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St Anne’s Community College students bring Fresh Eyes to arts and music

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The inaugural Fresh Eyes Festival with St Anne’s Community College aims to be fun, creativity, imagination and innovation

On Thursday 16th May the students of St. Anne’s Community College, Killaloe are hosting their inaugural arts and music festival; Fresh Eyes Festival

The inaugural Fresh Eyes Festival with St Anne's Community College aims to be fun, creativity, imagination and innovation
Limerick band Dylan Flynn and the Dead Poets will bring a set packed with unforgettable, soaring indie rock songs

This is a youth-led music and arts festival which aims to celebrate young people’s creativity and open eyes to the creative possibilities that surround us all.

This festival is supported by the Arts Council of Ireland as part of the Creative Schools initiative. The school has been working with Chelsea Canavan from Creative Schools to support the students in bringing their vision for this festival to life. On working with the students in St. Anne’s, Chelsea said, “It is inspiring and exciting to see this group of youths take the lead with developing an arts festival for themselves and their peers. From day one, I’ve been floored by their enthusiasm to acquire new skills and apply them to this. Fresh Eyes Festival is going to open a new door and build momentum in the world of youth-led and youth-run creative events”.

Students have also been working with Lumen Street Theatre, and artist Laura O’Loughlin, who facilitated a series of workshops with TY students on Blackout Poetry, Cut-up Haiku, Collage and Zine Making.  Leading professionals in the Arts community, including Declan Hogan, Kate O’ Shea and Enya Moore (Limerick Spring) have lent their expertise in the development of students’ skills and confidence in the run up to Fresh Eyes which is the first youth-led festival of its kind in Ireland.


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The focus of this festival is on fun, creativity, imagination and innovation. The most important aspect of the festival is that young people, supported by industry professionals, are designing and building this festival from the ground up in the hopes of starting a cultural legacy in the school community. Gallery director, TY student Sara Lancaster said, “Getting to learn from these people who have that experience is really cool. We like that we then can take control of this project.”

Students have been working with TY students on Blackout Poetry, Cut-up Haiku, Collage and Zine Making

The festival will feature student photography, art, sculptures, film, performances, live mural-making and lots more creative fun. There will be food stalls offering fresh pizza and sweet treats, all run by the students.

The school Talent Show will feature as one of the main events of the day, with Declan Hogan providing a professional stage set-up to showcase the school’s wealth of singers, bands, dancers and actors, all whilst mentoring students who are eager to shadow him and learn about running festivals from this legend in the industry.

The school’s female DJ team have even been lucky enough to enjoy an inspirational workshop with DJ Ceese, a talented performer who has travelled the world playing solo and stages as big as Glastonbury with Denise Chaila and Narolane.

She is passionate about encouraging young women to advance in an often male-dominated genre and said, “I love to see schools being more proactive with opening students minds to jobs in the creative industry. It was great to do the workshop and even better that it was with women! The girls were really eager to learn and I hope we can continue to do these workshops or even supply a course, who knows!”

As well as Ceese, whose set will close out the day, Limerick band Dylan Flynn and the Dead Poets will bring a set packed with unforgettable, soaring indie rock songs that will light up the main stage. The band are about to release their new EP ‘Caught Up in Delusion’, and with 1,000,000 streams on Spotify and both critical acclaim and a growing fan base, the festival committee were blown away to secure them on the lineup.

Accomplished trad group Le Cheile comprising of students, teachers and local players will showcase the best of local talent, featuring players such as fifth-year student Ruby McKenna who has graced the likes of Carnegie Hall.

Their set will pave the way for returning past pupils Cailini Lua, whose highly energized brand of trad has taken them all over the country, to the US and seen them launch Tradfest in Dublin this year. The girls, Katie and Laura Donoghue and newly crowned Tipperary Rose, Tara Brady, will be warmly welcomed back to their alma mater and serve as vibrant example of the way our young people can lead creative lives after school.

Tickets are on sale from the school; it is €10 presale ticket and limited €12 tickets on the door. While students can enjoy the art, music, food and dancing during the day, the paid wristband will give ticket-holders access to the incredible line-up kicking off on the Main Stage from 4:30 to 8.

Updates on the festival will be released on the school’s social media and website
Read more student news here

Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the ilovelimerick.com concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.