April 26 – May 30, 2024 ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Day ticket announced for Sunday of Sherkin’s Open Ear festival

sanctuary via the imposition of external sounds of weather and geology, collected on a recent field trip to the island. Turning to transducers to transform the church into a sounding mem- brane, this work will activate the interior resonances of this historic location – charging the inner with the energy of the outer. Within the atmospheres of this vibratory environment, full of the sounds of rocks grinding and wind rushing, Carr and Donoghue will improvise a per- formance using field recordings, synthesis, foley, live percussion, bird horns and collected materi- als from Sherkin. Deb Googe, bass player from My Bloody Valentine will also perform in the church. Festival goers can then take a unique geolocated sound walk created by renowned sound artist Denis McNulty. The walk will be accessible throughout the weekend and will live on after the festival as a unique permanent piece of public art for all residents and visitors to Sherwin to enjoy. A secret gig on a beach will bring the day to a close just in time for the evening ferry, unless you’re tempted to stay on into the early hours to enjoy the sounds in the festival tent at North Shore.

Inaugural Game Convention to attract gamers of all ages to Bantry The countdown has begun for ‘GAMECON’ West Cork’s very first game convention. Organised by the West Cork Sudbury School, the event takes place in the Bantry Boys Club on Saturday May 18, from 10am to 6pm, GAMECON 2024 is a celebration of gaming in all its forms, welcoming beginners and enthusiasts to discover and play a large variety of games, inventions and game-adjacent activities. From traditional board games to instant-classic new releases, from cut- ting-edge video games to retro console gems, along with talks, cosplay, raffle, inventions and tournaments, there’s something for everyone at this diverse and inclusive event. Visit the or social media channels (Instagram @gamecon2024, Facebook @gamecon2024) Tickets will also be available at the door, priced at €15 for adults, €10 for students, and free for children aged five and under (under 18s must be accompanied and supervised by an adult).

Celebrating outliers and music on the fringes, the sixth edition of Open Ear festival returns to Sherkin Island from May 31 to June 2, 2024. T he idea for Open Ear, an experimental music festival focused on giving a platform to Irish artists, started when festival organiser Chris Chapman and his friends were camping on the island. Bad weather forced them to take shelter in the nearby North Shore Island Accommodation and a conversation with owners Kathy and Mike planted the seed of an idea for an exper- imental music festival on the island that would take place on Mike and Cathy’s land. The first festival went ahead the follow- ing year, in 2018, and over the years a special relationship has built up between the islanders and the organisers, a relation- ship that is now intrinsic to Open Ear.

“We wouldn’t have it any- where else,” says Dion Doherty, artist booking and liaison manager. “Sherkin island is such an integral part of the festival at this stage, the location, the welcome, the relationship we have with Mike and Cathy of North Shore.” A special evening in The Jolly Roger pub dedicated to celebrat- ing the islanders for being so welcoming and accommodating to the festival will take place on the Thursday before the festival starts. Mohammad Syfkhan, the Syrian refugee living in Leitrim who has become the toast of the Irish folk scene, will take part in the open music session that will see islanders, Ukrainian refugees who have made the island their home, and festival organisers all come together. In another show of appreci- ation to the island community, festival organisers will this year present an award to a graduating student of TU Dublin’s Visual Art Course that runs on Sherkin. The student will receive a €500 stipend, as well as the oppor- tunity to present their work at

Open Ear with any necessary technical support provided by the festival. This year festival organ- isers are particularly excited about the number of specially commissioned collaborative projects taking place at different locations around Sherkin. “We hope to create meaningful con- nections with the Island through use of sound and site specific locations, while maintaining the integrity of the natural environ- ment,” says Dion. “We were for- tune to get some extra funding from the Arts Council this year and we got a great response to our open callouts so we’re using the island a lot more…sites such as the abbey, the church, the beach.” Artists Elaine Howly and The Cyclist are collaborating to cre- ate a heady hour of live music on the Saturday. The two have conjured up a set that encom- passes their distinct styles, rang- ing from the downtempo and experimental melodic sounds of Howley’s music and building towards The Cyclist’s rhythmic club-ready psychedelia.

There is a day ticket (€80) available for the Sunday, which has an action-packed pro- gramme of events. Sunday’s music trail starts at the abbey with ‘Romantic Ire- land’, an exhibition by Eimear Walshe for the 2024 Venice Art Biennale and also part of an hour-long radio work for vocal ensemble and electronics com- posed by Amanda Ferry, with libretto by Eimear Walsh. The work is a response piece to Ea- mon de Valera’s 1943 radio ad- dress on ‘Language and the Irish Nation’. Or more commonly known as ‘The Ireland that we Dreamed of’. For Open Ear this work will be presented in a new site specific context through a reinterpretation of the existing vocal work with live electronics and archival recordings. Then it’s on to St Mona’s Church, where Kate Carr and David Donoghue’s collaboration sees them perform a new scored work drawing on the very present materialities of air and stone on Sherkin. The pair will reconfigure the building’s his - tory of shelter, destabilising this

Sherkin Island 31st May to 2nd June, Bank Holiday Weekend

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