A 'Swell' time in store for Portrush

Creative community festival to take place in the resort this weekend

A 'Swell' time in store for Portrush

The Swell Festival programme includes a performance by 'Natalia and Ciara' at the Atlantic Bar on Saturday, October 2.

By Damian Mullan


By Damian Mullan



A FESTIVAL taking place in Portrush this weekend might just turn out to be one of the most creative and unforgettable events in the north coast’s history.

Founded by a small group of volunteers, Swell Festival has received phenomenal support from local businesses and organisations.

They have come together to celebrate what is special about living in the small coastal community and to promote the benefits of spending time in, on and by the sea.

The first 'Swell' experiment took place last Halloween, during the second lockdown and in the midst of Storm Aidan.

Understandably, the original plans were severely curtailed as a result.

And, while we’re not totally out of the woods yet, the organisers have come back with a vibrant and varied programme reminding people of the power of connection with each other and with nature in difficult times.

This weekend's programme features boating, sustainable local food offerings, sea swimming, art, crafts, yoga and live music - as well as events hosted by North Coast World Earth, Arcadia Bathing Club and Junior Park Run.

It all kicks off with a cocktail masterclass at the Kon-tiki Boat Bar and finishes with a live performance from renowned local musician Ken Haddock at the Atlantic Bar with the programme continuing to grow day by day.

Organiser Gemma Reid explained: “We have been overwhelmed by the support we have received from local businesses, community groups and freelance creatives.

“It is so heartening that people can come together in this way to support each other; Portrush really is a very special place.

“The ethos of the festival is an antidote to large crowds, with opportunities to enjoy and explore our coastal environment whilst finding the everyday magic in our beautiful community.

“The Swell Portrush team is reviewing the situation on a daily basis, ensuring that everybody’s safety is of paramount importance.

"With this in mind, we continue to strive to adapt and offer moments of joy and connection for the benefit of our mental and physical wellbeing," she added.

Charlotte Henry, meanwhile, paid tribute to all those who had helped plan the weekend.

“Special thanks must go to Portrush Community Enterprises who have enabled us to include a live music programme called Trad Trail, as well as some original graffiti window art by local artist Katy Kellerman and equipment for a community beach clean," she said.

“We’re really excited by how things are shaping up - it’s going to be a great weekend!"

Most events and activities are completely free and, if you’re interested in taking part, you can keep track of what’s going on through the Swell Festival Facebook page and Instagram feed (@swellfestivalportrush).

Any questions or queries can also be sent to swellportrush@gmail.com.

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