Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Fun Laoghaire gets ready to welcome world

Festival of World Cultures director Jody Ackland’s memories of the event’s first outing in 2001 are still clear. “What I remember most are the hundred people or so down at the Harbour Plaza dancing to a local Nigerian group.” Now …

Fri, Jul 20, 2007, 09:23

   

Festival of World Cultures director Jody Ackland’s memories of the event’s first outing in 2001 are still clear. “What I remember most are the hundred people or so down at the Harbour Plaza dancing to a local Nigerian group.”

Now they’re seven and the Dún Laoghaire Festival of World Cultures is a much bigger affair. From Friday, August 24th to Sunday, August 26th, more than 220,000 people will saunter through the south Co Dublin town to enjoy some 800 artists at 40 different venues, with free admission to 70 per cent of events.

“Yes, the festival has grown and we now can get 20,000 people to our events on Newtownsmith Green,” says Ackland. “But Dún Laoghaire has the ability to take on a festival like this because we use the entire town.”

The FWC would simply not work without the involvement of the Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown Council. “They have backed and nurtured this from the get-go,” says Ackland. “As the infrastructure and production have grown, they have been supportive all the way.”

She’s also stresses the goodwill from Dún Laoghaire residents. “It’s crucial that this festival reflects the needs and wishes of the people in the town. We’re very careful about noise pollution and litter and we strive to maintain a good relationship with the local community. I think people are proud to be hosting the festival and we get tons of volunteers.”

This year will feature headlining shows from Portuguese fado star Mariza, veteran rabble-rouser Rachid Taha, Middle-Eastern singer Natacha Atlas and Malian stars Super Rail Band.

There are also dozens of other acts, workshops, DJs, fairs and sideshows in the festival’s 64-page programme. “The tone and message of the festival is about integration, the exchange of understanding, maturity and global wisdom,” says Ackland.

She is looking forward to the visit of the Rhythms of Uzbekistan (“vivid and extraordinary music and dance”), the Dún Laoghaire Mela (“a celebration of South-Eastern Asian arts which reaches out and touches base with the local community”) and Balkan funk from Fanfare Ciocarlia.

“It was never our intention to just run a small festival in DúLaoghaire,” says Ackland. “We always wanted to grow”.

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