The summer festival makes an eagerly awaited return to Longford town at the end of June thanks to the efforts of local councillor, Gerry Warnock, and a small team of volunteers.
The Love Longford Festival gets off to an impressive start with a concert in the Longford Arms Hotel on Friday, June 28, when the headline act will be the internationally renowned trad group, Four Men and A Dog.
They will be supported that night by some of the region’s leading musicians who are coming together for one night only as ‘The Scattering’. Admission will be just €10.
There is a strong community arts festival theme to the weekend, as leading local artists set about developing an arts festival from a very unique standpoint. Local artists Gary Robinson, Gordon Farrell, Shelley Corcoran, Amanda Graham, Pat Hourican and Shane Crossan are hard at work scheduling a series of solo exhibitions, which will be on display across the town over the course of the festival.
In addition, Reflections Art Group, Longford Camera Club and Out-takes Film Makers Group will show three group exhibitions in improvised spaces in vacant commercial units on the town’s busy streets. Art students in the secondary schools and members of community groups will create large scale temporary public art features based on the theme of ‘Love Longford’. The students from St Christopher’s are currently working on wonderful art pieces for display, as well as a craft stall with handmade pieces which will be for sale during the Sunday finale in the town.
There is a strong literary dimension to Love Longford with writers invited to compose pieces inspired by their home town. Submissions will be printed in The Longford Leader each week, and prizes for the winning entries will be presented at a literary night during the festival. Over time it is hoped the entries will be published in a professionally edited anthology of creative writing entitled “The Town I Love So Well”. Longford library will also host a Padraig Colum exhibition, as the town remembers one of its most famous sons and one of the great Irish writers.
One of the big attractions of the festival will be a major choir performance on the Market Square. This is planned for Saturday, June 29 at 6.30pm and is being billed as the “Biggest Choir Ever in the Midlands.” In addition, a wide range of local musicians and bands will perform on the streets throughout the festival.
Cllr Warnock told the Weekender that he has been greatly impressed by the support and enthusiasm from young people for the event. Members of the Attic Group will be playing music in the streets while members of Backstage Youth Theatre will be staging impromptu drama vignettes.
Other highlights will include a Family Activity Day in the Mall on Saturday, June 29 and a flower show in St John’s Church on Sunday, June 30 which is being organised by the ICA. Indeed the ICA will be very proactive over the weekend with a major craft fair planned for the Saturday. In keeping with the Gathering theme, friends and relations of ICA members are to come from abroad over the weekend. Several ICA federations from other counties and a special guest, ICA National President, Liz Wall, will visit Longford for the festival.
Watch the Longford Leader in the coming weeks as we count down the days to the Love Longford Festival.