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Dublin Bowie Festival Announces 2020 Line-Up

The annual Dublin Bowie Festival returns for its fifth edition from January 8 – 12, 2020 and had its launch party yesterday night (Oct 11) in Whelan’s.

Fans of the legendary singer are in for a treat, with five days celebrating both the 50th anniversary of seminal record The Man Who Sold the World and the great Starman himself. Special guests at the upcoming festival include drummer Woody Woodmansey and producer Tony Visconti who both worked on Bowie’s 1970 masterpiece.

The two will be performing with their six-piece band Holy Holy at the Olympia on Jan 11 together with Heaven 17 mainman Glenn Gregory on vocals. The group will cover the Man Who Sold the World and Ziggy Stardust records in their entirety as well as a selection of 70’s Bowie rock n roll classics.

“The festival programme has worked out perfectly because we have Tony Visconti and Woody Woodmansey who played on that album and of course produced it,” said John Brereton, founder and director of Dublin Bowie Festival, at the launch. “I know it’s one of Tony’s favourite albums in his Bowie canon. I think their Olympia gig is going to be amazing. They’ve got a brilliant band, featuring members (James Stevenson) who’ve played with Scott Walker and The Cult.”

Visconti and Woodmansey will also take part in a Q&A event in the Royal College of Surgeons on January 12. Chaired by Tony Clayton Lea of the Irish Times, the pair will discuss the making of the album. The two lived with Bowie at his Edwardian mansion in Haddon Hall, Beckenham while recording the record.

Another highlight is The Birth of Bowie in The Sugar Club on January 10 which sees a Q&A with Phil Lancaster, Bowie’s drummer with his mid-60’s mod group The Lower Third and a live set from cover band The London Boys. The latter play exclusively songs from the singer’s 60’s period. During the event, Lancaster’s recent book At the Birth of Bowie will be profiled by guest host Pat Carty of Hot Press.

Speaking to Travel Ireland, festival organiser Eugene Connolly recommends seeing Bowie tribute act Rebel Rebel on January 10 at The Academy: “Peter Quinn [the group’s lead singer] has big tall blonde hair. He looks like Bowie but more to the point sings like him too. Every year their gig is sold out. If you traipsed around Europe, you’d be hard pushed to find a better Bowie homage than them.”

Meanwhile, Brereton encourages people to see other cover act Art Crime Inc, who will perform all of Bowie’s underrated classic Outside from 1995 at Workmans on January 11: “They played at the Grand Social last year and everyone’s jaws were dropping. It was the highlight of the festival.”

Other special events include the Glasshouse Ensemble playing the Sugar Club on January 9. Renowned for their classical interpretations of famous albums, they will be reimagining tracks from Bowie’s acclaimed Berlin Trilogy.  Throughout the festival there will also be podcast recordings, exhibitions and most notably a Bowie themed private record and memorabilia display (venue to be announced).

In regards the latter, Brereton teased what the collection will contain: “There’s some amazing stuff including an acetate of Bowie’s first ever single – the demo version. For anyone into seeing Bowie memorabilia – old flyers from pre-Ziggy days, boxsets and rare vinyls – that’s going to be really interesting.”

More events are to be announced in the lead up to the festival. For more information, visit www.dublinbowiefestival.ie/

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