There’s a charm to a festival like Moira Calling, from it’s family-friendly atmosphere to the support and backing it provides to local artists.
Entering its third year, the Brainchild of Andrew and Jillian Marsden, has a style and unique energy that drew comparison ranging from a “Local Music Tomorrowland” to a “Shrunk-Down Electric Picnic” and it’s not hard to see why.
The organisers are very hands-on in the running of the event, Jillian greets with a warm smile and an energy that would carry throughout the day, while Andrew ensured Site Operations ran with a silky smooth flow, from interacting with both you were left with a feeling of community over commercial. This is reflected by the very reasonable fee of £12.50 that brought with it a full day of local music, crafts and entertainers.
With the festival being a one-day affair over its first two years, the addition of a new day and time-slot worked well in the festival’s favour, broadening the musical offerings with a chilled out, easy listening set from artist Ryan Vail, with support on the day from the Arco String Quartet. It complimented the Saturday session incredibly well, here’s hoping it returns for next year!
Saturday opened with an aptly timed and well thought out series of performances from Artists Tuskany and Peter J. Mccauley that kept the pace from the night before, it prevented a sensory overload and allowed people to work their way into the Marquee.
Rew’s took to the main stage next, with an interesting alternative/punk sound that remained clean and family friendly throughout, a treat to listen to.
A quick handover to The Led Farmers, and soon we were listening to everything on the musical spectrum from The Star of County Down to a rendition of Nirvana’s Classic Smells Like Teen Spirit being furiously strummed out on banjo.
Hunkpapa would take to the stage shortly after, with a performance that matched their sell-out gig in Belfast’s popular Limelight Venue earlier this year. The stage was dressed with an eccentric but inspired costume, while also involving ivy covered mic-stands, ponchos and a didgeridoo – they did not fail to disappoint.
NI Music Prize Winner, Joshua Burnside was up next and was incredibly well received throughout his set which lasted for just over an hour, one of those artists that warrant an addition to your Spotify playlists for sure and one to follow in future
Marsicans would close out this mainstage with an impressive smoke and light show that left you both audibly and visually satisfied, ending the night with an energetic comedown set.
The Main Stage may have had an impressive bill, but not fifty meters away at the festivals ‘All the little lights’ stage you would find that the little lights can shine the brightest, holding one of the true hidden gems of the festival.
Leeds Born, Lisburn Resident Jordan Adetunji left you speechless with his vocally clean yet emotionally deep lyrical flow. Before he had even taken to the stage, the energy within the marquee was palpable. There was an anticipation that typically artists work for their entire career to create, one to keep a very close eye on for the future.
With this year being the most successful in the festivals three-year history, and with a strong growth and supporter base, it’s safe to say that this festival will be a staple in the Irish Festival for a long time to come!