Borne out of their own sons’ musical pursuits at young ages, Sunflowerfest organisers husband and wife Michael and Vanessa Magowan have worked tirelessly over the past years to develop the leading family-friendly force in the local music and arts scene.
Each year Sunflowerfest fosters a family-friendly spirit of community, co-creation and inclusivity – in keeping with national WISE and GIST education initiatives – which will be seen on Tubby’s farm at Hillsborough from July 28-30, as the festival proudly showcases Northern Ireland’s technological and creative heritage, with installations across the site demonstrating a unique world-class fusion of art and science in keeping with this year’s overall festival theme, ‘A Parallel Universe.’
Having become an integral and respected part of local families’ summer diaries, with a huge range of interactive family-friendly music, art, theatre and comedy activities available across the weekend, the festival will have something to offer all backgrounds and interests. This year, an exciting new partnership with NI Science Festival will offer even more ambitious opportunities for young people to express their creativity in an inclusive and educational environment including features from W5, with more to be announced.
As always, Sunflowerfest’s KidsZone, led by Aoife Maguire and Barra Doherty, will deliver exciting arts activities that celebrate creativity and actively encourage the talents and imaginations of young people. Kids can look forward to getting their hands dirty with interactive arts and science projects as well as joining in on educational workshops in collaboration with Sunflowerfest charity partners RSPB and The Eden Project Communities, who will continue to give children opportunities to learn about the natural world and the greater community.
Following their time in the KidsZone, young people and their parents are also encouraged to get in touch with their inner bliss in the Tonic Health & Wellness area of the festival. Tonic @ Sunflowerfest will highlight a range of wellbeing options on offer for individuals and families providing a range of natural therapies, creativity & wellbeing, crafts, products, workshops, yoga, tai chi, dance, fitness, readings, a healthy kids area, sound baths, drumming circles and many other immersive performances and experiences, offering time-out to festival goers while promoting a healthy way of life.
“A summer music festival isn’t always the first place parents would think to take their kids, but Sunflowerfest has really cultivated a family friendly atmosphere over the years which organisers and guests alike have helped to nourish,” said Aoife Maguire, KidsZone organiser. “Not only are many of the kids’ activities hosted in a safe and secure dedicated space within the farm, but the camp sites as well are kept separate for families and non-families to ensure everyone gets the festival experience they desire, and this year there are added camping options for families including staying in sustainable cardboard ‘Kartents’ as well as glamping with Yippee tents. With all of us living such ‘plugged-in’ lifestyles these days, Sunflowerfest offers great opportunities for families to unplug, reconnect, and get back to nature on Tubby’s Farm.”
Continuing the legacy of last year’s Tourism NI’s Year of Food and Drink venue during the festival, organisers have also partnered with one of Northern Ireland’s most well-known home-grown eateries, Boojum, who will join forces this year to help keep families and artists fed and watered for the duration of the festival.
Guests of all ages can also look forward to additional foodie treats including, cooking demonstrations, bake offs and tastings by catering students from SERC, Lisburn showcasing the best in Northern Irish food and drink.
Staunch advocates of getting young people involved in music at a young age, this year’s festival will see the introduction of two unique programmes which will prove Sunflowerfest’s investment in helping to foster the next generation of talent. Up-and-coming talent will take to the stage after coming through the Sunflowerfest ‘Roots’ and ‘School of Rock’ programmes which have seen young musicians and bands paired with industry experts to gain advice and training to help achieve their musical dreams.
Sunflowerfest, a community interest company acknowledges Tourism NI, Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council and 2017 charity partner, RSPB for their support in continuing to make Sunflowerfest the leading family-friendly festival in Northern Ireland.
Early bird tickets have sold out but Tier 2 Tickets for Sunflowerfest now available at just £74.95 (includes 2 children, aged 15 and under) and £64.95 for students – now available online at www.sunflowerfest.co.uk.