Looking for a new festival experience this summer? This might be just the thing for you.
A former B&Q warehouse has been transformed into a creative space where music and visual art come together into the mind-expanding collision that is AVA 2018.
AVA (standing for Audio Visual Arts) is set to take place on Friday, June 1 and Saturday, June 2 in S13 Warehouse, Belfast. The festival is all about celebrating, amplifying and developing the strong current of electronic music and digital visual arts from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland right now.
A new feature at this year's festival is SMIRNOFF Equalising Music Stage. This is all part of SMIRNOFF’s global initiative that aims to double the participation of female, or female-identifying acts, at music festivals by 2020 and inspire the next generation of DJs. The stage will boast a full 50/50 male and female line-up including Myler, Moxie, Jayda G and DJ Deece, perfectly balancing the representation of genders.
This is just the latest move by SMIRNOFF as part of their pledge to improve gender parity in an industry that's staggeringly unbalanced, with the stats painting a worrying picture: only 17% of headliners at international music festivals were women in 2016, only 5% of recognised producers are women, only three solo women have won The Mercury Prize Award in its 22-year history and only 17% of the Performing Rights Society are women.
But SMIRNOFF are aiming to help change all that by stimulating discussion, elevating female musical talent and teaming up with five high-profile DJs — The Black Madonna, Nastia, Peggy Gou, Honey Dijon and Artwork — to act as ambassadors of their message and mentor women who trying to break into the industry.
"We believe that our brands should have a purpose greater than just amazing drinks, and SMIRNOFF brand’s purpose is to move the world to be inclusive. We believe we can make a difference by using our presence in electronic music culture to drive diversity within the community."
Syl Saller, Diageo’s Chief Marketing Officer
Now back to AVA 2018 — here's what else you can expect from this year's festival...
Taking place at Bullitt Hotel from 9pm-1am on Thursday, May 31, the infectiously energetic R. Kitt and Age Of Aquarius will be providing the tunes for the evening and setting just the right tone for the weekend ahead.
Head over to QFT at 8.20pm on Thursday, May 31 to see the critically acclaimed German crime thriller Victoria, featuring a mesmerising soundtrack by Niels Frahm. Filmed in just one continuous take over the course of two hours and 18 minutes, the movie tells the story of young Spanish woman whose flirtation with a Berlin guy takes a dangerous turn during a fateful night out...
A phantasmorgia constructed from shipping containers, kaleidoscopic lights and pulsating tunes, this stage will play host to bonafide legends like Bicep, Denis Sulta, Larry Heard, Floorplan, KINK, DVS1, Saoirse, Mall Grab and more.
SMIRNOFF Equalising Music Stage
For a more intimate experience head over to this shining beacon of a stage, where the gender of the acts will be perfectly balanced.
On Friday evening, revellers can expect some of the finest acts currently in electronic music, like Lumen X DSNT, Myler, Ossian, Stephanie Sykes, Rackitt, Cave DJZ B2B Dallas, ELLLL and Cailin. The energy doesn't let up on Saturday either, with Twitch, Moxie, Jayda G, DJ Deece, Twitch, Eve, Bekuz X Influx and Lucy Ironmonger making sure you keep your feet firmly on the dance floor.
Many of the performers taking to this stage also took part in SMIRNOFF’s Move the Needle production, an inspirational mini-documentary which told the stories of Ireland’s leading female electronic music talent.
When you need a moment to recollect yourself after some serious sensory bombardment, here's where you can chill with your fellow revellers.
This particular event is free, open to all ages and takes place at The Mac from 10am-4pm on Friday, June 1. You can expect lectures, panels, workshops, skills development and networking opportunities for the local and travelling electronic, arts and music sector as well as students, wider creative professionals and enthusiasts. Our picks of the day are SMIRNOFF presents Carving a Career: a DJ workshop with residents Stephanie Sykes, Aalice + Cailín and AVA X SMIRNOFF Presents: The Art of DJ’ing with electronic music power houses Mano Le Tough + Saoirse who will discuss top tips on everything from selecting to promoting yourself as an artist to taking care of yourself on tour!
Parting is such sweet sorrow... but this fond farewell to AVA 2018 at The Art Department oughta make it a wee bit easier. Performing will be The Two Jamies and Dave McDonagh, with Rush Hour Label boss Antal seeing out the festival with his signature raw, spiritual style in a three-hour set.
To pick up your tickets to AVA 2018, click HERE.