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Festival heights

Bushmills Distillery held its first music festival, we report
By Rob Allanson
Music and whisky are often happy bedfellows, but what makes this mix even more enriching is when a distillery backs its local artists. So when Bushmills unveiled the line up for its first music festival those who eventually won tickets were in for a huge treat.

Topping the bill were the mighty Snow Patrol, stalwarts and ambassadors of the Northern Irish music scene. The chance to see this band play in such a small space was worth entering the competition. True to their roots, Snow Patrol’s performance at ‘Bushmills Live’ also went some way to help establish a legacy for new music in Northern Ireland with their fee being donated in full to the Oh Yeah Music Centre in Belfast, which was co-founded by lead singer Gary Lightbody to help to support up-and-coming local musicians.

But the musical feast did not stop there. As well Hollywood actor Elijah Wood dj-ing in between sets, two outstanding singer songwriters appeared during the day: Foy Vance and Iain Archer. Foy opened the festival and set the bar for the day with an impressive performance. Half way through the day Iain took to the stage and raised the bar; laying down the challenge for Snow Patrol to take on and end the festival with.
Music lovers were also treated to some of the very best emerging talent from the United Kingdom, Ireland and America playing at the whiskey distillery.

Benjamin Francis Leftwich, Marcus Foster, The Staves, General Fiasco and David C Clements joined the line up.

“I'm delighted with how the line came together for the event”, commented festival curator for ‘Bushmills Live’, Graham Brown.

“Both ticket winners and the artists had a special few days”, said Brown.

“Not only did they get to experience world class whiskey and discover how it has been handcrafted in the Bushmills area for centuries, but they were privileged enough to see some of the best live music possible within the intimacy of the old distillery buildings - whiskey and music, it doesn't get much better than that!"

More than six thousand people entered the competition to win tickets to ‘Bushmills Live’. Up to ten pairs of friends in each participating country were shortlisted to go through to the next stage of the competition – a public vote on Facebook.

The pair of friends in each country that got the most votes won tickets.

As well as listening to great music, those fortunate to win a ticket to the festival will also have the opportunity to make their own blend of Bushmills Irish Whiskey.

Colum Egan, master distiller at the Old Bushmills Distillery said: “The list of artists that performed at ‘Bushmills Live’ was amazing. The festival was a unique occasion and brought the best of handmade music and the best of handmade Irish whiskey together under one roof.”