Swell News & Updates

FAQ for the Swell Crew

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As this year’s Swell Music & Arts Festival quickly approaches, we have been getting a lot of queries by those attending and interested in coming.

So we have put together some frequently asked questions (FAQs) that will hopefully assist you!

It’s a beautiful day in Donegal today and we hope it continues all the way into the weekend. Have you got your tickets for Swell, yet? Click here and book them now and come enjoy an amazing weekend on Arranmore!

Are day tickets available?
YES! Day tickets are available to purchase from the website or from the box office on the day.

I am under 18, can I come to the festival alone?

NO! All under 18’s must be accompanied by an adult over 25 years of age with a valid ticket.

Do children have to buy a ticket?

All children 12 years of age and under are permitted FREE ENTRY to the festival providing, they are accompanied by an adult with a valid ticket.

Are there shower facilities?
NO. There will be some cold water available from a tap, but there will be NO shower facilities. Festival regulars recommend bringing lots of baby wipes and make sure to bring spare toilet roll and pocket tissues. We try to stock the port-a-loos as best as possible, but please be safe.

Can I light a fire or BBQ on the campsite or anywhere on the island?
NO! We would ask that you don’t light any fires anywhere on the island in respect for the generosity of the locals for allowing us to have our festival on their beautiful island. You are permitted to use a disposable BBQ in the campsite but you must tidy it up afterwards and refrain from littering.

What time does the festival finish each night?
The main scheduled acts finishes at midnight each night but there will be some pre-arranged cabaret and shenanigans til the wee hours if you wish to partake.

Can I bring my own alcohol into the festival?
We really don’t mind if you want to bring a sensible amount of your own alcohol into the campsite. Please do not bring glass bottles as they will cause a hazard if broken. This is a family festival, so please drink sensibly and refrain from over-indulgence.

NB: No bottles or containers are allowed past the main front gates into the festival site.

Is there a bar at the festival?
Yes, there will be a bar at Swell!

Is there food and drink available at the festival?
Yes, there will be a selection of vendors with different kinds of food and beverages available throughout the weekend.

What about parking camper vans?
While there is no official camper van parking, an area by site can accommodate limited parking. Names have been taken already and the rest will be filled on a first come, first serve basis.

Can I bring my car/van onto the island?
You may bring your vehicle although there will be a surcharge by the ferry company as we don’t offer car crossing with any ticket. Should you wish to do so you must book your crossing to guarantee your place, otherwise you may be delayed. Parking is at your own risk, there is no parking available on site and any vehicles causing an obstruction will be moved as we must respect the needs of islanders, as well as ensuring that emergency vehicles have access if required.

How far is the festival from the campsite?

The campsite is next to the main festival site.

How far is the festival site from the pier?

The festival is located at The Rannagh, home of Arranmore United FC, which is in Aphort, on the west side of the island. It’s about 7km from Leabgarrow Pier, but there will be shuttle busses running, €2 per trip, hop on, hop off.

Can I buy tickets on the island?
YES! When you arrive on the island you will be able to buy tickets at our ticket/registration office at the festival site.

Where do I check-in my ticket?

When you arrive on the island you will be able to check-in and receive your armband at our ticket/registration office at the festival site. Entry to festival site WILL NOT be permitted without your Swell armband. DON’T FORGET to bring a printout of your pre-purchased ticket with you!

How do I get to and from the island? (red ferry) and (blue ferry) have details of all crossings online. For anyone who has to leave on Sunday, the Arranmore (Red) Ferry has confirmed a late ferry on Sunday night/Mondaymorning, 1am. Cars must be booked in advance, limited to 7 cars, foot passengers can walk on. If you decide to bring a vehicle, you must book your crossing in advance to guarantee your place, otherwise you may be delayed as space on each ferry is limited.

Please note: While the Swell Festival is working alongside the ferry providers to accommodate the festival goers, it is ultimately the responsibility of each individual to organise their own travel plans to and from the island.

When does the festival start and end?

The festival gates will open on Friday, July 27 at 6pm. On both Saturday and Sunday mornings the gates will be opened from 10am til after midnight. The festival closes at midnight on July 29.

What are you waiting for…a weather report???

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Are you still deciding on whether or not to come to Swell…depending on the weather?

Don’t let weather forecasts hold you back, cover yourself for all eventualities and join us for what is guaranteed to be another unforgettable weekend on Arranmore, July 27 to 29.

We all know that Irish weather can be unpredictable and, in Donegal alone, it can change from one parish to the next. In our first four years we have seen it all!

We battled through heavy rainfall, held tents down in gale force winds and even had a heatwave here and there. But one thing has always been guaranteed, we’ve had a Swell time!!!

Weather forecasts by The Irish Meteorological Service Mét Éireann have indicated that Friday will be mostly cloudy, but dry; There will be sunny spells on Saturday and possibly some light showers on Sunday.

Other than that, we won’t quote any further weather forecasts, because last year’s ‘reliable’ source was predicting thunderstorms…and all we had was sunshine!!!

Wouldn’t you hate to miss Swell Music & Arts Festival if the weather does turn out to be nice. Sure we’re all used to a bit of rain and it won’t hold us back, if there does happen to be showers.

We can’t think of a better place to be in Ireland than Arranmore Island, when the weather is great. Who are we kidding, we love it, even when the weather isn’t that good.

Tickets have been selling really well again this year, so make sure to get yours here and don’t miss out on a great weekend of music, arts and possibly amazing weather at the fifth annual Swell Music & Arts Festival, Arranmore, Co Donegal, July 27-29.

Our new home on Arranmore and its history

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This weekend Swell Music & Arts Festival celebrates its fifth anniversary at The Rannagh, Aphort on the west side of Arranmore Island, Co Donegal.

Our new hosts Arranmore United FC have gone above and beyond the call of duty to accommodate us at their home grounds at Rannagh Strand from July 27-29 for which we are ever so grateful.

The Rannagh is not only the sporting centre of the island, but is also one of the central hubs of Arranmore’s fishing community.

Aphort Pier, which is in direct proximity to the football grounds, is at the heart of Arranmore fishing life and therefore there is a lot of fishing gear kept in the area. We ask that you respect the fishermen’s property and working area.

The Old Boathouse is also located beside the pitch and is a building of huge historical and emotional significance to the island community.

Not only was it the original home of the RNLI, The Old Boathouse is also a memorial to the 19 souls lost at sea in the Arranmore Disaster in 1935. The Old Boathouse is hugely important to the community and we ask that you treat it with respect, if you decide to pay a visit.

We are delighted that Arranmore Lifeboat Station’s PRO, Mrs Nora Flanagan has agreed to give a slide show presentation and talk on the history of the RNLI on the island and The Old Boathouse on Saturday at 4pm on the festival grounds.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank our hosts of the first four years of Swell Festival, Comharchumann Árainn Mhór, for their hospitality.

We look forward to welcoming you all to Arranmore Island, County Donegal, for the fifth annual Swell Music & Arts Festival, July 27-29. Tickets are still available here.

Your ‘Swellbeing’ is important to us

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We are excited to introduce a brand new feature to the festival – The Swellbeing Tent.

This new feature to Swell Music & Arts Festival is being presented by Denise & Friends of Integral Therapy Letterkenny.

Running from 10am-3pm on Saturday and Sunday, there will be yoga classes, mindfulness, meditation practices and much more.

Some of the additional things happening include automatic art, blooming dance (movin N’ being), gong baths, creative art, movement dance and sound baths. Are you intrigued? So are we!!

All the dancing and singing at a festival can take a lot of energy out of you. The Spicy Bird is back again this year and this time she will be making her Bloody Marys to wash the hangover away.

There will also be an introduction to ‘Fermentalism’! With the Scoby Shack, song and plants man teknopeasant takes you on an interactive storytelling and tasting journey into the mysterious world of probiotics –  scobies, bacteria and yeasts. Recovery or transformation? Something awaits within…

As you can tell, there are a lot of very interesting new additions to this year’s Swell Music & Arts Festival. So we hope you can join us on Arranmore Island, July 27-29. Tickets for the festival are now on sale, click here for full details.


Please make sure to book your ferries

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We’re very fortunate there are two great ferry services providing transport to and from Arranmore for Swell Music & Arts Festival, July 27 to 29.

Here is some very important information regarding the ferry services which we ask that you read thoroughly to ensure that your trip runs smoothly with either Arranmore Ferry (Red Ferry) or Arranmore Fast Ferry (Blue Ferry) to Arranmore and back to Burtonport.

Bringing your motor vehicle

Should you wish to bring your motor vehicle, you MUST book your crossing with one of the ferry companies, to AND from Arranmore to guarantee your place, otherwise you may be delayed.

Parking is at your own risk. There is no parking available on site and any vehicles causing obstruction will be moved as we must respect the needs of islanders, as well as ensuring that emergency vehicles have access, if required.

If you are thinking about bringing a camper van, please click here and read our previous blog.

Will there be late ferries on Saturday and Sunday night?

There may be late ferries on Saturday and Sunday night, but these very much depend on demand. If the companies are to put on additional ferries, they need to know that the demand will be there and the counts for both car and foot passengers. Please contact the respective ferry companies for enquiries into late runs on both nights.

Shuttle Bus to Festival Ground

We have moved to a new location and this year Swell Festival will be hosted by Arranmore United FC on their home ground at The Rannagh, Aphort, on the west side of the island. There will be a shuttle bus service to and from the grounds – hop on, hop off – €2 per journey.

We are very grateful to both ferry companies for their assistance every year with Swell Music & Arts Festival. We look forward to seeing you all for our fifth anniversary celebrations on Arranmore next weekend, July 27-29. Tickets can still be purchased here.


Bigí linn ar an toinn i mbliana arís ag Swell

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Scannal, Kneecap, Moya Brennan, Ye Vagabonds, Clann Mhic Ruairí, Inni K,  go díreach cuid dena grúpaí a bheidh le cluinstin ag Swell 2018, Féile Ceoil agus Ealaíne ar Oiléan Árainn Mhór i nDún na nGall.

Don tríú bliain as a chéile beidh Stáitse na nGael ag cur ardán ar fáil do cheoltóirí, idir óg agus aosta, atá ag cleachtadh a gceirde as Gaeilge ar an Domhnach an 27ú idir a 2 agus a 2!

‘S é Dónall Mac Ruairí, láithreoir le RTÉ Raidió Na Gaeltachta, a bheidh mar fhear a tí arís i mbliana agus é ag súil go mór le fáilte a chur roimh cheoltóirí as achan chearn den tír isteach go hOileán Árainn Mhór.

Cé go mbeidh go leor acu sin a bhí i lár an aonaigh linn arís i mbliana, Emma Ní Fhíoruisce agus JJ Ó Dochartaigh, beidh go leor ag teacht isteach thar toinn i mbliana don chéad uair agus deir Dónall go bhfuil sé ag súil go mór le seit Anne Martin as Eilean Sgitheanach i gcomhar le ceoltóirí an cheantar Eoghan Mac Giolla Bhríde, Niall Haicéad agus Micheál Danny Minnie Ó Domhnaill.

Dar ndóigh, ar na stáitsí eile, beidh ceoltóirí agus buíonta d’achan chineál Ryan McMullan, Orchid Collective, The California Feetwarmers, Accidents In The Workplace, TPM agus go leor eile nach iad.

Bigí linn ar an toinn i mbliana arís ag Féile Ceoil agus Ealaíne Swell ar Oileán Árainn Mhóir, 27ú go 29ú Iúil, gabh chuig agus lean muid ar Facebook: Swell Festival, Instagram: Swell Festival agus ar Twitter: @SwellFestival

Féile Swell ar Oileán Árainn Mhóir Co. Dhún na nGall from Meon Eile on Vimeo.


It wouldn’t be Swell without Moya Brennan & Family

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The First lady of Celtic Music, Moya Brennan, makes a very welcome return to Swell Music & Arts Festival on Arranmore Island in Donegal later this month.

As the lead singer of world-renowned Clannad, Moya has been one of the greatest ambassadors to Donegal and the Irish language for over four decades and continues to promote her native county with pride to this day.

Held in high regard by the Irish and world music industry, Moya has also built up a very strong relationship with artists of all ages through her monthly event Clubeo.

Many of those artists have also made the leap from the world famous stage at Leo’s Tavern in Meenaleck, Crolly to the stages at Swell Festival over the past few years.

Moya Brennan & Family, husband Tim Jarvis, daughter Aisling and son Pól, will be joined by a host of other talented Irish language and Scots Gaelic performers (more news to follow) on the Stáitse na nGael on Sunday, which is hosted on The Mountain Stage presented by Earagail Arts Festival.

We are so honoured that Moya Brennan & Family have become an eagerly anticipated annual highglight. It wouldn’t be Swell Festival with out them and we are proud to be able to support the promotion of the Irish language. Bigí Linn!!

The fifth annual Swell Music & Arts Festival takes place on Arranmore Island, Donegal from Friday, July 27 to Sunday, July 29. Click here to purchase tickets.

Féile Swell ar Oileán Árainn Mhóir Co. Dhún na nGall from Meon Eile on Vimeo.

The California Feetwarmers return to Arranmore

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The California Feetwarmers are back!

Following an incredible performance on Sunday night last year, we are thrilled to announce The California Feetwarmers are making a welcome return to this year’s Swell Music & Arts Festival, July 27-29 on Arranmore Island, County Donegal!

Our friends from Earagail Arts Festival are once again hosting The Mountain Stage, aka Paddy Bloomer’s infamous Barn, and the LA band is just one of the many highlights.

The masters of ragtime, Dixieland blues and early swing are renowned for an earthy depth of character that sets them apart from others who have followed that throwback path to New Orleans, Circa 1920.

Their boisterous on-stage antics are solidly underpinned by playing that is as close to the source as it can be. This is the band that Keb’ Mo’ sought out to provide an air of authenticity when he recorded his latest album, BluesAmericana. The collaboration won them a Grammy-nomination in the Best American Roots Performance category.

Based in Los Angeles, they stylishly down and re-work old classics, re-visiting material from The Blue Ridge Playboys, Scott Joplin, The Memphis Jugband and Emile Grimshaw’s Rag Pickers.

Swell Music & Arts Festival takes place on the island of Arranmore, Co Donegal from July 27 to 29. Tickets are now on sale here!

If you missed The California Feetwarmers last year, here’s a little taster of what’s in store for The Barn on Sunday….Get ready to dance!!!

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.