Sometimes I feel like I was born in the wrong era, I love the fashion of the 50s, the music of the 70s/80s (in fact I’ll let you into a secret on a Sunday I clean my house to Elaine Paige on radio 2 and I dance around a clean house when Johnny’s Jukebox 70s tunes come on!).While doing some work-related research this month I think I would have adored the dance hall days, the romance, the Jazz and the big bands etc. So when I was asked to attend Open House Festival’s Seaside Revival I jumped at the chance! I put on my Sunday best, tied a scarf in my hair, applied my red lippy and jumped on the train for my day at the seaside!

Around 18,000 people attended yesterday’s festival including Snow Patrols frontman Gary Lightbody, the sun shone, the drinks flowed, laughter rang throughout the marina and it felt like we had been transported to an idyllic seaside destination which felt like it was a million miles away from Belfast. Bangor was rejuvenated from the McKee clock to the Pickie Park the streets were filled with rockabilly dresses, vinyl records and lots of things to see and do. Ice Cream, Punch and Judy shows, talented buskers and crafters filled ever available space.

My highlights had to be the discovery of Anna’s Number a fantastic local five piece band who to me sounded like they had both jazz and ska punk influences, I’ll be keeping an eye out on those boys going forward. The amazing perfectly polished and always on point Swingtime Starlets who had a fantastic team of swing dancers joining in on every song. I was itching to join in but I have two left feet!!

And the amazing vintage cars; who wants a new off-the-line car when you could have one of these gems, filled with stories, memories and looked after with pride by their owners. I Imagined myself as Audrey Hepburn with head scarf flying in the wind when I got a chance to sit in this beautiful car!

I met donkeys, some fantastically groomed dogs and heard the story of the energetic swimmer who won the mornings Pickie to Pier race but then had to rush off as he was watching the Eagles play in Dublin! I was in no rush to leave the fun, daring Jeff from Belfast Times to have a go on the Helter Skelter and braving the panoramic big wheel for the views (I’m not great with heights!) but it was so worth it to see the beauty and fun that unfolded below!

After all of the excitement I was famished so we headed up the hill to one of the festivals partner restaurants ;Underground Dining. A friendly welcome awaited us. With charming, talented wait staff who talked us through vegan, vegetarian and meat eater menus and the food was delicious!! I highly recommend the small eats/tapas which we had for starters, they would be perfect with a glass of wine and good company on a Friday night and my main cod and chips was the perfect accompaniment to a day at the seaside!

After dinner we returned to an almost Ibiza vibe with the setting sun, the big wheel and a fantastic DJ set by Rory Gilmore. Unfortunately my train called so it was the ending of the night but I will certainly be back to Open Houses Seaside Revival and will be bringing all my friends.

If you are off to the Picnic Revival in Ward Park let me know how you get on!!

Now I’m off to read through this year’s Open House Festival Programme, did you know they have The Staves, The Specials and even an outdoor screening of Mamma Mia Here I go again happening this Summer! Find out more here:

Emer D xx

Thank you to Alice PR and Open House Festival for the invite and this gifted trip.