Arts, culture and music

Mount Stewart Conversations 14 & 15 October 2017

Mount Stewart house, and the world famous gardens, will come alive with an eclectic mix of activities and entertainment including dance, music, and art.

Mount Stewart Conversations has teamed up with two cutting edge arts partners: Seedhead Arts and Beyond Skin, in order to create stellar line-up of free entertainment and workshops during the two-day festival.

World-class performances

Leading the Beyond Skin programme will be talks and workshops from two critically acclaimed, international musicians: Dave Randall and Justin Adams. This is the first time that either guitarist will give a talk or lead an intimate masterclass for Northern Ireland audiences.

Audiences with Dave Randall & Justin Adams

Dave Randall is a musician, writer and activist. He has contributed to Grammy Award winning albums by Dido and toured the world playing guitar with Faithless, Sinead O'Connor, Emiliana Torrini and others.

Dave will deliver an illustrated talk about music and politics, based on his new book: ‘Sound System: The Political Power of Music.’ It's a book of raves, riots and revolution, looking at examples from Beethoven to Beyoncé and poses the question: how can we make music serve the interests of the many, rather than the few? Dave will follow his talk with a quirky workshop called the ‘Rock ‘n’ Sausage Roll Guitar Masterclass.’ You read that right – there will of course be sausage rolls (of the vegan kind) to cater for all rock n roll wanabes.

Joining Dave at the top of the bill will be Mercury Prize-nominated Justin Adams, widely considered to be one of U.K.’s most original guitarists. Justin is known for co-writing The Robert Plant album ‘Mighty Rearranger’ and playing with Plant’s band the Strange Sensation around the world. Working alongside improvising musicians from the London Musicians Collective, Punk pioneers such as Mark P. and Jah Wobble (with whom he co-wrote 3 albums, one nominated for a Mercury Prize), and trailblazers such as Johnny Marr and Natacha Atlas, he honed his style into a coherent and original whole album on the solo album Desert Road, hailed as a masterpiece by Songlines and Froots magazines.

2017 saw the release of his abstract "Ribbons" album , which was nominated by Songlines magazine as a Top Ten album of the year.

At Mount Stewart Conversations Festival Justin will lead a talk on ‘Music in Exile’ and later treat a small group of budding guitarists to a Sahara Blues Guitar Masterclass. This is the first time that Justin has offered NI music lovers a chance to learn from the master.

Other activities confirmed to date include:

  •  Question of Utopia Arts (paints)
  •  South Indian Arts/Crafts
  •  Lydian MindHarp (digital sound crafting)
  •  Ukulele Workshop
  •  Jamaican Dance
  •  Sound & Healing
  •  Sahara Blues Guitar Masterclass (Justin Adams 1st Sept)
  •  Rock ‘n’ Sausage Roll Guitar Masterclass (Dave Randall 2nd Sept).

Listen to the sound bowls from last year's festival

Friends of Mount Stewart Conversations Festival 2017

Friends of Mount Stewart Conversations Festival

Mount Stewart Conversations Festival is delivered with the support of a number of leading funding bodies, charities and cultural organisations.