Derry’s Apprentice Boys say this year’s Maiden City Festival will be the biggest ever.
Opening on August 3 with a Bluegrass and Folk Weekend, the festival will feature music, drama, dance and discussion on Protestant history and culture and will culminate in the 324th Annual Commemoration of the Relief of Derry parade on August 10.
Organisers say there is a strong emphasis on history and drama throughout the week, with the Siege Story being told in St Columb’s Cathedral each day in a short five-part drama.
There is also a demonstration of Siege guns and cannon at the Memorial Hall, and Siege characters around the Walls telling Siege Tales.
A spokesman for the Apprentice Boys said: “For 2013 UK City of Culture we are organising a Trilogy of short plays followed by a presentation and discussion, looking at the Presbyterian and Protestant story of Londonderry since the Siege, of migration and movement.
“Our first drama of the week is ‘Kirk Session’ about Presbyterians leaving for the New World in 1715, with Paddy Fitzgerald of the Mellon Centre for Migration Studies as guest speaker.
“There is also a drama for the nineteen century ‘Promised Land’, and a third one ‘Last Supper’ bringing the story up to date with guest speaker Paul Arthur of INCORE.
“We have the 10th Maiden City Scottish Highland Dance Competition on Wednesday, 7th, at the Memorial Hall.”
Music is at the very heart of this year’s Festival.
“Our most ambitious event this 2013 UK City of Culture year is the premiere performance of a new arrangement of Shaun Davey’s Relief of Derry Symphony for flute, bringing together premier flute bands of the city with classical and folk artists,” said the spokesman.
Performances on August 8 and 9 will be in St Columb’s Cathedral, with the Churchill, Hamilton and William King Memorial flute bands, along with the classical Festive Flutes and Marcas O’Murchu folk flute, with the voice of Doreen Curran.
The ABOD spokesman added: “We continue with our lunchtime programme in nine cafes within and around the Walls – a choice of over 40 performers over five days. New sounds and favourites returning make for a diverse lunchtime Culture Bite menu – links to all the performing bands will be on the website.
“Then there are Tea Dances Monday to Thursday, comic cabaret with William Caufield and late night dancing to Risky Business, a big quiz, late night entertainment in the Memorial Hall, and lots more.”
The final event of the 2013 Maiden City Festival week is the Relief of Derry Pageant at Carlisle Roundabout on August 10, immediately before the start of the main parade.
You can get more info and ticketing information online at www.maidencityfestival.com