Way back in August, the late bank holiday weekend, I attended the very first Pairc Festival in Birmingham. Our Birmingham Irish Centre moved from the city centre to South Birmingham just before the pandemic started. The Digbeth area of Birmingham, historically the Irish area of the city, is being hugely redeveloped. It’s like a maze trying to get around that area at the moment with all the building and road works, you really feel like you are going around the block numerous times to reach your destination.
People were not happy at the move. The city centre is easily accessible for people who live around the city and the suburbs and for people coming from other parts of the country to events. However, the new club has a huge open sports ground and park area and this is where this first ever Birmingham Pairc Festival was held over the August bank holiday weekend. I bought tickets for Sunday, the closing day, because one of my favourite Irish music stars was performing, Nathan Carter. Thankfully the weather held and even in the evening it was a warm, late Summer evening. The atmosphere was incredible all around the festival area. There were families, couples, singletons and groups of friends rambling around visiting the various stalls and attractions. There were picnic’s taking place, dancing, singing, music, food and of course drink but not all alcoholic. It looked like every county in Ireland was represented with the people attending the festival. I could see T-shirts and flags from all over Ireland and it was just such a wonderful atmosphere. Inclusive, happy, positive and friendly vibes were the order of the day.
Prosecco and Chips, we are such classy girls! The ice cream was eaten at 11.30 pm after a night of singing and dancing because we just wanted to and isn’t that what life is all about?
One of the main acts was Finbar Furey, an absolute legend in Irish folk music. He gave a beautiful rendition of ‘Sweet Sixteen’ which was a favourite song of my parents and the tears fell, silently, but they fell. I wasn’t alone and found myself holding hands with strangers who were also moved to tears by the music and song.
As you can see from the photo above, there was a fantastic crowd in place for Nathan Carter’s show stopping closure to the festival. The whole area was alive with happiness, music and song. It was truly a special event and I am so glad that I attended. My friend and I had the most wonderful day catching up with each other, listening to and dancing to local bands and big name bands, talking to strangers, dancing like no-one was watching (because they weren’t) and we are already looking forward to the acts being released for next year and planning another day of Irishness.
I didn’t take many photo’s or any video footage. I decided to leave my phone in my pocket and just be in the moment, all day and all evening long. It was freedom!
With love and sparkles xxx