Major festivals in Magherafelt and Bellaghy planned to mark Seamus Heaney anniversary

Seamus Heaney
Seamus Heaney

Two arts festivals marking the first anniversary of Seamus Heaney’s death are being planned for south Derry.

The On Home Ground Festival will once again be held in Magherafel while Bellaghy Village Regeneration Group are also proposing to hold a poetry event to coincide with the Nobel Laureate’s death.

Magherafelt District Council heard that discussions recently took place with Mr James Kerr from the Verbal Arts Group to discuss the On Home Ground Festival.

Policy and development officer Ann Marie Campbell explained that the festival will be run by Laurel Villa in Partnership with the Verbal Arts Group.

“This is very exciting given what the Verbal Arts Group will bring to the event,” she told the monthly meeting.

The Verbal Arts Group will be the lead partner and have requested the council to consider becoming a partner to provide: local business liaison, local community liaison, event management support, box office support, volunteering liasion with the Northern Regional College, PR/town centre dressing.

The On Home Ground Festival will open with BBC news live broadcasts from Magherafelt followed by a series of workshops for schools, cultural history, poetry readings, keynote conservations and musical experience featuring a leading artiste.

Mrs Campbell said a partnership with the Verbal Arts Group “would be extremely beneficial to this event and the profile of the district.”

She pointed out that it will also be beneficial in the planning and development of the Heaney Centre in Bellaghy.