Quarter Block Party
For the past two years, the Quarter Block Party has been shining a new light on one of Cork’s oldest quarters. From 3 to 5 February, this public arts festival focuses on fostering new audiences and strong community bonds through a diverse programme that includes music, theatre and art. The festival brings colour, energy and life to North and South Main Streets, the historic spine of the city. Visitors can enjoy unusual events in unexpected places, such as pop-up and public art events in shops, outdoor spaces or in unique venues such as St Peter’s Church, Triskel Arts Centre and Spailpín Fánach.
The strong music line-up sees established and rising stars of the Irish music scene playing across the weekend. Brigid Mae Power returns to the Quarter Block Party having released an alluring folk wonder of an album recorded in Portland, Oregon, with Peter Broderick. The pair have created a landscape of dream and beauty that will fill St. Peter’s Church on the first night of the weekend.
Myles Manley is another Leeside favourite. The Sligo folk star has jousted through jubilant and bizarre pop protest songs over the past few years. He will be in good company with Skinner, an up and coming Dubliner who has gained some attention for his visceral delivery and unrefined approach towards songwriting of great humour.
Ganglions are math pop post punk with Cork accents via the UK. Expect noodly guitars, gang vocals, riffs and striking harmonies from this exciting outfit. Lōwli, yet another exciting up and coming group in Cork, have created a distinctive and alternative sound of haunting vocal melodies and emotive lyrics surrounded by dark, orchestral-influenced instrumentation.
This year will also sees the return of Sing Along Social, the zero commitment choir led by Aoife McElwain who guides the crowd through a host of pop hits. This was a huge success at Electric Picnic and Body & Soul last year and is sure to draw a big crowd once again.
The live art programme will explore the female body in art. Cork’s Dancer in Residence Laura Murphy, along with last year’s Running up that Hill choreographer Cathy Walsh, and Kerry’s Dancer in Residence Maria Svenson join forces for a triple bill, showing Stanza, Time Piece and The Importance of Shepherds. Snake Talk, from Oakland California also looks set to make a mark at the festival. This third-wave feminist proposal nestled within an extreme and often uncomfortable aesthetic framework harnesses the somewhat terrifying aesthetic of the “zany” (as delineated by feminist cultural theorist Sianne Ngai) to confront, consume and transmute patriarchal and neoliberalist frameworks.
Visitors to the festival are also invited to enjoy the street art and participate themselves. The public are invited to find the specially crafted machine that dispenses fragments of paradise, bits of poetry written in response to the historic streets that the festival takes place on. Cork poets and festival artists write about their thoughts on paradise to create a space among the parking tickets and lotto tickets.
Coleman’s Lane will house Visual artist Michael Cleary’s project, Alternative Route. Cleary constructs simple sculptural devices that allow fences to be utilised as sites of temporary occupation/places of rest, or possibly conversation. He’ll host a ladder making workshop over the weekend for all to attend.
Artist and community activist Kate O’ Shea presents Volxküche (People’s Kitchen), celebrating the power of food to bring people together. Enjoy group cooking, eating together, community-discussion about food, art and the street.
Field biologist and conservationist Darragh Murphy will guide groups on fascinating tours focusing on Cork’s urban history that has influenced the city’s modern ecology, and taking a close look at the wildlife housed in the city’s cracks and hidden crannies. There will also be a selection of panel discussions throughout the weekend including a live How Music Works with Nialler 9 and guests, DJ workshops with Gash Collective and much, much more as the Quarter Block Party opens your mind to new ideas and a host of exciting, challenging artists.