Ward Park to rock with summer Sundays of free events

By Iain Gray

 

WARD Park is set to start rocking this Sunday, with the first of eight free shows as part of the Open House Festival.

The annual Picnic In The Park events make their big comeback at the park’s bandstand, with the opening gig featuring Belfast-based soul band the Gold Tips.

The free music events will run every Sunday throughout July and August, culminating with the festival’s landmark Bluegrass Picnic on August 25.

A staple in Open House’s programme since their first festival all the way back in 2013, this year’s Bluegrass Picnic will see the five-piece Broken String Band bring the curtain down on the Picnic In The Park season.

Other bands taking the stage at the bandstand this summer include alternative rockers Monday’s Child on July 14, Bangor’s own vintage punk band Wasted Talent, and country-rock outfit Jackie Rainey and the Sweet Beats on July 28.

Says Open House director Kieran Gilmore: “Picnic in the Park on a summer Sunday afternoon has become something of an institution in Bangor, attracting visitors from the city and beyond.

“They are lovely events with a great atmosphere, regardless of whether or not the sun is shining, and the audiences are always respectful of each other and of their surroundings.”

Mayor Alistair Cathcart, a long-time backer of the Ward Park summer events, said: “Since the Open House Festival was first organised in 2013, it has continued to grow year on year, bringing an exciting mix of international artists, homegrown talent and household names to Bangor.

“This summer’s packed programme of live events offers another exciting mix of entertainment with something for everyone to enjoy.

“I am really looking forward to it and I hope all of our residents, and visitors to the borough, enjoy the many events on offer.”

Picnic In The Park events are staged at Ward Park’s bandstand from 3pm to 5pm.

Anyone attending can bring a picnic plus their own chairs and blankets, sunscreen, and a bin bag to take their rubbish home in.

The organisers are also urging people to walk to the park if possible, or take public transport; if visitors feel they have to drive, the organisers ask them to be considerate to local residents and use one of many nearby car parks.