Not long now until 12th Stendhal Festival
The Multi-award-winning Stendhal Festival, based in Limavady, Co. Derry/Londonderry prides itself on being a melting pot of culture in Northern Ireland.
A space where a pop-up community forms for the weekend to embrace all things creative and the inclusivity of the arts.
Following on from a troubled couple of years for the live music sector, Stendhal, which was the first large scale outdoor event of any kind to run in the Island of Ireland post lockdowns and covid restrictions, is back for a 12th year and is headlined by gay icons Sister Sledge.
When Joni Sledge died in 2017, the website TheOutFront.com opened their obituary of the singer by saying, “Every gay man who’s ever been on a dance floor or attended a Pride Parade knows the words to ‘We are Family.’ In fact, it’s practically required for getting one’s ‘official’ Gay Card.”
Before her death, however, Joni did an interview with TheGAVoice.com, and when she was asked how it made her feel that the song had become an anthem for the gay community, she gave a truly great answer.
“I asked a reporter once why the (LGBT) community embraced us so much,” said Joni. “I mean, we really get loved on by them. The reporter responded that a lot of times, (LGBT) people are ostracized by their own family members. They see us loving each other and singing about family and they feel like we’re their sisters and that this is a family. And it is. We just say to them, ‘Thank you for sharing your love and accepting and embracing us, too.’ We should all just love and embrace each other.”
Festival Director Ross Parkhill told GNI that he hopes that Sister Sledge will attract a lot of members of the LBGTQ+ community to the festival for the first time and says that inclusivity is a massive part of the community the festival has and continues to cultivate.
“It’s so important to us that there is something for everyone at the festival,” Ross said, “The Festival is primarily a celebration of our Northern Irish culture through Music, art, comedy and all things creative and in a post conflict society we think it is so, so important to remember what we have come through as a people and embrace every aspect of culture that makes where we live so diverse and creative.”
Ross concluded: “We celebrate this through our music and our art and we can’t wait for Sister Sledge to take to the stage this summer, along with all the other amazing artists on the bill across the weekend.”
Stendhal Festival takes place at Ballymully Cottage Farm, Limavady, on June 30th to July 2nd