Sounds Good – the Well Festival of Arts and Wellbeing 2024 announces diverse programme of music, art, dance, poetry, film and stories to lift our spirits
Festival dates: Monday 12 – Saturday 17 February
Sounds Good, Dragon’s Tail, Self-Care R(E)volution and Augmented Body, Altered Mind are some of the highlights of this year’s Well Festival of Arts and Wellbeing. Taking place in Waterford Monday 12 to Saturday 17 February, the Well Festival features an inspirational line-up of fun, free, inventive, inspirational and sociable arts events for all ages. In this, its eleventh year, the festival presents musicians, visual and environmental artists, poets, storytellers and dancers, as well as a programme of Wellies, the festival’s events for younger audiences. The full festival programme is available from www.wellwaterford.com
The Well Festival of Arts and Wellbeing champions and celebrates all the ways that the arts help us to feel good. Each day, festival-goers will have the opportunity to witness colourful, beautiful, thought-provoking music, art, dance, film, literature and talks, and to experience the joy of creativity through a range of workshops and interactive opportunities for all ages.
Festival 2024 Highlights
Highlights of the Well Festival of Arts and Wellbeing 2024 programme include:
– Sounds Good, a daily half-hour of ambient live music to soothe the body and soul, featuring Bill Stuart, Ruairí O’Shea, Killian Browne, Liam Merriman, Eoin Ó Meachair and Liam Kavanagh, in the foyer of University Hospital Waterford;
– Dragon’s Tail, a series of ambitious folk-myth artworks by artist Marie Brett, exploring how electromagnetic energy fields affect human health, exhibiting at University Hospital Waterford (UHW) and the Réalta/Waterford Healing Arts Centre for Arts + Health at UHW;
– The Self-Care R(E)volution, a thoughtful wellbeing workshop, featuring meditation drawing, a gentle way to slow down and restore calm, with Lucy Hyland;
– Augmented Body, Altered Mind, by environmental artist AlanJames Burns, an exciting interactive artwork which weaves a brain-computer interface with a projected audiovisual environment – at Garter Lane Arts Centre;
– Right of Place – Beginnings, a compelling exhibition at Central Library featuring creative work by participants of the Right of Place Second Chance group, where survivors of institutional abuse come together to learn and share new creative skills in a supportive space;
– Why Arts?, the Well Festival Keynote conversation, featuring Professor Breda Smyth, Chief Medical Officer at the Department of Health (and musician), with Waterford’s Dermot Keyes, author, communications specialist and baritone – at Garter Lane Arts Centre; Event postponed. Rescheduled date to be confirmed. Our apologies for any disappointment.
– Celebrating Love, Life and Magic, a St Valentine’s Eve joyful, inclusive dance workshop led by Traces Dance Ensemble members Grace Howley and Brian McSweeney, at Garter Lane Arts Centre;
– Fancy a lift?, a daily poetry postcard, curated by poet Anne Tannam, delivered on meal trays to patients at UHW, through Waterford Libraries, Garter Lane Arts Centre and online via www.wellwaterford.com;
– Creative Communities, a showcase of local creative organisations, individuals and community service providers, presented by Creative Ireland Waterford and the Well Festival, and relevant for anyone working or interested in getting involved in the arts in Waterford;
– Beauty and Struggle, a continuous professional development (CPD) workshop for artists of all disciplines working in arts + health, led by artist Sarah Ruttle, at Réalta/Waterford Healing Arts;
– The return of Cuppa & Ceol, a sociable, music-infused tea party with well-known musician Liam Merriman, this year at Carrickphierish Library;
– A range of talks and workshops, including a Public Talk on Climate Change and Disability with environmental artist AlanJames Burns, An Introduction to Ancient Weaving, a practical workshop with Christina Drennan, and a workshop for artists with Marie Brett about her exciting project Dragon’s Tail.
– Healing Sounds with Waterford Healing Arts’ musicians at the bedside of patients and residents in various healthcare settings;
– Embrace the arts at your library, a special Well Festival selection of books celebrating the benefits of reading, curated by Waterford Libraries staff;
– and the much loved festival flagship event Sunshine: sharing writings to brighten our souls, supported and hosted by The Book Centre Waterford, led once again by Guest MC Catherine Drea.
– For younger audiences, the Wellies programme invites children and young people to spark their creativity, imaginations and art making skills with a Sensory Play Hour, art workshops with Shona Shirley MacDonald and Eilis O’Toole, Creature Crafts with Waterford Libraries staff, The Vase of Everlasting Flowers, an upcycling craft workshop with Aoife Murphy, and magical hours of storytelling with Joe Brennan’s Wonder Tales.
Speaking at the launch of the festival programme, Claire Meaney, Director of Réalta/Waterford Healing Arts, said “We are thrilled to present our eleventh Well Festival in Waterford and to share a myriad of artistic and creative opportunities with our lovely audiences, so that we can all experience the power of the arts to lift our spirits and nurture our wellbeing. We are very grateful to the Well Festival funders the Arts Council, the HSE, Waterford City and County Council and the Department of Social Protection.”
Breda O’Shea of Waterford City and County Libraries added “Libraries in Ireland are centres of community and culture and, as such, Waterford Libraries is delighted to once again be partnering in this type of community festival. It’s a privilege to work alongside Garter Lane Arts Centre and Waterford Healing Arts in what has grown into a very successful collaboration. We invite all our Well friends, in Waterford and beyond, to join us as we explore, discover and delight in all the art, music, poetry, film, dance and storytelling the festival has in store.”
Sile Penkert, Executive Director of Garter Lane Arts Centre, continued “Garter Lane is celebrating in a big way this year, and we are delighted to kick off our 40th anniversary year with our Well Festival offerings. Well is a great way to start any year, thinking positively and looking to a bright and creative future. In these current times, with living costs so challenging for many, the Well Festival gives us the opportunity to offer inspiring and diverse experiences to our community, to creatively engage in the arts and with each other, and to promote self-expression and creative fulfilment in everyone.”
The Well Festival of Arts and Wellbeing is funded by the Arts Council, the HSE and Waterford City and County Council. In 2024, the festival programme is supported by The Book Centre Waterford, Creative Ireland Waterford, AIB, Waterford Hospice, Europe Direct and Right of Place Second Chance. The festival is presented by Garter Lane Arts Centre, Waterford City and County Libraries and Waterford Healing Arts. The full festival programme is available at www.wellwaterford.com See the Well Festival also on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
IMAGE: Augmented Body, Altered Mind (2022), by AlanJames Burns