23 May 2022

June Fest with a difference: packed programme and safety first at Newbridge festival

Long-running Newbridge summer festival is back this year

June Fest with a difference: packed programme and safety first at Newbridge festival

Yarn bombing in Liffey Linear Park in 2019 as part of June Fest

June Fest 2021 goes ahead this year in Newbridge (May 27 to June 30) with a series of socially distanced free activities catering to people of all ages and interests.

Given that Covid-19 is still in our midst, the organisers want to impress on everyone participating in the Festival the need to follow public health advice and stay safe.

The Festival in structured to enable participants to enjoy themselves safely — whatever the activity.

June Fest chairperson Colm Somers said planning the Festival proved challenging “but we feel we have come up with a mix of activities that will appeal to all the family – irrespective of age or interest.”

According to Colm the selected Festival activities give a flavour of what June Fest 2021 has to offer.

The festival opens on May 27 with an online quiz with questions suited to all ages and loads of prizes.

From May 28 to June 13 people can join our Treasure Hunt, which offers 23 prizes totalling €750. This involves exploring nature trails, landmarks and the history of Newbridge over a 5k course.

From May 31, there will be an online art exhibition and an outdoor photography exhibition ‘Drawn by Light’ — both of which can be enjoyed while fully complying with public health advice. Also, from this date, poets will be able to submit entries for the Poetry competition. The competition has a prize fund of €780 with special prizes for under 18s.

Another artistic highlight will be ‘Small Steps’, an outdoor miniature art exhibition on George’s Street by some 20 artists from the Kildare Art Collective, running until June 20.

June Fest has teamed up with Newbridge Local History Group to document the effects of Covid on the lives of young and old and provide future historians with the first-hand accounts they will draw on to write the history of our times.

From the beginning of June, the beautiful Liffey Linear Park will be festooned with Yarn Bomb creations providing a treat for locals and visitors alike.

The programme includes online audio tours of The Barracks in Newbridge and the Gibbet Rath on the Curragh with local historians, Frank Boland and Jim Kavanagh.

Staying with the history theme, there are six seminars run by the Irish Military Seminar. These events would normally pack the Riverbank theatre but this year they will be even more accessible online. This year’s Military History Seminars range across a virtual smorgasbord of topics — Kildare Military History Files from 1912 to 1923, Kildare’s World War 1 Dead, Military-Civilian Violence in Irish Garrison Towns and Guerilla Warfare in the War of Independence.

On a more relaxing note, there is an online video documentary on the history and wildlife of the Grand Canal with local historian, Paddy Behan, and Neil Burke of Birdwatch Ireland. Once you see this you will be very tempted to experience the quiet beauty of one of Kildare’s outstanding man-made amenities.

If poetry and music is your thing, there are online gigs with local performers – Appo, Mary Caffrey, A Lazarus Soul, Paul McCormack, Kilian O’Kelly, Eimear Dempsey, Nicky Keogh, Christine McEvoy and others.

On June 10 the Riverbank presents 10 String Symphony — a collaboration between Grammy-nominated fiddle player Christian Sedelmyer and acclaimed songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Rachel Baiman. The Riverbank will also host a range of children’s activities.

Newbridge Library celebrates Cruinniú na nÓg with fun online workshops for children of all ages — creating stories, smartphone filmmaking and a Harry Potter Craft Workshop. For young people with a thespian inclination, there are online dramas with Kildare Youth Theatre.

Those interested in biodiversity, can visit a photographic exhibition in the Riverbank Arts Centre by award-winning nature photographer, Tina Claffey, that will allow them to immerse themselves in ancient watery worlds.

Full details of the June Fest 2021 programme are available on the new June Fest website June

Patrons should note that the programme may be subject to change in accordance with Covid-19 public health advice.

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