Live at The Open

Live at The Open

There'll be plenty of entertainment away from the golf during The 148th Open.

By Damian Mullan

Reporter:

By Damian Mullan

Email:

sport@thechronicle.uk.com

A SEVEN day programme of unmissable entertainment is coming to Portrush to mark the historic return of The Open.

‘Live at The 148th Open’ will feature big bands, artisan markets and golf experiences to celebrate what is set to be our biggest ever sporting occasion.

Alongside this, free music performances will take place in bars throughout Causeway Coast and Glens, sharing the festival-feel borough-wide.

Organised by Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council in partnership with Tourism NI, Live at The 148th Open takes place from July 15-21, coinciding with the much anticipated golf championship which is set to attract 215,000 spectators.

Looking ahead to the event, the Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, Councillor Sean Bateson said: “This fantastic programme of events promises seven days of unmissable entertainment in Portrush and the wider area. Our homegrown talent, from musicians to artisan producers, will be the focal point of our activities as we aim to celebrate the region and showcase our renowned hospitality to the thousands of people who will travel here to attend The Open.

"We want to ensure this is a week which will live long in all our memories.”

In Portrush, Antrim Gardens will be transformed into a golf experience zone, with have-a-go activities including the ‘washing machine challenge’ made famous by a very young Rory McIlroy and free golf lessons from PGA pros.

The site will be home to a ‘history of golf’ exhibition curated specially for the week by Portrush Heritage Group. It will tell the intriguing story of how the resort has been shaped by golf since the mid 1800s, brought to life by historical characters and displays which pay homage to the sport’s past and present.

Station Square will become a platform for up to 30 traders from Causeway Speciality Market and Naturally North Coast and Glens Artisan Market, with an emphasis on good food, local produce and quirky crafts. Located on the doorstep of the famous Barry’s Amusements and close to the historic Town Hall, this promises to be an experience for all the senses and our artisan traders look forward to sharing their produce and stories with you.

For live entertainment and family fun, visit Kerr Street Green overlooking the Harbour and the magnificent West Bay for music, dance and a kids’ talent competition. There’ll be lots of seaside themed games and props to enjoy along with Tourism NI’s Golf Simulator game offering a virtual reality experience of the course at Royal Portrush.

A ‘headline’ act will take to the stage each evening with a range of musical styles including traditional, folk, jazz and opera all featuring throughout the week. Look out for the internationally acclaimed Northern Ireland Opera, a Johnny Cash inspired gig by the Junior Johnston Band and the Causeway Coast’s own Dandy Lyons.

In an exciting coup for Portrush, BBC NI will broadcast a brand new programme live from Kerr Street Green throughout the week. ‘Open For Summer’ will help celebrate the arrival of The 148th Open with a mix of chat, guest appearances and pre-recorded pieces with a focus on local people and stories.

Beyond this, a bespoke trail of up to 60 free music gigs will take place in bars in Ballycastle, Ballymoney, Coleraine, Limavady, Portrush and Portstewart, providing free evening entertainment across the destination with appearances by cover bands and traditional artists to look forward to. If you’re a fan of our award-winning Atlantic Sessions festival then you won’t want to miss this!

There’ll also be appearances throughout the week from some ‘big head’ characters created by former students of NWRC in Limavady. These caricatures of Darren Clarke, Graeme McDowell and Rory McIlroy are very special works of art and we can’t wait for you to meet them!

The week-long festivities will finish with a bang with a spectacular fireworks display from 10.15pm with viewing available from Kerr Street in Portrush.

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