Bowie Festival Falls to Dublin

All you pretty things! The annual Dublin Bowie Festival returns for its fourth edition from January 7-13.

Fans of the legendary singer are in for a treat with the week-long event set to celebrate 50 years of his iconic record Space Oddity. Organisers promise an unbelievable line-up of musicians, photographers, artists, writers, DJs, designers and even an astronaut or two.

To mark Bowie’s ground-breaking 1969 album – along with that year’s moon landing – the festival has joined forces with Blackrock Castle Observatory’s Dr Niamh Shaw. She, along with the country’s top astronauts and space experts, will celebrate all things cosmos.

“Dublin Bowie Festival 2019 is ready to launch to the stars as we celebrate these momentous anniversaries,” says festival organiser John Brereton in a statement. “We are particularly delighted to have lots of family friendly events in the program too so there’s something there for everyone to enjoy.”

Kicking off the festival on Monday, January 7 is a world premiere exclusive performance of Space Oddity from start to finish by the I Heart Bowie ensemble. They will perform the LP, as well other classics from the singer, alongside the Trinity Orchestra and some very special guest singers in the National Concert Hall.

The festival will collaborate with MCD as they host the Irish performance of A Bowie Celebration in The Olympia Theatre, Wednesday January 9. Comprising of five key members of Bowie’s band over his long career – Mark Plati, Carmine Rojas, Earl Slick, Dubliner Gerry Leonard and Bowie’s longest serving sidekick, pianist Mike Garson – the evening will feature plenty of the singer’s hits, along with some deep cuts.

Other musical highlights include a double bill at The Grand Social on Friday, January 11. It will feature Irish acclaimed tribute act Heroes from Mars as well as the only act on the planet that cover Bowie’s 1960’s material, The London Boys.

Another native cover band – Rebel Rebel – will headline The Academy on Saturday 12.
Later that night the action resumes in The Grand Social for a midnight Space Masquerade Ball featuring those rum rogues of Electric Picnic – The Salty Dog Allstars.

The festival will welcome from Sweden its most famous Jazz/Bossa Nova vocalist Miriam Aïda. She will be showcasing her new album, Loving the Alien, a 12-track reinterpretation of classic Bowie tracks in her own inimitable style in The Sugar Club on Thursday, January 10.

Also running as part of the festival is photographer Brian Duffy’s exhibition at the Ebow Art Gallery on Castle Street. Duffy had an eight-year working relationship with Bowie. He shot five key sessions with the singer over this period providing the creative concept as well as the photographic image for three album covers, including 1973’s Aladdin Sane, 1979’s Lodger and 1980’s Scary Monsters (And Super Creeps).

Another festival guest is renowned Rolling Stone photographer John Rowlands for a visual presentation and discussion of his years working with Bowie. Rowlands was tour photographer for the singer from 1974-78, capturing some of his most iconic images. Most notable is ‘The Archer’ which was featured on Times Square this Summer, advertising the V&A’s worldwide Bowie Is expo.

The Lighthouse Cinema will be involved again in the festival screening a special Bowie related program. The Smithfield location will show The Man Who Fell to Earth starring Bowie as an alien who comes to Earth to save his home planet but falls prey to humanity’s vices. The screening is particularly timely given director Nicolas Roeg’s passing in November last year.

The cinema will also screen the movie that inspired Bowie to introduce Major Tom to the universe, Stanley Kubrick’s 2001 – A Space Odyssey, as well Moon, the debut of one Duncan Jones, Bowie’s son.

For family fun, there is also 80’s musical fantasy Labyrinth, starring Bowie as a villainous goblin king. Its noon screening on Saturday 12, kicks off a family friendly day of activities in Smithfield Square. It includes talks, workshops and experiments as well as a chance to gaze up at the stars from inside a Mobile Planetarium looking at The View from Major Tom’s Tin Can.

For the festival’s space program, Dr Shaw is on board to curate an array of events based around humanity’s quest to conquer Space. Niamh is artist in residence at Blackrock Castle Observatory and will bring her knowledge to special talks, workshops, Q&A’s and even comedy improv probing the mysteries of our solar system. The festival will team up with Trinity Science Gallery for some of these events.

Over 8,000 people attended the festival last year. For more details on the 2019 programme, visit here.

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