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Ards International Guitar Festival

Ards Arts Centre, Town Hall Arts Centre, Conway Square, Frances Street/High Street, Newtownards, County Down, BT23 4NP
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The 2024 Ards International Guitar Festival will take place in Newtownards from 17 – 21 April! The festival now in its 28th year boasts an array of guitar-centric events, including gigs, free fringe activities and an exhibition.

Guitar fans can expect a diverse line-up spanning blues, folk, rock, Americana, classical and contemporary music. Renowned for celebrating this much-loved instrument, the festival attracts local and international guitarists, creating a dynamic programme all brought together with the help of guest programmer Anthony Toner.

Highlights of this year's programme include Dom Martin's evening of performance and conversation with award-winning broadcaster Ralph McLean. Martin, a rising star on Northern Ireland's music scene, brings his natural acoustic guitar skills and authentic 'Belfast Blues' voice to Ards Arts Centre on Thursday 18 April.

On Friday 19 April, Martin Harley, takes to the stage in the Queen's Hall, Newtownards with his spell-binding exploration of roots, blues and slide guitar. With almost thirty years of music-making and global touring experience, Harley combines exceptional musical talent and songwriting with a down-to-earth sense of humour. Fans of classical guitar will not want to miss American classical guitarist Miles McConnell at Ards Arts Centre on Saturday 20 April, supported by the Classical Guitar Society of Northern Ireland. McConnell is active both as an arranger and a performer, a role that has taken him to Spain, the UK and around the United States.

Other highlights on this year's programme include The Grainne Duffy Band with support from Ben Cutler, at Queen's Hall on Saturday 20 April. Backed by her powerhouse band and joined by local blues legend Ronnie Greer and the accomplished Irish guitarist Jimmy Smyth, this is a night of blues not to be missed! On 21 April, singer/songwriter and former Lifetime Achievement Award Winner Sarah McQuaid graces Ards Arts Centre with her lush, chocolaty voice and engaging personality.

The festival also features the annual Classic Album Brunch, free fringe concerts, featuring Kyle John Suckling and Gavin Ferris, an exhibition by Keery Irvine and more. The Ivy Bar will host blues and rock gigs, culminating in the popular Weekend Wind Down festival finale.

Ards International Guitar Festival runs from 17 - 21 April in various venues around Newtownards. For ticket details or to view the full programme please visit the website or call Ards Arts Centre on 028 9181 0803 during box office hours. Tickets go on sale on Thursday 22 February at 10am.

[Ticket prices vary from free upwards to £20, depending on event.]


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Ticket prices vary from free upwards to £20, depending on event.

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Opening Times

Season (17 Apr 2024 - 21 Apr 2024)
Wednesday - SundayOpen

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Photograph of the front exterior building of Ards Arts Centre previously the Town Hall, with backdrop of blue sky and two banners flanking the front wArds Arts Centre, NewtownardsLocated in Newtownards’ beautifully restored Georgian Town Hall in the centre of town, the Ards Arts Centres a welcoming space which supports a wide range of community arts activities alongside our own initiatives.

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