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LightsOFF is a festival of art and music which will take place in Thomastown over three days (Friday 27th, Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th of March).

LightsOFF is a festival of art and music which will take place in Thomastown over three days (Friday 27th, Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th of March).

LightsOff is a small arts festival celebrating all things non-electrical. The concept is simple, we aim to make art and present it to the local community without the use of any electricity. This entails gallery viewings by candle-light, live sound installations, acoustic music gigs and interactive story telling. We aim to bring together a kaleidoscope of arts practitioners from varying disciplines and create the opportunity for practicing artists not only to share ideas and skills, but also to present their work to the public in exciting and innovative ways.

The event is primarily art based, with confirmed input by a number of practicing artists from Kilkenny and beyond. We also hope the event will raise awareness about environmental issues in Thomastown and the surrounding area, with particular emphasis on energy consumption. LightsOFF is designed to illuminate the ways we can enjoy ourselves in a creative atmosphere without using electricity. Local business establishments and residents will be asked to turn their lights off from 8pm each night of the event, hence the name- LightsOFF. Last year we had great success with this idea, and were delighted with the positive reaction of the community.

LightsOff will take place in various venues and public spaces in Thomastown on the weekend of 27/28/29th March 2009. The Berkeley Gallery will host an exhibition which will be viewed by candle-light. This exhibition of visual and performance based art features work by Ruth Lyons, Fiona Hallinan and Patrick Bresnihan, Alice Butler and Kate Strain. There will be storytelling and poetry readings by Eleonore Nicolas and Megan Nolan, and a fire display by Luci van Delden. Daytime workshops on pedal-power, dance and tactile art will also be scheduled. During the evenings there will be acoustic music by candlelight in The Bridgebrook Arms; featuring Vickers Vimy, The River Valley Band, Francesca Baines, Rory Grubb, Sophie Coyle and Slow Hand Roe. Further proposed activities include WalkAbout Storytelling, a Garden Feast (to be held in Grennan Mill) and a Gramophone Disco in the back lounge of The Bridgebrook Arms.

Last year saw the inception of LightsOff, created and facilitated by a locally established artist-led initiative called The Makery Arts Collective. We received generous contributions and sponsorship from local craftspeople and businesses. All our candles were donated by Moth to a Flame candle-makers, a local graphic designer produced all our advertising material, the venue was provided free of charge. The artists gave freely of their time and ideas, and the atmosphere was generally one of creative sharing and collaboration. Over 200 people attended.

LightsOff is many things. It is a networking event for practicing artists, it is an opportunity to show work to the public in new ways, it will raise awareness about topical environmental issues, it will involve and entertain the public and the local community. We hope it will encourage new connections through local arts practicioners and promote networking and future collaborative ventures. The very nature of the event itself is one of large-scale collaboration.

The proposed date for the event is the weekend of March 29th. This is international Earth Day, a day when people across the globe are encouraged to switch their electricity off for one hour. LightsOff seeks to take this theme further, by creating an entire festival of non-electrical entertainment, art and workshops.

If you would like to find out more, to contribute ideas or become involved in any way, please do not hesitate to get in touch. We are particularly interested in finding people willing to offer workshops over the course of the weekend. These would occur between 2pm and 6pm on Saturday and Sunday the 28th and 29th, and would preferably have an environmental or artistic slant. You can contact us by email at or by phoning Kate on 0863426851,

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