July 6th to 13th 2019

Premiere performance of ground-breaking new project Meascan – Music Across Cultures

Irene Buckley, Raphael Decoster, Bodek Janke, Cathy Jordan, Soof Nikritin, Claudia Schwab

Meascan – Music Across Cultures, a new cross-cultural collaborative work commissioned by Cairde Sligo Arts Festival and funded by The Arts Council premieres at The Factory Performance Space at 8pm this Saturday 6th July.

Six exceptional musicians come together to create a rich, cross-cultural musical experience that explores the merging of a diverse array of musical styles and cultural backgrounds.

The musicians are Irene Buckley (electronics, vocal), Raphael Decoster (accordion and visuals), Bodek Janke (percussion), Cathy Jordan (vocals and percussion), Soof Nikritin (bass), and Claudia Schwab (fiddle, vocals).

A collaboration of folk and contemporary music from Ireland, Austria, Poland, Morocco and France. Meascan celebrates the creation of a new and exciting musical voice.

Listen back to Austrian fiddle player Claudia Schwab and Cathy Jordan (of Dervish) on RTÉ Arena with Seán Rocks 👉 http://bit.ly/ArenaRTE

Don’t miss the opening night concert at Cairde Sligo Arts Festival – Book Tix

Park Fest Line-up and stage times announced

Photo: Peter Martin

Cairde Sligo Arts Festival’s BIG Family Day Out, Sunday 6th July

Family Yoga with Louise Waters (30 min) – 12pm & 12.45pm

Workhouse Studios Dress Up – 12 to 6pm

Art Tent, Rebecca Massey, Sally Donnelly & Kid’s Own – 1pm to 5pm

Fanzini Productions Ballet Poulet – 3.30pm

Aware Aware Aware – 20mins of guided meditation with John G for anyone and everyone – 2pm / 3pm / 4pm

All Day :: Art Installation by Resource Craft Arts Group (Group of artists working at the Northside Resource Centre)

Band Stand

1pm                 The Razor Sharps

1.30pm            Siofra Jordan

2 pm                Grooveline

2.30pm            The Indian Association of Sligo(dance)                                            

2.40 – 3.20      World Disco for Kids with DJ Will Softly

3.20 – 4.00      Break on bandstand for Fanzini Productions

4.15pm            High Hopes Choir

4.35pm            Meascan

5pm                 The Ox Mountain Sessions

5.30pm            Hifi (Tabby Callaghan) -with guest Mabel Chah

Find out more about Park Fest and other Family Events or download our Festival Brochure

Festival Fun for Families at Cairde Sligo Arts Festival 2019

Sligo is set to be hit by a massive culture wave! Streets and venues will be awash with a range of events for all ages this July.

Festival go-ers enjoying the sunshine at Parkfest, Photo: Peter Martin

Our family programme kicks off with Park Fest on Sunday July 7th. This year’s FREE family extravaganza line-up includes music from Grooveline, The Razor Sharps, The Ox Mountain Sessions, Meascan, Tabby Callaghan, Mabel Chah, the High Hopes Choir, and Will Softly’s famous world (or world famous!) disco for children. (View stage-times here)

Coming to Strandhill, Cleite, a piece of mask theatre by Bru Theatre features live Sean Nós songs and is based on superstitions of the old fishing communities of the West of Ireland. Suitable for ages 8 and above, this piece was devised in Katie’s Cottage, Claddagh, and has been fittingly transferred to Dolly’s Cottage in Strandhill for performances at Cairde Sligo Arts festival on Monday 8th and Tuesday 9th July.


Sinead Sexton, Vanya Lambrecht Ward, Joshua Gordon, Nicola Redican and Aoife Maher. Image credit: Carl Brennan

The first ever Cairde Young Curators programme, a major new initiative for those aged between 14 and 21 years, is underway. A panel made up of three young curators, Joshua, Nicola and Aoife, assisted by artist Vanya Lambrecht Ward and co-assisted by artist Sinead Sexton have carefully selected a number of workshops, music and film events for all ages to enjoy at The Nest from Tuesday 9th to Thursday 11th July.

Other family events throughout the week include street theatre with contemporary circus company Fanzini Productions, storytelling and puppet performances in both English and Irish with Puca Puppets, and a wonderful interactive dance performance for 0 to 2 year olds with award-winning Lithuanian theatre company Dansema.

And last but not least Street Fest, a free carnival of curiosities, street performance, and family fun and frolics also returns for 2019 with SPIT, an award-winning, relentlessly ferocious, one-woman circus street show; Siolta Circus, the Wandering Bandstand and Branching out on Saturday, July 13th. You won’t want to miss this!

Browse our full family line-up here or browse through our festival brochure below 👇


2019 Programme Announcement

Inspired by the creative energy of the Northwest, Cairde Sligo Arts Festival is an eight day cultural adventure, featuring a diverse programme of events to ignite the imagination.

At the heart of the programme lies a varied music strand featuring unique collaborations in special locations. Highlights include Meascan:  Music Across Cultures a new cross-cultural collaborative work featuring Claudia Schwab (fiddle, drone vocals), Cathy Jordan (vocals and percussion), Irene Buckley (electronics, vocal), Raphael Decoster (accordion and visuals), Bodek Janke (percussion) and Soof Nikritin (bass).

Two of Ireland’s most distinctive folk voices Lisa O’Neill and Seamus Fogarty will join forces for a double bill promising an evening of rich and compelling original music, as well as a rare chance to see Nina Hynes in the intimate surrounds of Calry Church.

Linking the rhythm of music and water, the beautiful sounds of Tomorrows and Inni-K will both feature as part of the Songs by the Sea programme, a series of intimate concerts in seaside cafés in Sligo; whilst two hugely original acts Farah Elle & KaleidSlam will host a very special night aboard the Rose of Inisfree boat on Sligo’s Lough Gill.

Keeping the sounds going well into the night, there will also be DJ sets with Donal Dineen, Kelly-Anne Byrne and Fish Go Deep amongst others.

New to the Festival, this year sees a powerful literary strand, featuring the first ever Irish event with genre-busting Maggie Nelson, as well as talks and workshops with acclaimed essayist Sinéad Gleeson. Vagabond Verses presents an afternoon of pop-up poetry and performance in venues throughout Sligo town featuring writers and performers including Tess GallagherAlice LyonsAlice Kinsella and more

Throughout the festival, audiences are encouraged to explore Cairde Visual, Cairde Sligo Arts Festival’s sixth annual open submission exhibition in partnership with The Model. This dynamic show features work from both Irish and international artists across a broad range of media.  The winner of the Hamilton Gallery Award at Cairde Visual 2018, Tina Brooks, will also show her solo exhibition, Tidal, throughout the Festival.

The highlight of the theatre programme will be the premiere of Uprooted by Brokentalkers. Developed and performed by a culturally diverse group of community performers living in Sligo, and based on their personal experiences, the darkly comic Uprooted explores the experience of new communities via a competition to decide who is acceptable.

Bru Theatre will present Cleite, a piece of mask theatre inspired by the Claddagh in the West of Ireland, and there will be comedy with John Colleary (The Savage EyeIrish Pictorial Weekly) and Julie Jay (who most recently supported Tommy Tiernan).

Featuring events for young inquisitive minds, the programme includes street circus from the Fanzini Brothers;  children’s theatre shows including Lithuanian Dansema Dance Theatre’s Twinkles – a magical dance show for the very young; the Young Curators Programme season of workshops and events, and the ever popular Park Fest: Cairde Sligo Arts Festival’s BIG Family day out featuring music, theatre, circus; art & craft workshops & delicious food.

Tickets available online or on 071 9161518

View full event listings here or browse the festival event guide below 👇

For more information on Cairde SAF see @CairdeFestival on Twitter and Instagram, or follow @CairdeSligoArtsFestival on Facebook

Follow #SligoArtsFestival on social for more.

Cairde Sligo Arts Festival would like to thank its funders, sponsors and supporters including The Arts Council, Sligo County Council, Sligo BID, Sligo Leader and more.

Bag a Bargain for your Annual Arts Festival

Tuesday, May 14 – The Glasshouse Hotel, 8PM (with viewing from 7.30PM)

Each year Cairde Sligo Arts Festival holds The Big Auction – a fundraising auction, which raises essential funds towards making the festival happen. This always proves to be a great night out with amazing donations, unbelievable bargains and a lot of fun along the way with our auctioneer Niall Canning.

Some of the items for this year’s auction include:

  • A one week stay in an Airbnb in Alicante.
  • A range of incredible artworks by Kate MacDonagh, Michael Wann, Cormac O’Leary, Heidi Wickham, Donal Adams, Emma Stroude, Barra Cassidy, Leonora Neary, and Marilin North.
  • Jewellery and accessories from Cat & The Moon, and Cait & I.
  • Vouchers for Cafés & restaurants.
  • A stay at The Old Rectory Country House.
  • Driving, sailing, screen printing, and beginners Bodhran lessons.
  • A wonderful range of holistic treatments.
  • A myriad of indoor and outdoor activities.
  • Festival and concert tickets.

And much more!

View list of confirmed auction items here with many more items being added daily. Final Catalogue will be posted on Tuesday 🙂

Cairde Sligo Arts Festival is set to return from July 6th to 13th 2019. The week-long event returns to host a stellar lineup of Irish and international musicians, artists and performers in a range of unique and surprising venues and locations across County Sligo.

Speaking ahead of the auction Festival Director Tara McGowan says “We are always blown away by the level of support shown to the festival by local business and individuals. The festival is still run on a voluntary basis; we receive funding from The Arts Council and Sligo County Council but without the fundraising efforts of our committee and the incredible support from local people, the festival could not go ahead.

The Big Auction is always a fun night out and people go home happy, having ‘bagged a bargain’ for themselves whilst supporting the local arts festival –  it’s Win-Win! Niall Canning is our auctioneer and he will bring a great deal of humour to proceedings.”

Cairde Sligo Arts Festival wishes to take this opportunity to thank all of those who donated so generously to this year’s auction.

For more info or to donate please contact Tara McGowan on 0872214079 or tarabmcgowan@gmail.com

First Line-up announcements

Maggie Nelson, Lisa O’Neill & Seamus Fogerty, Craig Ogden and a New Work From Brokentalkers Confirmed For Cairde Sligo Arts Festival

Cairde Sligo Arts Festival (SAF) is set to return this July, with an extended programme of Irish and international writers, musicians, artists and performers. 

Cairde Sligo Arts Festival, 6 – 13 July 2019

Acclaimed author of The Argonauts, American genre-busting writer Maggie Nelson will be making her first ever Irish appearance at the festival, in an event that is sure to be a festival highlight.

Nelson is an award winning poet, critic, scholar and non-fiction writer. Her work forges a new mode of nonfiction that transcends the divide between the personal and the intellectual and renders pressing issues of our time into portraits of day-to-day lived experience. She is the author of nine books, including the National Book Critics Circle Award winner and New York Times bestseller The Argonauts (2015). Maggie Nelson will appear at Cáirde in conversation with Irish author Sinéad Gleeson at the Hawk’s Well Theatre on July 10th.

As ever, music will be a strong core at Cairde SAF, from a sublime double bill featuring two of the most distinctive voices in Irish folk: Lisa O’Neill and Seamus Fogarty; to  celebrated Australian classical guitarist Craig Ogden performing in the beautiful surrounds of the Factory Performance Space.

Cairde SAF has this year collaborated with Brokentalkers in association with Hawk’s Well Theatre on a new work Uprooted. Developed and performed by a culturally diverse group of community performers living in Sligo, and based on their personal experiences, Uprooted explores the experiences of new communities in Ireland. The piece explores in a darkly comic way the notion of acceptability and how newcomers to Ireland can experience varying degrees of acceptance depending on where they have come from and how they assimilate to a new culture by abandoning their own.

Brokentalkers is “one of Ireland’s most fearless and path-breaking theatre companies”. They devise original, accessible live performance using collaborative processes that draw on the skills and experiences of contributors. They collaborate with communities to produce works of artistic excellence as well as providing quality arts experiences for participants.

Tickets available online or on 071 9161518

For more information on Cairde SAF see @CairdeFestival on Twitter, or follow @CairdeSligoArtsFestival on Facebook

The Great Big Clothes Swap

Following on from the success of last year’s event we invite you to join us for another instalment of the Great Big Clothes Swap! The clothes swap will help to raise valuable funds for this year’s arts festival. 

Clothes swapping is the perfect way to cost-effectively revamp your wardrobe whilst helping to reduce some of the millions of euro worth of clothing going into landfill every year.

How it works:
1. Clear out your wardrobe and bag as many pre-loved, washed and clean items of clothing, shoes, and accessories as you like (no underwear please)
2. Drop to Cait & I on 35 Market Cross (opposite the Lady Erin statue) any day before March 30th or bring long on the day.
3. €10 entry on the door from 2pm – fill your bag with up to ten items! (Vouchers for further items also available)
*If you don’t have items to donate, you are still welcome to attend the swap. We hope to see you there!

Cairde Sligo Arts Festival Seeks Young People to Get Involved

  • New Initiative Invites Young People to Connect With Sligo Arts Festival Programme
  • Join our team and develop a special element of this year’s festival programmeN

  • Ever fancied running a festival or having a peek behind the scenes of a festival? Or wanted to bring your favourite musician or artist to Sligo? Now’s your chance.

    Caírde Sligo Arts Festival (CSAF) returns from July 6th to 13th this year. As part of this year’s programme, Festival organisers are seeking to connect with younger audiences from across County Sligo.

    Cairde Young Curators, is a major new initiative for the festival, focussing on those aged between 14 and 21 years. The Festival is currently inviting young people to join this new initiative and have their input on the Festival programme this summer.

    The project will see a team of young curators work with the Festival team to program a special element of this year’s festival. Between now and the end of April the group will meet at the Nest in Sligo town for six sessions, facilitated by artist Vanya Lambrecht Ward. They will research, brainstorm ideas, explore, plan, document, get inspired and select a potential event. This event may come in the form of a live music gig, an interactive workshop, a visual art exhibition or none of the above – most importantly the ideas will come from the team – Giving a younger audience an opportunity to have a say in what is on offer during the arts festival.

    If you would like to join this group Cairde Sligo Arts Festival invites you to send in a short statement saying why you would like to be get involved by the 18th of March to: cairdeyoungcurators@gmail.com

    For more information check out our website: www.cairdefestival.com or follow @cairdefestival

    The Sky is the Limit for Cairde Sligo Arts Festival in 2019

    Cairde Sligo Arts Festival is set to return from July 6th to 13th 2019. Following on from a sun-drenched crowd-filled festival in 2018, the week-long event returns to host a stellar lineup of Irish and international musicians, artists and performers in a range of unique and surprising venues and locations across County Sligo. 

    Commenting on this year’s Festival, event director Tara McGowan said: “The Festival has been on an exciting trajectory in recent years; we are delighted to welcome new funding from the Arts Council of Ireland’s ‘Arts Grant Fund’ which will allow us to bring ground breaking Irish and international artists together for exciting and new collaborative work. On top of this good news, funding through the Arts Council’s Festival and Event programme has been practically doubled for 2019. This will help us greatly with the further expansion of the arts festival, bringing more Irish and international acts to Sligo, as well as expanding our audiences, and attracting international visitors to the region. 

    An unmissable week of culture, family-friendly events, visual art and street-theatre will launch with Park Fest, the annual day-long event in Sligo’s Peace Park. Songs By the Sea, intimate gigs in some of Sligo’s most loved sea-side cafes will return, as will Cairde Visual, the open submission visual art exhibition in conjunction with The Model. Cairde SAF collaborates with Brokentalkers and the Hawk’s Well Theatre on new work for theatre and the music programme will be launched with an exciting new collaboration featuring Claudia Schwab, Cathy Jordan and Irene Buckley with international musicians Bodek Janke, Raphael Decoster and Soof Nikritin.

    Headline acts and the full programme will be announced shortly.

    For further details, see www.cairdefestival.com 

    Celebrating 250 Years of Circus

    Cairde Sligo Arts Festival are inviting you to run away and join the circus!

    2018 marks 250 years since the first ever circus was invented by Philip Astley in 1768. Now in its tenth year, the Festival is delighted to announce a major new addition to the Festival in 2018; a Big Top tent has moved into Stephens Street Carpark, with a specially selected programme of events from today Thursday 12th to Saturday 14th July.

    The Big top will be filled with circus, street theatre and cabaret performances; with Tumble Circus and the legendary Britain’s Got Talent Semi-finalists Lords of Strut, clowning and circus workshops for children, and a night of comedy with Karl Spain, Danny O’Brien, Eve Darcy, and Ger Staunten.

    Forget what you think Irish circus is, and give you and your family one incredible hour of extraordinary feats of circus skills at the Big Top at Tumble Circus Unsuitable on either Friday, July 13 at 6 pm or Saturday 14 at 3 pm. The award-winning Tumble Circus is much more than your average high-wire act, mixing breathtaking spectacle with theatre and comedy. Laugh, be enlightened and entertained by a cast of five internationally renowned circus artists – acrobats, aerialists, jugglers and clowns. Tickets cost €12 for adults €6 for children and €30 for a family of four. Buy Tickets

    Circus workshop fun for children take place on both Friday, July 13 (SOLD OUT) and Saturday 14 (LIMITED PLACES), from 11.30 am to 1 pm, these workshops will cover an introduction to circus skills including juggling, balance, diabolo, trapeze, clowning, slack rope and acrobatics. Ticket cost €8 for children aged 8 to 12. Buy Tickets

    Enjoy a Friday night comedy club at The Big Top on July 13 with Karl Spain, Danny O’Brien, Eve Darcy and Ger Staunton taking to the stage from 9pm. Tickets for Comedy at The Big Top cost €14. Recommended Age is 16+. Buy Tickets

    And finally, on closing night see Lords of Strut as you have always wanted, FULL craic… smashing out the freakiest funniest routines and sexiest routines that these high fashion dancing legends can manage through their endless melodrama. No one does absurd dancing soap operas better than the LORDS OF STRUT! Laughs come fast and hard as the boys leap around in less clothing than a naturalist at a bongo party and generally unleash a full dose of madness. Lords of Strut Release the Freak, Saturday, July 14, 8 pm at The Big Top. Tickets: €14 (For ages 16+) Buy Tickets

    And that’s just some of the great events still to come at Cairde Sligo Arts Festival. Full line-up here