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John Muldowney

A festival for the whole family

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Swell Music & Arts Festival is an annual event for the whole family!

We pride ourselves in being a very family friendly festival. So much so that some kids have even been growing up with our annual event, attending every year with their parents.

Following last year’s festival, Angela kindly got in contact and told us about the Swell time she had with her family on the island.

We all loved Swell Festival this year. We had been in 2014 and had the best time though didn’t get around to it again for three years! I had a chat to Daisy and Ronin (kids) about what they loved and the biggest thing was the music. We went to lots of the bands and it was fantastic that the kids were up the front, loving the craic and being totally safe at the same time. Poetry performance was a big highlight!

Family camping was fantastic. Security helped us with our stuff when we arrived. It was brilliant sitting outside our tent and listening to the music at night, so had the best of both not missing out on any music. Loved how it was all so close together, like going to a gig in your garden! The cafe at the site was brilliant, lovely having it to call into for breakfast. There was such a great selection of food trucks we didn’t bother using our BBQ.

Thank you for such a fantastic experience from start to finish. I couldn’t recommend it highly enough for anyone with kids. We’ll be back next year, looking forward to it already!

We welcome children of all ages, as long as they are supervised by a guardian at all times. Underage teenagers can get to enjoy their first festival experience, while children 12 and under even go free!

We look forward to welcome many families to this year’s Swell Music & Arts Festival (27-29 July, 2018) which promises to be another memorable one. Click here to book your tickets

Orchid Collective, Jinx Lennon and more highlights

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Orchid Collective and Jinx Lennon are just two further highlights at this year’s Swell Music & Arts Festival.

With less than four weeks to go until our fifth annual festival on the beautiful island of Arranmore, we are pleased to reveal further acts joining this year’s line-up.

We have a number of acts returning this year following an appearance at Swell ’17. Besides Accidents In The Workplace returning from The Wee County, we are thrilled that Dublin outfit Orchid Collective will yet again appear.

Having just released their latest single (Otherside) in June, the four-piece have a busy month ahead of them before their hit the island, performing in Galway, Buncrana and Listowel, with more dates to be announced.

It’s over ten years since ‘Noisemaker’, the episode of the RTÉ One documentary series Arts Lives, which also propelled Damien Dempsey to stardom, put Louth artist Jinx Lennon into the national spotlight. Since then the Irish punk poet from Dundalk has built a loyal following with his rap-style vocals and hard-hitting topics.

As a not-for-profit festival our goal is to provide a platform for both established, and emerging artists. It’s great to see bands grow and therefore we are so delighted to see the return of Donegal band, Aul Boy.

The four-piece are an indie-rock type quartet that combine the sounds of New York, California and Donegal in a genre-jumping collage of clever lyrics, loose guitars and tight rhythms. Sometimes sharp and noisy, sometimes light and poppy, sometimes big and spacey, always groovy.

Alos making a welcome return to this year’ Swell, following a performance on The Mountain Stage in 2017, are Tanjier. From performing at major festivals around the country, the Dublin trio make a welcome return with their catchy electro pop music.

In other line-up news, Earagail Arts Festival have just added Dirty Faces to the line-up of Distorted Perspectives on The Mountain Stage on Saturday night. For further acts on the Kinnegar Brewing-sponsored stage, including none other than The California Feetwarmers, click here.

Earlier this month we of course announced that Portferry’s Ryan McMullan and Derry band The Wood Burning Savages, two of Ireland’s biggest rising acts, will be appearing.

Tickets are on sale now! We hope to see many of you at this year’s fifth annual Swell Music & Arts Festival on Arranmore Island, Co Donegal, July 27 to 29.

Join the Swell family and be a Volunteer

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Would you like to be a volunteer at this year’s Swell Music & Arts Festival?

Swell is a not-for-profit festival which wouldn’t be possible without the dedication of volunteers who give their time free-of-charge both during the event and throughout the year to make it happen – All of the love of music and bringing people to our beautiful county.

Volunteers play a really important role at Swell and tasks can include a variety of activities including ushering, box office, technical support, administration and more.

Would you like to join these two dedicated gentlemen (Above: Festival founder John Muldowney and Orri McBrearty) on the island of Arranmore this July?

We would love to hear from you! Simply send us an e-mail to with the Subject: VOLUNTEER (Applicants must be 18+) and please send us answers to the following questions:

Why do you want to be a volunteer at Swell Music & Arts Festival?

Tell us about your current and past volunteer experiences.

What have you enjoyed most about previous volunteer positions?

Be part of the Swell family and have the adventure of a lifetime on beautiful Arranmore Island (July 27 to 29). Tickets are selling really fast, so anyone else thinking of coming, be sure to get your tickets soon, we have a fantastic line-up for our fifth anniversary!

Earagail Arts Festival hosts The Mountain Stage

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Our good friends at Earagail Arts Festival return this year again to host The Mountain Stage, sponsored by Kinnegar Brewing.

This year’s Mountain Stage programme in The Barn – Ireland’s only nomadic, agricultural outbuilding created by Belfast-based artist, inventor and explorer Paddy Bloomer – has been extended to three days, opening on Friday night.

Day 1 – Stendhal Festival Presents (Friday)
We’re delighted to welcome a selection of artists curated by Earagail Arts Festival’s partners at Stendhal Festival, Northern Ireland’s largest independent festival. Artists appearing inlude Rosborough, Waldorf & Cannon, No Oil Painting and Hunkpapa. Check out the line-up for Stendhal including a special EAF curated line-up of Donegal’s finest at over the weekend of 10th & 11th August.

Day 2 – Distorted Perspectives (Saturday)
Featuring three days of electronica, contemporary, traditional and folk artists in music and spoken word, The Mountain Stage will host local emerging artists, national and international guests from Ireland, Scotland and the USA in The Barn. Lineup: Donal Dineen, Slow Place Like Home, The Bonk, Alien She, Strength NIA, Shammen Delly, People That Listen To The Sky, F12, Distorted Perspectives DJS.

Day 3 – The California Feetwarmers (Sunday)
Sunday presents a programme celebrating Gaelic culture, and transatlantic folk & roots. Commencing with an afternoon of Irish and Scottish Gaelic song and spoken word with contributors Anne Martin, Eithne Ní Chatháin Eoghan Mac Giolla Bhríde agus Niall Hackett, a performance by the Gaelic electronic duo Whyte plus a few surprise guests throughout the day, The Mountain Stage will draw to a close with the fun-lovin’ masters of ragtime, Dixieland blues and early swing, The California Feetwarmers!

The 5th annual Swell Music & Arts Festival takes place on Arranmore Island, Co Donegal, from July 27 to 29. Tickets are on sale now! Click here

Limited Islander rate tickets now on sale

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A limited amount of Islander rate tickets for this year’s Swell Music & Arts Festival Festival (July 27 to 29) are on sale!

We are very grateful for the phenomenal support you have shown this festival on your beautiful home island of Arranmore.

As always, as a ‘thank you’ and a token of our appreciation to the Arranmore community, a limited amount of Islander tickets has been made available.

The Islander tickets, which are being sold on a ‘first come, first serve’ basis for only €40, can be purchased in person at Early’s Bar, by contacting Jerry Early on Mobile 0878054246 or by sending a direct message to the Early’s Bar Facebook page. Don’t forget, there is only a very limited amount of additional Islander tickets, so purchase them quickly!

A member of the Swell team will also be on island this weekend. So feel free to contact us by direct message. Don’t forget, there is only a very limited amount of additional Islander tickets, so purchase them quickly!

If you do miss out on the Islander tickets, we would still love to see many of you at the festival as your support is very important to us. Day passes will still be available on the website.

Please note that day passes are €35, so you are better off getting your Islander rate ticket quickly and having the option to go all weekend.

Anyone purchasing tickets, please understand that we are selling these at a special rate to the island community as a ‘Thank You’ so please treat this with respect. We thank you all for your understanding and support.

We would like to stress to all others still interested in attending this year’s Swell Music & Arts Festival that tickets are selling very, very fast and we are nearing full capacity. So be sure to purchase your tickets as soon as possible!

Thank you all for your continued support, we look forward to seeing you at this year’s fifth annual Swell Music & Arts Festival, July 27-29! It’s going to be an amazing weekend!

We have already announced some of the biggest highlights of this year’s line-up. To find out more, click here!

Ryan McMullan, The Wood Burning Savages & More

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Ryan McMullan and The Wood Burning Savages are just two of the highlights appearing at this year’s Swell Festival.

In less than seven weeks we will be welcoming people to the beautiful island of Arranmore off the coast of Donegal and as we celebrate our fifth anniversary, this is sure to be one of the best line-ups we’ve had to-date.

Portaferry’s Ryan McMullan has been building a great reputation in the music scene on the island of Ireland for years. Since opening for Ed Sheeran on European tour in 2017, his career has reached new heights and we are so thrilled that he will be joining us for the very first time.

What can we say about The Wood Burning Savages. Close friends to the festival, the Derry band has appeared at Swell on a number of occasions. Their debut album Stability has been receiving rave reviews both at home and abroad. If you haven’t seen TWBS live before, you are in for a high octane performance that will have you rocking out!

While they are first-timers to the Swell Festival line-up, Ye Vagabonds are no strangers to Arranmore. In fact, the folk duo has very close family ties to the island and are regular visitors which will make their appearance particularly special.

Over the years we have had many bands return to the festival and we are so thrilled that Accidents In The Workplace are once again appearing. One of the highlights of 2017, the funky Louth band and their charismatic lead singer Lauren Murphy are sure to bring the house down, yet again.

Other acts appearing include For Foresters, Kneecap, Gaze Is Ghost, Without Willow, TPM,Thumper and many more. Keep posted on our social media sites for further updates in the coming weeks.

The 5th annual Swell Music & Arts Festival takes place at Rannagh Strand, the home of Arranmore United FC, from July 27 to 29, and tickets are on sale now! Click here!

Get your special rate tickets, we’re moving!

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Swell Music & Arts Festival is delighted to announce that we are going west!

Our milestone fifth festival will be hosted on the west side of the island at Rannagh Strand, Aphort thanks to the generosity of Arranmore United Football Club.

To celebrate the announcement of our new location, we have just posted a limited run of 25 special rate tickets priced at only €50pp + €5.81 booking fee.

Organiser, John Muldowney said he is grateful to the club’s committee for offering their site to host what he hopes will be the biggest and most successful year to-date.

He said: “As we are a not-for-profit festival, we rely on a lot of support from not only individuals, but also larger organisations to host this annual event, which we are pleased to say attracts a lot of tourism to the island and county!

“The committee of Arranmore United recognises the value of Swell Festival as something that brings new faces to the island have gone out of their way to make things happen for us.”

“The people who have come year on year and supported the festival are going to be very excited about our new location, overlooking Rannagh Strand and the beautiful Atlantic ocean.

“We have been working hard to build on the success of 2017, which was our best year to-date. For 2018 we want to continue to showcase new Irish talent, as well as some top musical acts.

“Thanks to the support of the Irish language community, we also hope to build on the promotion of our native tongue as part of this festival hosted in Donegal’s Gaeltacht.”

The Swell Music & Arts Festival will take place at Arranmore United Football Club, Rannagh Strand, Aphort, Arranmore from Friday, July 27 to Sunday, July 29.

And don’t forget the limited run of 25 special rate tickets are now on sale! Once they’re gone, they’re gone!

Follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook: @SwellFestival

Emerald X20 Opus Draw in aid of Swell 2018

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Would you like to be in with a chance to win a beautiful Irish-made electro acoustic guitar?

In our continued effort to raise funds for our annual not-for-profit festival on Arranmore, we are delighted to be announcing our draw for an X20 Opus, thanks to the support of Emerald Guitars.

This is a fantastic opportunity to win a beautiful carbon fibre guitar made right here in Donegal, complete with LR Baggs Element Active System pickup and custom-padded gig bag which retails at €1,670.

The draw is strictly limited to 200 and they are €25 per ticket. All proceeds will go towards programming Swell Festival 2018 which will mark its fifth anniversary.

The draw will take place on Christmas Eve, 24th December 2017, and the winner will be announced on our social media sites, meaning one lucky punter will have a very Happy Christmas!

Are you still missing a Christmas present for someone who happens to be a guitar lover? Then enter them into this draw while tickets last! Click here to purchase your ticket!

Send us your Swell Memories

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We want to keep the buzz from this year’s Swell weekend going all the way into next year and for that, we would love your help!

It was such a beautiful weekend on Arranmore and with all the fun-filled festivities no doubt many of you took some amazing pictures at this year’s Swell Music & Arts Festival and we would love to see them.

Send us your favourite photos from this year’s Swell and, with your permission, we would love to share them over the coming year.

No doubt, you also have some great stories from the weekend to tell us. Who was your favourite act? What was your favourite moment? Did you go exploring the island and caught the sunrise by lighthouse? We would love to hear your stories!

Send an email with the Subject: Swell Memories to and send your favourite Swell 20017 photos and stories.

We look forward to hearing from you and thank you all for continuing to support Swell Music & Arts Festival. Go raibh mile maith agaibh!

Parking restrictions in Burtonport this weekend

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This weekend’s Swell Music & Arts Festival on Arranmore coincides with the beginning of the 41st annual Burtonport Festival.

Parking will therefore be limited in the pier area and car park and some areas will be closed due to ongoing festival proceedings.

We recommend that patrons attending our festival try to arrive in Burtonport as early as possible to find suitable and safe parking for your motor vehicle.

Please respect the Burtonport community and do not leave your vehicle in a location that may cause an obstruction to local traffic.

We would like to take this opportunity to wish the organisers of the Burtonport Festival (July 21 to 29) all the very best for their annual week-long festivities.

For anyone interested in attending this year’s Swell Music & Arts Festival that full weekend and day passes are selling very, very fast and we are nearing full capacity. So be sure to purchase your tickets as soon as possible!

There are also important details you need to know about the ferries here. Thank you all for your continued support, we look forward to seeing you at this year’s Swell Music & Arts Festival! It’s going to be an amazing weekend!