27 Jul 2020
The organisers behind one of the biggest annual music and arts events in Northern Ireland are hoping to come to the rescue of those craving that summer festival feeling.
The Stendhal Festival was forced to abandon its usual three-day event plans, but is now inviting festival lovers to get back out there to enjoy the experience of live music for the first time in months.
Should its socially distanced event plans be granted the go-ahead, Stendhal Festival Presents: Unlocked will become the first festival of its kind in the history of Northern Ireland.
The idea has captured the imagination of people all over the world, with news of the festival appearing in the media in places as far away as Hong Kong, Korea, Nigeria and the US.
Organisers are hopeful that Unlocked will take place over five weekends in August and September, with the first set of dates confirmed as 21–22 and 28–29 August.
Each weekend will have a capacity of between 500 and 1,000 people, all subject to the government’s policy on mass gatherings at the time.
The huge Stendhal Festival site is on the world-famous Causeway Coastal Route, based in a picturesque rural setting in the shadow of Binevenagh Mountain in Limavady, County Londonderry. The mountain was used as the Dothraki Grasslands in filming for Game of Thrones®.
Roe, appearing at Unlocked weekend 1
The 51-acre site offers each festival-goer an average space of 413m², based on an attendance of 500 people, and organisers are confident that they have come up with a plan that will make going to the outdoor music events safer than going to the supermarket.
Safety measures, all clearly laid out on the festival website, will include thermal screenings, toilets cleaned after each use, daily alcohol limits and medical isolation huts, while camp plots will measure 8m x 8m, with a limit of two people per tent.
Social distancing will be in place all around the site, from the festival arenas to food vendors.
There will be over 40 bands on the bill at each of the Unlocked events, with the first weekend including performances from headliners And So I Watch You From Afar and Ryan McMullan.
Other names on the bill include Roe, Joshua Burnside, Blackbird and Crow, The Henry Girls, The Pat McManus Band, Hunkpapa and Lore.
But organisers note that the plans are entirely subject to lockdown restrictions on the dates of the proposed events.
Joshua Burnside, appearing at Unlocked weekend 1
Blackbird & Crow, appearing at Unlocked weekend 1
Need more resources? View our images and videos from across Ireland