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Creative focus for Ballycarry’s Broadisland...

24 August 2016

Ballycarry's annual Broadisland Gathering festival will be focusing on the theme of creativity within the Ulster Scots community this year.

The 200th anniversary year of the death of local bard James Orr, the foremost of the Weaver Poets, has played an important part in the decision to examine creativity through writing, music and the arts.

The organisers plan to have a few literary characters from the past participating in the annual Gathering Day, on Saturday, September 3 and there will also be a special Creativity Night on August 30 which will including readings of Orr poetry as well as modern Ulster Scots bloggers, singers, photographers, crafts people and writers.

This year’s history bus tour will take visitors from Ballycarry to Larne and beyond, with a focus on local writers, poets, actors and actresses along the way and it is hoped to have some literary and arts figures from the past return to discuss their lives and times.

In addition there will be a creative cookery night when it is hoped a few local celebrities will participate and display their culinary skills.

The Gathering is also continuing to outreach to other cultures and traditions, following an extremely successful Culture Night as part of the Gathering last year. This year a major Irish folk group will be participating, along with Ulster Scots musicians.

The main Saturday of the Gathering will include big names in the Ulster Scots music scene such as Stonewall and Risin’ Stir.

The events will be staged around the Fairhill area of the village and the new amphitheatre and are being supported by the Ulster Scots Agency, Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, Forever Living Products, Vets4pets, Larne Community Media Ltd, Irish Salt Mining and Exploration Co. Ltd and Cannon Hyundai.

The events of the 24th Gathering will be held over a period from August 26th to September 4 and Festival Director Dr. David Hume said that new groups, artists and events will be complemented by the traditional format including the townland banners parade and vintage vehicle cavalcade.

“This will be the 24th Broadisland Gathering and the event will celebrate the achievement of maintaining such a high-level festival for the community over those years while also looking ahead to a major milestone next year,” he said.

“The theme of creativity is a very important one, for without creative thinkers cultures do not develop and grow. There have been many writers, thinkers, artists and creative people from within the Ulster Scots community including James Orr, so it is an appropriate time to focus on them,” he added.

The Gathering started with some creative ideas of its own in 1993 -  revival of the old village fair, last held in the 1930s, and also highlighting the Scottish roots of the village community.

The event first took place in 1993 with the aim of raising funds for the General Sir James Steele Memorial Fund, and developed into an annual event which has, on average, attracted between 3,000 and 5,000 people into the village including visitors from many different parts of the world.