Sailor musician Marieke Huysmans Berthou a.k.a Pianocean performance whets appetite for Foyle Maritime Festival 2022

It's certainly not every weekend you'll catch a floating piano performance on the River Foyle.

Monday, 21st June 2021, 12:39 pm
Updated Monday, 21st June 2021, 12:40 pm

However, in a city famed for both its musical and maritime heritage it was fitting to whet the appetite for the most highly anticipated festival in the north west of Ireland next year.

After the suspension of The Clipper 2019-20 Race last year in the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic, and plans for Derry to act as a Host Port Partner for the fifth time were put on hold, the award-winning Foyle Maritime Festival will return to the city in July 2022 together with the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race fleet.

Passers-by on the quay were treated to a low-key solo performance by French artist Pianocean organised by the Festival and E​vents team at Derry City and Strabane District Council Sailor, pianist and songwriter Marieke Huysmans Berthou who has been living in Ireland during the past year, dropped anchor in the city at the weekend.

Marieke Huysmans Berthou and Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Alderman Graham Warke.
Marieke Huysmans Berthou and Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Alderman Graham Warke.

Two unique musical interludes on deck offered a glimpse of the magical atmosphere anticipated at the week-long Maritime Festival being planned on the banks of the River Foyle next summer.

The internationally acclaimed Foyle Maritime Festival has attracted thousands of visitors since it began in 2012. The arrival of the Clipper Round the World racing yachts is scheduled around an exciting programme of family-friendly attractions and keynote events along the riverfront.

A combination of exciting activities both on and off the water guarantees a 'not to be missed' event for visitors of all ages while the festival showcase will provide one of the most spectacular landscape performances delivered on the island, featuring aerial and firework displays as well as animated performances, a parade of light on the water and live music.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Alderman Graham Warke, said: "Foyle Maritime Festival is undoubtedly one of the most popular events hosted in the city, attracting visitors from near and far. It is a fantastic opportunity to showcase our vibrant and welcoming city and district as an international visitor destination.

Pianocean performing aboard the Lady Flow in Derry at the weekend.

"The Pianocean stop-over in the city for two impromptu solo performances at the weekend was a timely reminder that the Foyle Maritime Festival is set to return in 2022 and visitors can start making plans to join us for next summer's most highly anticipated festival in the north west."

Helena Hasson, Event Co-ordinator with Derry City and Strabane District Council, said: "We were delighted to host Pianocean this weekend. Marieke has sailed to ports around the world with her artistic and maritime led project and it was really uplifting to see passers-by stopping to savour the moment from their vantage point along the quay on Friday and Saturday afternoon.

"Many people have told us how much they missed last year's large-scale events in the city and district during the pandemic so we are pulling out all the stops to make Foyle Maritime Festival 2022 even more memorable. The whole city comes alive for this event and we can't wait to re-create that special atmosphere for our festival-goers once again."

Marieke, of Pianocean, thanked everyone for the warm welcome she received during her visit to the banks of the Foyle.

Sailor, pianist and songwriter Marieke Huysmans Berthou and Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council Alderman Graham Warke.

"Each port of call is an inspiration for me and at the end of each sailing season, I record a new album. The songs are inspired by my life onboard, the people I meet and the local culture and stories I hear, so it is like a musical travel diary. I am very much looking forward to writing about everything I encountered in Derry."

This activity is being organised by Council's Events Team as part of the Inside Out Business Revitalization Programme which is supported by the Department for Communities.

For updates and announcements on Foyle Maritime Festival 2022 follow the Facebook page @foylemaritimefestival