it alone. Flick to page 6 or click here for the listings. An array of Irish and foreign artists are bringing a plethora of performances to Kilkenny – strings duos and trios, a harpsichord soloist, pianists and entire orchestras. If you’re after something especially atmospheric many of these performances are taking place in St. Canice’s Cathedral, check the individual listings for details. Can’t choose from it all? Maybe check out Kaleidescope which promises to be a fun and casual affair with a programme going from Baroque to contemporary material with some of Europe’s top musicians.
Bit of drama more your thing? Flick to page 2 or click here. Cork’s much celebrated Corcadorca present ‘Request Programme‘ an intense production set “on location” in an apartment in Kilkenny city. For something lighter with a musical injection consider Beowulf- A Thousand Years of Baggage.
For lovers of the written word there’s a host of writers heading to Kilkenny this year for interviews, readings and discussions including Michael Longley, John Banville and Professor Morgan Kelly to name but a handful. A full list of events starts on page 34 or can be found by clicking here.
Step 3: So I’ve found one or two things I’d like to see. What next?
Book your tickets as soon as possible.
You can do so online on the festival website, over the phone by calling +353 (0) 56 775 2175 or in person at the festival box office at 93 High Street. There are a number of great value ticket bundle deals available so check either the print or online programme to see what’s available. If you’re planning to travel to Kilkenny check out the accommodation and ticket deals available and get booking as soon as you can as it can prove to be difficult and expensive to secure somewhere to stay in Kilkenny at this time of the year particularly on the weekends.
Still not sure there’s anything there for you?
Let the ‘Help Me Choose‘ robot on the festival website guide you. Aside from the above there’s plenty visual arts, street performances, crafts and children’s events also going in in the city. That or maybe give one of the shows below a shot.
If you go to only one show in the Kilkenny Arts Festival this year, take a chance on one of these. I’ve got a hunch each will be a bit special in their own way.
- Request Programme
- Beowulf – A Thousand Years of Baggage
- James Vincent McMorrow (St. Canice’s Cathedral)
- Luka Bloom & Friends
- Cashell Trio
- John Banville writing as Benjamin Black
Don’t knock it till you try it. See you down there
For all our coverage leading up to and during the festival keep an eye on the site or browse all our KAF2011 posts at yay.ie/tag/kilkenny-arts-festival