Wednesday 18 September 2019

Tread Softly Festival launched

Ciara Galvin

The works of Sligo's most famous son, W B Yeats will once again be celebrated during this year's Tread Softly Festival which was launched last week at City Hall.

Speaking at the official launch, Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council, Tom MacSharry said thanks to the festival and the Yeats International Summer School people were 'gifted this wonderful annual opportunity to consider the various dimensions of Sligo's most famous poet.'

"The life and work of our most famous poet is celebrated with the same verve and enthusiasm as it was when the first Yeats Society was established," said the Cathaoirleach.

He added that Sligo County Council is working with the key local and national agencies to confirm and promote Sligo's status as the 'cultural hub of the northwest'.

Tread Softly, the name inspired by a Yeats' poem taken from a line in Cloths of Heaven, sees a myriad of events, spoken word and workshops for all ages take place across the nine-day festival delving into and reimagining the works of Yeats.

Providing a comprehensive overview of the festival programme was celebrated writer Brian Leyden, who likened the festival booklet to' heaven's embroidered cloths'.

"The festival explores the mythic richness of the Sligo landscape and the imaginitive richness of its cultural community," noted Leyden.

Kicking off events is The Bare Hazel Arts participation projects inspired by The Battle of the Books followed by Walking Birds Mountain.

To get grounded again there will be medidation, yoga, tai chi and walks.

Among other events and happenings is 'Nine Queens'. Now, nine sculptors will work with the communtiy groups at nine locations along the coastline of County Sligo to create a series of sand sculptures representing the daughters of Manannán man Lir, sea god of Irish mythology.

Leyden gave a comprehensive rundown of events during the nine day festival, including a special performance Sailing to Byzantium by Onur Turkman and The Yurodny Ensemble at The Model. The major staged work focuses on parallels between the works of Yeats and Turkish poet Ahmet Hasim.

"I feel very privileged indeed to have been invited by Niall Henry to launch this year's programme, congratulations to all involved," said Mr Leyden. Tread Softly takes place from July 2tth to August 3rd next.

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