The annual David Bowie festival returns once more to Dublin and it is fast becoming a feature to watch out for in the Capital. This years fest runs from Jan 8 – 12 and is celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Man Who Sold The World – An album that, according to the organisers “rocked (and shocked) the World”

There’s a vast array of musicians, photographers, artists, writers, DJs, designers and producers ready to take to the City for the jam packed festival

There’s many highlights for this festival but Bowie’s iconic, treasured and trusted producer Tony Visconti and Spider From Mars drummer Woody Woodmansey with their 6 piece band Holy Holy are headlining the Festival at the Olympia Theatre on Saturday Jan 11th. Holy holy also feature Heaven 17 mainman Glenn Gregory on lead vocals, performing the TMWSTW and Ziggy Stardust albums in entirety as well as a selection of 70s Bowie rock n roll classics. Visconti and Woodmansey performed on and produced what is regarded as Bowies dark masterpiece (and Visconti’s fave Bowie album) with Bowie author David Buckley describing The Man Who Sold The World as “the first Bowie album proper.”, while NME critics Roy Carr and Charles Shaar Murray have said of The Man Who Sold the World, “this is where the story really starts.”

Tony & Woody are also in the beautiful The O’Flanagan Theatre, Royal College of Surgeons, St Stephens Green on Sunday Jan 12th,for a conversation chaired by Tony Clayton Lea (Irish Times) on the closing day of the Festival.

Other highlights include The Birth of Bowie in The Sugar Club on Friday 10th Jan which sees a Q&A with Phil Lancaster (Bowies drummer with his mid 60s mod group The Lower Third) and a live set from The London Boys who play exclusively from Bowies 60s period. Lancaster’s recent book ‘At The Birth of Bowie’ will be profiled on the night by guest host Pat Carty (Hot Press).

The Glasshouse Ensemble will be reimagining tracks – fully orchestrated – from the Berlin Trilogy on Thursday Jan 9th, also in The Sugar Club while the I Heart Bowie band will be belting out Bowie classics from the ages with a variety of well known guest vocalists on Wednesday January 8th in Whelans main room.

Culture Vultures are part of a panel debate on sexual politics (with guests including Roe McDermott and special live guest performance from Jack O’Rourke) in The Workmans on Thursday 9th Jan while the same venue hosts Art Crime Inc late on Sat Jan 11th as they revisit their DBF19 Festival performance of Bowies Outside.

Darryl W Bullock, Author of David Bowie Made Me Gay – regarded as the definitive book on the influence of LGBT writers and performers on the history and evolution of modern music – host a special presentation on Weds 8th Jan in The Theatre Bar while the same venue also hosts an audio visual feast as Keele Universitys Prof of Law, Dr Alex Sharpe presents Cutting Up Bowie, a beguiling lecture on Bowies utilisation of Burroughs infamous Cut-Up technique on Friday 10th January.

Rebel Rebel bring their greatest hits Sound & Vision show to The Academy on Friday 10th Jan while later that night sees young guns Heroes From Mars giving it some Wham Bam at The Bowie Ball in Whelan’s main room. As usual there will be prizes for best dressed at this event, usually one of the Festivals most colourful spectacles!

This year there are two exhibition spaces, Rathfarnham Castle and The Space Between. The Castle galleries will house a Pre-Raphaelite inspired selection of Bowie portriatures from renowned UK based fine artist Sara Captain and a selection of Bowie scultures from Italian artist Maria Primolan while in total contrast, the ultra modern zen like surrounds of the Space Between gallery on Fenian St will host illustrations courtesy of US artist Todd Alcott and Dublin based artist Cartoon Bowie and an audio visual exhibition incorporating live footage of Tin Machines secret gig in The Baggot Inn in 1991 and photos from the same gig.

For old punks like myself who missed out on Bowie as we were listening to The Clash it’s a chance to see what the fuss was all about. For the many Bowie fans it’s a chance to celebrate his life and music. Huge credit to the organisers for putting together such an impressive line-up over the five days

Festival Brochure here


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