Landmark gigs to celebrate 10 years of Atlantic Sessions

Atlantic Sessions will mark its 10th anniversary from November 15-18 this year, with live performances from Northern Ireland's finest musicians in some of the Causeway Coast's most unique landmarks.

Friday, 5th October 2018, 12:21 pm
Updated Friday, 5th October 2018, 12:24 pm

Following its sell-out success last year and its 2017 NI Tourism Award, Atlantic Sessions has attracted audiences from across the UK and Ireland who come to experience high profile artists play in the most intimate settings, with the stunning Atlantic Ocean as the backdrop.

Over 40 free gigs make up a music trail across the resorts of Portstewart and Portrush, with each musician playing their own music in intimate venues every hour. Over 20 restaurants, hotels, pubs, coffee shops, music venues are packed to the rafters across the four day festival.

In celebration of their 10th anniversary, the organisers have invited four guests to curate headline events. In addition to showcases already announced by Joe Lindsay and Ralph McLean, they are thrilled to announce that BBC Radio 1’s Phil Taggart and Third Bar’s Gary Lightbody and Davy Matchett have curated the headline Friday and Saturday events.

Showcase artists throughout the festival include All Tvvins, Anthony Toner, Arborist, Arco String Quartet, Brand New Friend, Ciara O’Neill, David C Clements, Junior Johnston, Kitt Philippa, Malojian, Matt McGinn, Neil Martin, Rosborough, Son of the Hound, Strange New Places and Susie Blue. The full programme with a further 40 free events will be announced on on Monday 15th October.

David C Clements and Strings, Rosborough and Strange New Places will be playing the Atlantic Bar in Portrush on November 17. Gary Lightbody, who curated the gig, commented: “David C Clements is one of the most extraordinary voices and songwriters to come from NI in many years. His album, The Longest Day In History, is a masterpiece. It should have been one of the biggest albums of 2016 and he should be playing arenas. He certainly writes songs that would fit perfectly in them. His next album could be even better and that’s what’s exciting: there is even better to come from him. A terrifying thought really given what he has already written. If you haven’t already heard the album or heard him sing live, then please do. Anyone I have ever turned on to his stuff has thanked me and become a fan for life. Big build up, I know, but I don’t say it lightly.

“Rosborough is of the extraordinary new breed from Derry/Londonderry (something in the water up there). A songwriter of immense skill and grace and boy can he turn a phrase! Burn Blue is one of my favourite songs from a Northern Irish artist from the last ten years with a chorus to kill for.

“Strange New Places are a band to swoon to. Ashley Jones, the lead singer’s delivery and lyrics are some of the finest of any band from NI. The song Trombone demands multiple listens as which each a new layer unfolds. And that’s the thing with Strange New Places, they reveal so much the more you hear them. I’ve had the privilege of hearing some new songs they are working on and one of those songs called “this city” is just stunning. An ode to feeling at odds with everything around you and the isolation and heartbreak that can stem from it. If we can just get to a new city, a new place then things would be better. But then, that isn’t true. Wherever we are, there we are. And this band writes so beautifully about that. What would we say to ourselves if we were brave enough be honest. A wonderful band.”

The opening night event at Flowerfield Arts Centre on November 15 is an evening of poetry and music from Frank Ormsby, Anthony Toner and Neil Martin.

Director of Snow Water and Atlantic Sessions, Carolyn Mathers, commented: “Northern Ireland is extraordinary in the richness of its talent and our artists are receiving international awards and acclaim. We’ve been overwhelmed by the number of musicians who are keen to share in our 10th anniversary celebrations, and we look forward to hosting premieres of single, EP and albums, NI Music Prize nominees and new collaborations, all with the backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean and stunning coastal scenery.”

All ticketed showcase events are on sale now. Music trail events are free of charge and no booking is necessary. For the very latest news, including tickets, accommodation and line-up information, go to