Another uniquely wonderful time at Killorglin's K-Fest

Little else tops the colour of this annual Killorglin celebration

Nina Finn-Kelcey, Ellie Foley and Amelia McGillicuddy taking part in a little bit of painting at K-Fest Killorglin on Saturday. Photo by Michelle Cooper Galvin
Nina Finn-Kelcey, Ellie Foley and Amelia McGillicuddy taking part in a little bit of painting at K-Fest Killorglin on Saturday. Photo by Michelle Cooper Galvin
Beating the giant drum at Library Place during K-Fest on Saturday
Street entertainers add to the atmosphere on Saturday afternoon

Stephen Fernane

The weird and wonderful in perfect concord is how one might describe the fantastic line-up of acts that enthrals crowds at the annual Killorglin K-Fest, which took centre-stage by the Laune at the weekend.

This is one festival on the rise and one of its main strengths is that it incorporates local, national and international talent in the visual and creative arts.

The sunshine and balmy conditions added to the sense of mystique as some of Killorglin's vacant buildings were wonderfully reborn as bespoke, pop-up design galleries of varying dimensions.

The K-Fest 'Screaming Pope Prize' went to Sáerlaith Molloy for her incredible and thought-provoking work 'Gurgle', held at the Woolshed. This is the first time the award has been won by a non-painter.

Famous film director Jim Sheridan enjoyed a packed CYMS Hall, while music from the likes of Le Boom, Emma Langford, Ocelots, Vulpynes, and Eve Bell hit all the right notes with revellers.

"We've never seen such packed houses at the venues at night. We were wondering how the festival would differ this year, but the fact we've had more people is a big part of it," Penny Dahl of K-fest said.

The Poetry Brothel also bemused spectators with its quirky musicians, burlesque dancers, body painters, drag queens, magicians, aerial acrobats, and tarot card readers who brought poetry to a whole other level.

"Sáerlaith's performance of 'Gurgle' affected people and it created a strong reaction. There was just a real warmth around the place and it's an opportunity for local people and the local arts community to get to know each other really well; it's all about making connections. We also had IFTA, Poetry Ireland, and Visual Artists Ireland (VAI) at the festival and it is brilliant to have that sort of backing. Families and people who may never look at art come out to enjoy the festival. They might not like some of what they see, but we like that too as we want opinion. This increases curiosity as well as creativity among everyday people," Penny said.

Meanwhile, also on Saturday, the Killorglin Pride of Place committee met with the judges of the national competition who were treated to an enjoyable and interactive stroll through the streets as K-Fest was in full swing. Around 15 members make up the Killorglin committee who have put in hundreds of hours ensuring Killorglin puts its best foot forward.

"We felt our presentation was very strong as we were able to take them around and they participated in some if the events going on," said Penny Dahl who is also the local chair of the Pride of Place Committee.

"We wanted them to get a feel for the general buzz in the town and we felt they were very warm towards us. They really got to see the magic of K-fest and experience it first-hand, which made all the difference. We put weeks of work into it and we wanted it to be perfect. We got a really good response," she added.

Other Kerry groups up for adjudication in the Kerry Pride of Place Awards are Blackwater Womens' Group and the Maharees Conservation Association. The final recommendation is expected sometime in November.