Tuesday 20 March 2018

The 2017 Kanturk Arts Festival declared a 'wonderful success'

The 2017 Kanturk Arts Festival was a wonderful success, with a packed programme of events and the largest attendances ever seen in the festival's nine years.

Ian McDonagh, Arts Officer with Cork County Council, opened the festival during the launch of Mallow Camera Club's permanent exhibition in Kanturk Community Hospital on Wednesday, March 15. During his speech, Mr. McDonagh said there are now more than 30 arts festivals held throughout Cork each year and Kanturk is the first one on the calendar.

He praised the diversity and community-based aspects of the festival, and wished the festival many more years of continued success.

The Thursday of the festival saw a presentation in Kanturk Bookshop to the winners of the North Cork Co-op sponsored Flash Fiction competition and a glorious night's entertainment in the courthouse from The Lorraine O'Riordan Gospel Choir, and The Supernatural Brothers comedy act.

On St. Patrick's Day, after The Duhallow Choral Society sang at 10am Mass and the parade had taken place in the town, the festival-artist-in-residence Siobhan Burke's exhibition was opened in Kanturk Library.

Later on St. Patrick's Day it was standing room only at a packed courthouse as 'A Night Of Drama' unfolded. Eight short plays by local playwrights, performed by local actors, were given a rapturous reception and the interval performance from the Colaiste Treasa Trad. Group was truly spell-binding.

The Saturday of the festival began with Fear na Coillte, Will Fogarty, creating an entrancing woodsman's face from a block of wood and this will be on permanent display in O'Brien Street Park in the coming weeks.

The park has also been enhanced by the superb fairy doors installed by Kanturk Men's Shed.

Stephen Flynn ran an excellent pastel workshop at the same time as the younger artists were enjoying themselves at the sold-out Messy Hands children workshops.

Cork hurler Lorcan McLoughin was on hand to present the prizes for the Kanturk Credit Union School's Art Competition during a busy Saturday morning.

The inaugural Pop-up Arts Trail around the town on Saturday afternoon featured six acts going from coffee shop to coffee shop performing storytelling, fiddle-playing, Shakespearean recitals, prose-reading, singing and Polish dancing. It was an intoxicating few hours for customers in the coffee shops all over the town.

The genealogy talk from Karen O'Riordan, Local Studies and Reference Dept, Cork City Library, had a full house in the Trade Union Hall; and, meanwhile over in the Edel Quinn Hall, Tom and Rachel from Swing Dance Cork were teaching the fundamentals of Swing Dance to two dozen enthusiasts.

At 8pm in the courthouse, Eoin Leahy sang accompanied by Noel Walsh on guitar and gasps of joy and an enthusiastic standing ovation were the only appropriate responses to a sensational concert.

Due to inclement weather, Mallow Camera Club chose to have their photography workshop indoors on Sunday morning, yet everyone had a great time working with the models and on their still lifes.

The Daily Grind was again packed for the Clonakilty Jazz Collective on Sunday afternoon and the crowd were treated to a completely different, but equally sublime, set from these multi-talented sextet.

After the jazz, all roads led to the courthouse for a concert by The Irish Guitar Quartet that could very well have been the greatest show in the history of the arts festival. These outrageously talented guitar-men had the audience spellbound with their dexterity and accomplishment.

As ever, the Sunday night Poetry Slam in the courthouse was a fascinating, educational and entertaining hour. The judge, Stephen Flynn, had a fiendishly difficult task in choosing the winners of the book tokens sponsored by Kanturk Bookshop.

The best receptions on the night were for Susan Hickey and Mary Crowley, who performed wonderful poems about raging against the dying of the light.

The final show of the festival was in a red light-bathed courthouse from techno wizard Dan Guiney. The connoisseurs in the audience were thrilled with his electronic symphony and gave him the last standing ovation of the festival.

Overall, Kanturk Arts Festival 2017 was a complete success for everyone involved and already plans are underway for a very special tenth annual Kanturk Arts Festival in 2018.