Derry folk are renowned the world over for spinning a good yarn and during the first weekend in August the world’s finest storytellers will descend on the city for the Foyle Yarnspinner’s Storyfest at the Verbal Arts Centre – a full weekend of tall tales, storytelling, music and craic. Those taking part include Eddie Lenihan, a renowned storyteller and folklorist from Co Clare; Jack Lynch, founder of Dublin Yarnspinners and Storytellers of Ireland and the legendary Pat Speight and Frances Quinn. World-renowned storyteller Peter Chand will also take part as will First Nations storyteller, Dovie Thomason,internationally renowned storytellers Liz Weir and Nuala Hayes, local legend Aussie Bryson and other Foyle Yarnspinner regulars. As well as the stories, there will be a vast array of musical talent on show. Roy Arbuckle’s Different Drums will bring the indigenous drums of Ireland, the Lambeg and the Bodhran together for the first time ever and renowned songwriter and singer Colum Sands will perform alongside one of Ireland’s best known traditional singers Len Graham.
The festival starts at 8pm on Thursday, August 1st with a local storytellers’ showcase at the Verbal Arts Centre, hosted by the Foyle Yarnspinners. On Friday, August 2nd, four events will run simultaneously. In the Verbal Arts Centre there will be a celebration of Storytelling and Books will feature writers and storytellers including Dovie Thomason, Marilyn McLaughlin and Joe Brennan. The Craft Village will host Kate Corkery’s award winning show ‘The Sweetshop by the Shore’ at 3pm and the City Factory will host Roy Arbuckle and Nuala Hayes from 3pm onwards. Friday evening will see the Yarnspinners come together to honour local woman Pat Mulkeen with Kate Corkery, Patsy Devine, Roy Arbuckle, Eddie Lenihan, Frances Quinn, Joe Brennan and Aussie Bryson performing.
On Saturday there’ll be spooky stories in Prehen House and events will run in An Culturlann from 2pm-4pm. There will be drop-in storytelling at the Craft Village all day and the City Factory will host tellers from 3pm. On Sunday a special storytelling tour of the Walls will run from 12am-1pm, there will be a storytelling brunch at the Verbal Arts Centre between 1pm-3pm and on Sunday evening between 3pm-8pm a special event interspersing films and live music and storytelling will take place at the Craft Village. Rounding things off on Sunday evening from 8pm the Honest Ulsterman concert will celebrate the very best of storytelling from around the world.