Home News Ards International Guitar Festival Unveils 2024 Programme! 

Ards International Guitar Festival Unveils 2024 Programme! 

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Ards and North Down Borough Council has unveiled the 2024 Ards International Guitar Festival programme, which will take place in Newtownards from 17 – 21 April. The festival, now in its 28th year boasts an array of guitar-centric events, including gigs, free fringe activities and an exhibition.

Guitar fans can expect a diverse line-up spanning blues, folk, rock, americana, classical and contemporary music. Renowned for celebrating this much-loved instrument, the festival attracts local and international guitarists, creating a dynamic programme all brought together with the help of guest programmer Anthony Toner.

Highlights of this year’s programme include Dom Martin’s evening of performance and conversation with award-winning broadcaster Ralph McLean. Martin, a rising star on Northern Ireland’s music scene, brings his natural acoustic guitar skills and authentic ‘Belfast Blues’ voice to Ards Arts Centre on Thursday 18 April.

On Friday 19 April, Martin Harley, takes to the stage in the Queen’s Hall, Newtownards with his spell-binding exploration of roots, blues and slide guitar. With almost thirty years of music-making and global touring experience, Harley combines exceptional musical talent and songwriting with a down-to-earth sense of humour. Fans of classical guitar will not want to miss American classical guitarist Miles McConnell at Ards Arts Centre on Saturday 20 April.

Other highlights on this year’s programme include The Grainne Duffy Band with support from Ben Cutler, at Queen’s Hall on Saturday 20 April. Backed by her powerhouse band and joined by local blues legend Ronnie Greer and the accomplished Irish guitarist Jimmy Smyth, this is a night of blues not to be missed! On 21 April, singer/songwriter and former Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Sarah McQuaid graces Ards Arts Centre with her lush, chocolaty voice and engaging personality.

The festival also features the annual Classic Album Brunch, free fringe concerts, featuring Kyle John Suckling and Gavin Ferris, an exhibition by Keery Irvine and more. The Ivy Bar will host blues and rock gigs, culminating in the popular Weekend Wind Down festival finale.

Speaking about the festival, Councillor Jennifer Gilmour, The Mayor of Ards and North Down said: I am delighted to see the Guitar Festival return to Newtownards for another year. The 2024 programme is a wonderful showcase of both local and international talent, and I would encourage everyone to buy tickets and support the events.”

Ards Guitar Festival Director, Emily Crawford commented: “There’s a real flavour of roots music running through this year’s festival and for fans of rock and metal a special event on the history of distortion. We have a brilliant programme of local and international artists lined up for you this year with something to appeal to every taste.”

Ards International Guitar Festival runs from 17 – 21 April in various venues around Newtownards. For ticket details or to view the full programme please visit the website www.ardsguitarfestival.co.uk  or call Ards Arts Centre on 028 9181 0803

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