Preview: Stendhal Festival of Art 2016

by / August 10, 2016

Stendhal Festival of Art
12th-13th August 2016

One of our favourite summer festivals returns again this weekend. Located in Limavady, the winner of Ireland’s Best Small Festival for the last three years Stendhal Festival of Art looks set to have another great year with another line-up packed full of local favourites. Music, comedy, art and theatre are all catered for over the festival’s family friendly two days of entertainment. This year the Northern Irish music contingent topped by rockers Therapy? is further boosted by headliners from Ireland and beyond including Hayseed DixieDJ YodaLynched and Badly Drawn Boy. With the festival spread out over a number of stages again this year we thought we’d give you all a bit of a rundown on who to look out for.

Main Stage

This year’s main stage is packed with talent over the course of Friday and Satuday, with plenty to check out. Friday night sees three big hitters in Wood Burning Savages and Ports, two Derry bands with very different sounds but who have both cemented their place as two of Northern Ireland’s top live acts. While legendary, heavy hitting headliners Therapy? will ensure more than a few festival goers will head back to their tents with ringing ears.

Make sure to get over to the main stage early on Saturday as our very own Kickstart winners Brand New Friend will be opening things up at 12pm. Later on, the rock of Friday will be replaced by a more eclectic mix of music with the indie songwriting of Badly Drawn Boy moving into the fun bluegrass of Hayseed Dixie and finally closed out by Hip Hop artist DJ Yoda, accompanied by a visual show.

Karma Valley

When away from the main stage, the festival is usually filled with the sounds of the Karma Valley field. No Oil Paintings have become festival favourites and return again with a late evening slot on Friday, with Dublin’s Paddy Casey ending the night.

Saturday sees a full agenda starting with Great White Lies from 11.30am. The Booka Brass Band always impress audiences at Stendhal, and will surely do the same again on Saturday night at the Karma Valley stage. The Emerald Armada are always worth checking out, with their enthusiastic folk bringing a smile wherever the play. Before them, the more guarded secret of Sons of Burlap should be worth a look in.

The Henry McCullough Stage

Young singer-songwriter Saorise Casey opens The Henry McCullough Stage on Friday night while polar-opposites R51, gearing up to their new EP, will be looking to bring the house down again after a rip-roaring set last year.

Saturday morning may begin with puppet storytelling but our attention looks to be grabbed by an afternoon triple bill of young Derry singer-songwriters Roe and Jessica Doherty, followed by Belfast rockers Monkey Bath. Doherty has been a long time favourite of ours while Roe is another exciting young talent. Four-piece rock band Monkey Bath will bring an altogether more energetic set on Saturday afternoon.


Tucked away amongst the trees, the Woodtown stage has always brought an enchanted experience to proceedings. It’s hard to look past blues rockers The Bonnevilles taking to the intimate stage on Friday night.

Saturday evening may have the best line-up of the whole festival with some of our favourites over the past few years filling it out. Joshua Burnside has not made many Northern Irish appearances over the past year but Woodtown suits his alt-folk songwriting to a T. The electronic sounds of Limavady’s own CM88 should prove engaging, Jealous of the Birds goes from strength to strength and a full band show will bring her plenty of new fans. Finally Ryan Vail filling the woods with his quiet electronic and ambient music shortly after midnight sounds like a match made in heaven.

Oh Yeah! Nerve Centre Stage

Last but certainly not least is the Oh Yeah & Nerve Centre curated stage, with another line-up of great talents. We really can’t pick out a favourite. Hannah McPhillimy‘s impressive songwriting opens the stage at 7pm, followed by folk-pop Owen Denvir, then new London based trio Worm Hears. Finally pop four-piece Vokxen will give way to the heavy riffing of Bosco Ramos.

Stendhal Festival of Arts kicks off this Friday evening until Saturday night, with camping and day tickets still available from the Stendhal website below.


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