We caught up with Brew at the Bog festival chief, Yvonne Murray, and put a few questions her way. As expected Yvonne got back to us in her usual and honest manner
Igigs: This year the festival has expanded to 2 days. What were the factors involved in this decision?
Yvonne Murray: We felt this was a natural progression for the festival – I also was having trouble saying no to bands and so instead of putting on more stages, we just extended it to two days! The Pond Stage last year was purely because I’d overbooked bands…!
Igigs: What have been the highs and lows so far of running Brew at The Bog?
YM: The highs are always during the event – all the hard work has finally come together and people seem to genuinely really enjoy it!
There haven’t been major lows to be honest – it’s just really hard work and maybe some people don’t appreciate how swamped I get – and sometimes its hard to stay focussed and look at the bigger picture when there’s so many little bits to remember.
Igigs: Which acts are you most looking forward to seeing?
YM: I say the same thing every year but I love just walking around and there seems to be good music everywhere I go! I don’t get much a chance to stay for full sets – my pleasure comes from watching the audience! I’ve never seen Honeyblood live so I’m going to try and catch them. And also my fellow islanders, The Broken Ravens – I’ll be sure to check them out too.
On a non musical note, I can’t wait to welcome a group of friends from The Spaniard Bar in Belfast who will be running the rum bar – basically just serving Dark n Stormy cocktails for 2 whole days! They are a great bunch and their presence will really raise the craic level up a notch. I have plans to do some things over in Belfast so this is a great start for that.
Igigs: This year you have incorporated Northern Roots Festival within Brew At the Bog. Is this a long term merging of festivals or a one off for this year?
YM: We are lucky to have Bruce MacGregor on the festival team and he worked very hard in establishing Northern Roots Festival single handedly a few years ago at Bogbain. But the way things are at the moment with folk music meant it wasn’t sustainable as a stand alone event as the years rolled on.
However, collaborating with Brew at the Bog means Bruce can continue his passion in curating great bands as part of a bigger event and I think it really enhances Brew at the Bog’s offering. There are plenty folk festivals out there that don’t have a lineup as good as the Northern Roots stage we have this year!
Igigs: You show support of the local acts in the line-up. How strong do you feel the local scene is at present?
YM: The local scene looks different every year – there’s a new kid on the block, a new sensation, bands break up and get together! That’s the sign of a really healthy scene and Brew at the Bog is proud to support them when we can. I’d love to work more with XpoNorth – something I should explore fully for next year which will be our 5th anniversary!
Igigs: Other than being held over 2 days, what other changes can festival goers expect this year?
YM: The festival site is quite a lot bigger – the main stage is now in the field at the front of Bogbain. The Northern Roots stage will be where the main stage was previously. There is now a beer tent and the gin bar is now where the beer bar used to be! Hopefully that means the queues will be much nicer on the eye – that was stressing me out big time last year!
The rum bar will be in last year’s gin bar! There’s caterers in the campsite this year too and hopefully the layout will work well for everyone – I always take note of the comments on Facebook after the event and try my best to implement them all.
Igigs: For anyone who hasn’t bought a ticket yet, what have you got to say to encourage them to get up the hill to Bogbain?
YM: Brew at the Bog is a brilliant wee festival with some amazing music and the bars we have are unrivalled in the country! We have shuttle buses available on Saturday and Sunday from Strothers Lane and we know that Brew at the Bog is the best way to kick off your Summer vibes!
You can read our preview of the festival.