Sounds From A Safe Harbour Reveals First Headline Acts

Performances run Thursday 7th  – Sunday 10th September 2023.

By: May. 02, 2023

Sounds From A Safe Harbour Reveals First Headline Acts

Sounds from a Safe Harbour (SFSH) returns for its fourth edition, from Thursday 7th to Sunday 10th September, welcoming some of the finest International and Irish artists to stages across Cork city, and beyond.

Curated by Festival Director Mary Hickson, Bryce and Aaron Dessner of The National, actor Cillian Murphy and playwright Enda Walsh, SFSH will be an unmissable four days of music, dance, literature, theatre, and conversation, with lots of ticketed and free events to explore.

The first announcement leads with the Festival's headline acts:

Having made her SFSH debut in 2019, Canadian singer-songwriter Feist returns to captivate audiences at Cork Opera House, Thursday 7th September. Known for her unique blend of indie rock, folk and pop, Feist is sure to delight festival-goers with her hauntingly beautiful voice and emotive and introspective lyrics. Her recent album, 'Multitudes', has received critical acclaim, with The Guardian, hailing it as her "soul stirring career highlight."

SFSH are delighted to announce an exceptional collaboration between Bonny Light Horseman and the RTE Concert Orchestra, conducted by Robert Ames, with orchestral arrangements by Bryce Dessner. Produced by SFSH, the show takes to the stage at Cork Opera House (8th Sept), the National Concert Hall, Dublin (14th Sept), and on to The Barbican, London, with the London Contemporary Orchestra (15th September). Folk trio Anaïs Mitchell, Eric D. Johnson and Josh Kaufman perform their loving ode to the past in this European Premiere.

Beginning their musical experiment together in 2018, the trio were invited to perform at the Eaux Claires festival by its co-founders, Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) and Aaron Dessner (The National), which was produced by Mary Hickson. Encouraged by the natural, intuitive bond they felt while writing together, each musician brought their own musical ideas to the rehearsals. The direction toward traditional songs from the British Isles emerged quickly, culminating in the self-titled LP 'Bonny Light Horseman', followed by their 2022 album 'Rolling Golden Holy', described as 'impeccably crafted' by UNCUT.

Closing out their European tour, Chicago-based band Wilco headline Cork Opera House, Saturday, 9th September, with support from Wicklow singer songwriter Anna Mieke. Wilco have been praised for their dynamic live performances and critically acclaimed albums. This will be the band's first appearance at the festival. With their reputation for pushing musical boundaries and delivering powerful, emotive shows, Wilco promises to be a standout act at this year's Sounds from a Safe Harbour.

Collaboration and shared experiences are at the heart of this biennial Festival, every year SFSH facilitates an intimate artist residency, the results of which traditionally populate the smaller stages throughout the city. This year, with the help of Quiet Lights, SFSH is experimenting with a new approach by inviting the Irish folk music duo Ye Vagabonds to interact and respond to the residency and host the festival finale Lighthouse Constellations at Cork Opera House, 6pm on Sunday 10th September.

Speaking about the announcement, Director of Sounds From a Safe Harbour, Mary Hickson says: "It's a lovely feeling to be able to bring projects that are close to my heart back to Cork to share with you, particularly projects and artists I have a deep connection with. I have been working with FEIST as Creative Producer on her new show for the last 4 years, so it's a major highlight for me to get to present this show in Cork Opera House. Being in the room for the inception of Bonny Light Horseman as a band back in 2018 was a moment I will never forget. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to expand the orchestral programme we started with them at MusicNOW (2021/Ohio) with Bryce Dessner and the RTE Concert Orchestra, presenting it to Cork for SFSH23. Together with Quiet Lights, we have invited the inimitable Ye Vagabonds to interact with and respond to the residency programme (an exciting programme which is yet to be revealed) and host a music finale for the festival. We have SO MUCH more to come for SFSH23 - keep an eye out for lots more announcements."

Tickets for FEIST, Bonny Light Horseman with the RTE Concert Orchestra, Wilco, and Ye Vagabonds will go on sale on 10am, Friday 12th May from

Further programme announcements are on the way soon.


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