Last weekend was the second edition of Sounds from a Safe Harbour in Cork
The origins of Sounds From A Safe Harbour go back to a speculative Facebook message sent three years ago. Mary Hickson, former CEO at Cork Opera House, contacted The National’s Bryce Dessner asking to meet for a cup of tea while the band were in southern Ireland on tour. They got together, an hour later the concept for a new festival was born and a year later the first one took place in 2015. Returning for its second edition, the event now spans four days, utilises more than 20 spaces and combines music, art and literature.
It’s not difficult to find an example to typify what the whole thing is about. On Saturday afternoon, less than 24 hours after The National score their first UK number one album with ‘Sleep Well Beast’, Matt Berninger, Bryce and his brother Aaron are covering a Cat Power song (‘Maybe Not’) at a free talk in a old fashioned theatre bar in front of 250 people. As Bryce explains: “It’s different from the normal rock tour or festival where you cut ‘n’ paste into a city.”
It’s true, SFASH doesn’t follow any transplanted festival formula. Along with Hickson and the Dessner twins (Bryce and Aaron), the programme is curated by actor Cillian Murphy – back in his home city – and playwright Enda Walsh. Between the five of them, they’ve sculptured an event that’s both creatively unique and satisfyingly unpredictable.