Limavady gets ready to rock ‘n’ roll with Stendhal Festival of music

Colm O'Donnell, Ross Parkhill and John Cartwright of Stendhal Festival. (DER2607SJ12)
Colm O'Donnell, Ross Parkhill and John Cartwright of Stendhal Festival. (DER2607SJ12)

Organisers of a local music and arts festival are getting ready for Limavady to “rock ‘n’ roll” now they’re heading towards the home straight for the Stendhal Festival in August.

With a few odds and ends to tie up, Ross Parkhill says they’ve “pretty much everything sorted”.

“We’ve had a large number of our volunteers working for weeks preparing new aspects of the site layout and painting all our hand painted signs to name but a few things. It’ll certainly be ready to rock by the time the 16th rolls around. “That being said there are still one or two wee odds and ends we have to get tied up before the 16th of August so we have quite a busy couple of weeks ahead of us.”

Ross said the festival has come a long way since the beginning, “and since then there have been countless obstacles to overcome and a hell of a lot of hours spent doing everything we have needed to do to get to where we are now”.

While the festival itself may only be one weekend out of the year, it’s something of a full time job for those organising it.

“John Cartwright and Colm O’Donnell have been full time on festival matters for a good while this year too as well as working two other jobs at the same time,” said Ross, who said they’ve worked hard to convince people they’re “the genuine article”.

“So, breaking down doors with institutions such as Limavady Council and funding bodies - the Arts Council and Invest NI - has taken a lot of hard work, research and dedication but we seem to be making a bit of headway now,” says Ross.

The line this year is impressive, but the one act jumping out is The Divine Comedy.

“A tour manager in the industry, Paddy, attended the festival last year, sent a lovely email to Neil Hannon’s people detailing his experience of the festival in its second year and opened the door for us,” explained Ross.

“One thing led to another and it concluded with, as you say, ‘a real coup’ for, not just the festival, but for Limavady!”

This year Ross says Stendhal is “bigger, better and more considered”.

“It’s the best weekend of music and the arts that Limavady has ever seen.

“They can see internationally renowned and multi-award winning musicians, a vast array of all sorts of the arts and for a price that makes Stendhal one of the most value for money weekends around. We can’t wait to welcome festival goers, new and old, to Ballymully Cottage Farm in August!”