Lisburn is a City that benefits from being both close to epicentre Belfast with all the nightlife, work opportunities and travel routes that brings, while also being mere minutes from unspoiled countryside, farms and rural cottage-filled villages like Hillsborough.
And often there’s no better way to experience a place like this than to attend a market event or festival, bringing together the best of the local people, produce and talent all in one place.
Sunflowerfest is a nature-loving food and music festival, taking place annually in the beautiful Northern Irish town of Hillsborough since 2010.
Unlike your typical festival, Sunflowerfest is best-described as a “boutique” event. It caters perfectly for families as well as couples and groups of friends, with an all-inclusive broad-minded mission that the hippy in you will love!
Here’s just a few of the reasons why we think you should take your place on the green and enjoy Sunflowerfest 2017:
Music is the soulful glue that’s been known to tie this festival together throughout the years, with an eclectic mix of well-known and new names. You can experience everything from electronica DJs to rhythm and blues, foot-stomping rock to relaxing reggae. For that reason Sunflowerfest has become famous for its chilled atmosphere and the friendliest of vibes.
The 2017 lineup includes the return of festival favourites “King Kong Company” and “Le Galaxie” as well as the famous “Rubber Bandits” , Glastonbury-famed “Beans on Toast” and a host of upcoming artists. There is plenty of local talent on display too, thanks to Sunflowerfest’s “The Roots” programme which gives young musicians a platform to showcase their talent.
In fact each year the stage grows, with last year witnessing over 120 acts across 6 stages and this year set to be even bigger.
If you fancy dancing up a storm without ruining the chilled atmosphere, the ever-popular “Silent Disco” brings the chance to bust your moves until the wee hours without a hint of guilt!
Local chefs are renowned for holding the highest quality cooking demos and workshops at Sunflowerfest. The event also welcomes a host of artisan traders and stalls that serve a huge variety of cuisines, meaning there will be something to suit everyone’s taste while you’re staying there.
There is also a reasonably-priced full bar menu for those who want to indulge in an alcoholic beverage, or four. Campers are also permitted a personal (limited) allocation to bring their own alcohol on site.
However, the 2017 highlight that many are looking forward to has to be the “Boojmobile” - with Belfast’s famous Burrito bar taking their menu mobile in a stretch marquee that blends their unmistakeable street food with a funky environment for chilling.
Sunflowerfest has a dedicated KidsZone with coordinators on hand to keep everyone entertained, safe and having a great time. There are educational activities across a range of age groups including topics like art and craft, willow sculpture, animal and science facts, circus skills, yoga and nature walks. Trusted organisations such as the RSPB and W5 are on hand to bring experience and knowledge to the fun.
As well as the music on offer over the 3-day event, there’s a host of other entertainment to cater for all tastes from comedy and poetry to film and dance. There is also a costume competition each year and 2017’s them is “Sci-Fi” so get busy making those robot outfits.
And don’t worry about missing out on capturing the wonderful family memories - Sunflowerfest has a phone charging station on site which you can use for a small fee!
While many festivals focus on the experience of being outdoors, or camping, while enjoying an entertainment experience, Sunflowerfest is unique in that its whole ethos revolves around a deep love of local nature and the countryside.
Just wandering the site - known locally for producing sunflowers (hence the name) - as well as barley and homemade jam, will take you back to simpler times and simpler pleasures.
Sunflowerfest is Northern Ireland’s only 3-day festival that offers camping in a picturesque setting (Tubby’s Farm grounds) and provides two dedicated family camp areas also. Of course, it’s not a totally “roughing it” experience as Sunflowerfest provides accessible toilet facilities and a hot shower block. There’s even a dedicated space to host your own barbecue.
As well as the popular Glamping and 100% recyclable Kartent options (made from cardboard and saving you the job of pitching your own tent!) 2017 sees the introduction of a cool new camper van area on the campsite, with optional power available for a small fee.
While many camping or festival trips can leave you returning home feeling exhausted and in need of a holiday to recover, Sunflowerfest is a weekend that aims to nurture the body, mind and soul.
The mix of natural surroundings, chilled vibes and creative workshops go in tandem with alternative therapies on offer in the Bliss Body and Soul Zone such as yoga, meditation, reiki and aromatherapy to leave you feeling revived and ready to face the second half of the year.
2017 will even see the building of a genuine North American cleansing experience - the sweat lodge.
Because Sunflowerfest is not only fun, it’s good for your health!
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