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Gig of the Week: Nothing compares to Galway Film Fleadh’s Irish cinema showcase

Also: Rufus Wainwright, Cirque du Soleil’s Corteo, Westlife and Star Trek meets Star Wars

Galway Film Fleadh

Tuesday July 5-Sunday July 10 Galwayfilmfleadh.com

Well established as the leading platform for new Irish cinema, the Galway Film Fleadh is launching a packed programme of goodies for its 34th outing, with 32 new Irish feature films lined up, along with films from 30 different countries and more than 100 new shorts. Among the world premieres are Declan Recks’s Tarrac, set in the Kerry Gaeltacht and starring Lorcan Cranitch and Kelly Gough; Michael Kinirons’s drama The Sparrow, starring Éanna Hardwicke; and Aideen Barry’s debut feature film Klostes, a black-and-white film that skilfully blends early cinematic techniques. A robust line-of documentaries includes Nothing Compares, a portrait of Sinead O’Connor; Clouded Reveries, profiling author Doireann Ní Ghríofa; and Frankie Fenton’s Atomic Hope: Inside the Pro-Nuclear Movement. “As ever, we strive to be a springboard for new talent, and to elevate diverse and emerging voices in cinema,” says the fleadh’s director of programming Will Fitzgerald, and looking at this lineup, it looks as though he’s achieved his ambition there.

Rufus Wainwright

Wednesday July 6, 8pm €55/€50/€45/€25 nch.ie

The inimitable Rufus Wainwright returns to Dublin for an intimate solo gig, and his mission is clear: he wants to apply some musical balm as we return to our normal lives and go through a collective healing process. “Experiencing music together gives me hope and confidence that we will rise above the isolating and heartbreaking experience of the past two years collectively,” he says. The singer-songwriter with the velvety voice will be showcasing songs from his acclaimed, Grammy-nominated album Unfollow the Rules, along with a few well-chosen classics. He’s just released his latest album, Rufus Does Judy at Capitol Studios, celebrating the centenary of Judy Garland.

Cirque Du Soleil - Corteo

Wednesday July 6-Sunday July 10, 3Arena, Dublin, 6.30pm €44.20 cirquedusoleil.com/corteo

The world’s most celebrated acrobatic troupe return to Dublin with their much-loved Corteo show, and audiences are in for a joyous celebration of life emerging from grief and trauma. In Corteo, Mauro the clown imagines his own funeral cortege not as a solemn procession, but as an exuberant carnival of colour and movement watched over by caring angels. The staging is a first for Cirque du Soleil: the stage takes up the centre of the 3Arena, dividing it down the middle while the audience is split between two halves of the arena, giving them a unique perspective, making them feel as if they are both backstage and in front of the stage during the performance. Expect all the usual spectacular feats of aerial choreography, with that added flair only Cirque du Soleil can pull off.

Westlife

Friday July 8 & Saturday July 9, Aviva Stadium, Dublin, €69.50

A decade after they announced their break-up with farewell gigs at Croke Park, Westlife are back together and out on the road with their Wild Dreams tour, and they just seem to be getting bigger and bigger. The foursome first reconvened in 2018, and found that their absence only whetted fans’ appetite. Covid put a few obstacles on the comeback trail, but now Shane Filan, Nicky Byrne, Mark Feehily and Kian Egan are blazing ahead with two nights at the Aviva Stadium this weekend, followed by two nights in Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Friday August 12th and Saturday August 13th. Expect all the hits, including Flying Without Wings, World of Our Own and Uptown Girl. Support this weekend comes from another pop legend who have recently reunited - Sugababes - and Irish singer-songwriter Soulé.

NSO: Star Trek meets Star Wars

Friday July 8th, National Concert Hall, Dublin 7.30pm €45/€37.50/€30/€25 nch.ie

It’s like a multiverse of madness: Yoda v Spock; Imperial stormtroopers v Klingons; Millennium Falcon v Starship Enterprise. Fear not, though, because the National Symphony Orchestra under the lightsaber of conductor Richard Kaufman are sure to make musical sense of it all. Families are invited to beam up to the NCH dressed as their favourite characters from either sci-fi franchise, and feel the force as the NSO performs music from such trekkie movie classics as The Voyage Home and The Final Frontier, and Star Wars favourites A New Hope, The Phantom Menace and The Force Awakens. Set your phasers on stun and your lightsabers on fun and join this intergalactic musical mash-up.

Otherside

Fri 8-Sun 10, Rock Farm, Slane, Co Meath

On the banks of the river Boyne, where many battles have been fought through history, and in the shadow of Slane Castle, where many a megaband has performed for massive crowds, Rock Farm is the site for the first-ever Otherside Music & Arts Festival, featuring a varied lineup of music, comedy, dance, art, wellness and artisan food, along with a special ingredient known as “connection”. The organisers hope that this festival will spark new connections between people, and bring a sense of togetherness in the meadows and forest canopies of the Boyne Valley. Artists include Franky Wah, Le Boom, Limoncello, Malaki, Mango + Mathman, Moxie, Nealo, Nialler 9, Soda Blonde, Saint Sister, Whenyoung and Ye Vagabonds.

Cairde Sligo Arts Festival

Until July 10th cairdefestival.com

If you haven’t already hit the northwest for Sligo’s annual celebration of imagination and shared experiences, there’s still plenty to take in as the Cairde festival continues until Sunday. The emphasis is on interaction between artist and audience, and highlights include Still Floating, a story about love, resilience and finding humour in the darkness (July 5-7, Factory Performance Space, €16/€12; A Fool’s Errand, musician Nick Roth’s response to Dermot Healy’s book-length poem (Fri 8, The Model, 8pm, €20/€16); and Blue Raincoat’s site-specific performance of WB Yeats’s On Baile’s Strand (Sunday 10th, Cummeen Strand, Strandhill, 10am, €10).

Live at the Iveagh Gardens

July 7/8/9/10 Iveagh Gardens, Dublin ticketmaster.ie

Following Fontaines DC’s weekender in the idyllic setting of the city centre park, the Live at the Iveagh Gardens lineup continues with the magical musical pairing of Mick Flannery and Susan O’Neill (Thursday 7th), followed by Canadian electronica explorer Dan Snaith aka Caribou (Friday 8th), finally getting to tour the world in support of his 2020 album Suddenly. On Saturday 9th, local hero Damien Dempsey will gather the faithful for an uplifting communal experience, while British pop singer James Blunt will be giving a very polite two fingers to the haters when he performs some of his best-known hits (Sunday 10th)

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney

Kevin Courtney is an Irish Times journalist