Co-founder of the successful Bangor-based Open House Festival, Alison Gordon, was the guest at the recent meeting of the Rotary Club of Bangor.
A native of the town, Alison told Rotarians of her journey from Bangor to University in England where she teamed up with her future husband, Belfast’s Kieran Gilmore. The couple promoted Northern Ireland bands and artists to the London market before making the return trip to Belfast where they founded and ran the Cathedral Quarter Festival for fifteen years.
Meanwhile, having resettled in Bangor, the couple recognised that while their Belfast events and concerts were booming, they were indirectly contributing to the cultural malaise in Bangor as local people flocked to the City for their ‘arts-fix’.
Determined to contribute to a cultural regeneration of Bangor, Alison and Kieran drew on their contacts, experience and drive to found the Open House Festival, which has been in many ways the catalyst for the now burgeoning cultural life in the town.
The Court House Project
True believers that a thriving arts and culture scene is imperative for the growth of Bangor, Alison said, “Our mission is to create events and experiences that empower people and transform places. We believe that music, art, culture and festival events are the regenerative force that will transform Bangor from its seafront dereliction and failed retail sector into a modern seaside town.”
And literally putting their money where their mouths are, the couple have undertaken to transform the Court House (originally a branch of The Belfast Banking Company) into a hub for arts in Bangor.
Open House Festival 2022
The new centre will open to the public in October, but meanwhile, the COVID-safe Open House Festival will return to Bangor this August.