Categories: Press Release

Sunday 29th January - Sunday 5th February 2023

Festival Summary

IMBOLC International Music Festival is firmly embedded in Derry’s cultural calendar and is one of Ireland’s leading folk, trad and roots music festivals. Organised by Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin, the festival offers high quality blended concert experiences, with a mixture of favourite international artists, alongside new and emerging talent. 

The IMBOLC Festival mission is to promote the enjoyment of music to children, young people and families and to engage them in creative participation within the festival, continuously devising new opportunities for involvement. 

Inclusion is central to the ethos of the festival and supporting access to music making for as wide a range of people as possible. Music workshops, informal music sessions are on offer as well as specially devised music events for young people with special needs and people with dementia.

IMBOLC International Music Festival supports and collaborates on bespoke music commissions, with a diverse range of talented composers to develop new work, enabling audiences to discover and experience new music and young musicians to explore their musical creativity.

2023 Programme

With a jam-packed programme of music, arts, and culture, there’s certainly something for everyone at this year’s IMBOLC festival!

Based in Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin and running Sunday 29th January to Sunday 5th February, be sure to catch one of over fifteen events, ten workshops, and eight days of festivities in its eighth year of running.

From Project SMOK’s boundary-pushing neo-trad, to the family-friendly Armagh Rhymers, world-reknowned trio John McCusker, John Doyle and Mike McGoldrick, to musical premieres in the Guildhall with IMBOLC Youth Orchestra and Martin Tourish. From Showcase evenings for the city’s best up and coming talent, to music and dance workshops from top class tutors. In the words of The Guardian, IMBOLC is “eclectically curated and refreshingly analogue.”

With previous years bringing together over 3,000 attendees and 1,200 participants from near and far to celebrate our shared and extensive cultural heritage, Derry will once again brim with lively music, and livelier times. No less so than when you discover first rate traditional Irish music at the heart of the city by following the session trails, snaking their way through our renowned pubs and cafes over the weekend…

Key figures

Number of attendees in previous years: 3,000

Number of years running: 7 years, this is the 8th.

Number of events: 15

Number of music acts: 18

Number of instrumental workshops: 10

Festival length: 8 days

Number of musicians: Over 110


“Eclectically curated and refreshingly analogue” - The Guardian

“IMBOLC features some of the world’s finest musicians from Ireland, Scotland, England, Scandinavia and America… Featuring an eclectic mix of concerts, workshops, talks, visual art and films, this two week festival is not to be missed.” - Derry Journal

“Imbolc – which, as I wrote in a previous column, was an old Gaelic festival marking the beginning of spring – is at its core an Irish music festival but it’s also happy to take risks. “ - Irish News


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