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Rock & Roll in Northern Ireland

Posted on August 17, 2015 @ 4:54 PM in Mountainbiking

Northern Ireland is set to host a number of renowned artists and bands from all across the world over the next few weeks and with such a wide range of musical genres on offer, you'd be hard pushed to not find acts to suit your own musical preferences!

If you are planning on checking out any gigs across Northern Ireland in August and September this year, we'd recommend that you also stick your bike in the car as the chances are you won't be too far from one of our world class trail centres. To make life a bit easier, we’ve put together a list of some of the biggest festivals and gigs near each of Northern Ireland’s official mountain bike trail centres over the next two to three weeks. 

Rock & Roll

Tennent’s VITAL

Thousands of fans are expected to flock to see Calvin Harris, Ellie Goulding, The Script and Kodaline headline the Tennent’s VITAL Festival at Belfast’s Boucher Road Playing Fields on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th August this year.  

Tennent's Vital

The Barnett Demesne Trails & Jumps Park are less than 3 miles from the Boucher Road Playing Fields and boast a compact network of blue and red grade singletrack trails as well as Northern Ireland’s only official dirt jumps facility. There can't be too many better ways to warm up for a Calvin Harris gig!!


Continuing to grow from strength to strength, the Belsonic festival in Custom House Square, Belfast, runs until Wednesday 26th August and there are still tickets left to see acts like Bastille, Above & Beyond and All Time Low to name just a few.  


Again the Barnett Demesne Trails & Jumps Park are just over 5 miles from Custom House Square in the centre of Belfast and perfect for anyone hoping to hit some trails before heading to the gigs.  

Bluegrass Music Festival

Now in its 24th year, the annual Bluegrass Music Festival at the Ulster American Folk Park near Omagh, County Tyrone, takes place from the 4th - 6th September and boasts three days of live music from some of the biggest names in bluegrass including the multi award winning Claire Lynch Band, Demolition String Band, Whiskey Deaf and Viper Central.  

Bluegrass Music Festival

The Ulster American Folk Park is located just over 20 miles from the Blessingbourne Trails, Fivemiletown and a little under 25 miles from the Davagh Forest Trails near Cookstown. For anyone who fancies the sound of a bluesgrass-style biking weekend in the Sperrins, this first weekend in September could be just the ticket!    

Jazz in the Garden

For those who prefer smoother, more refined tones, the National Trust is hosting an afternoon of Jazz in the Sunken Garden at Castle Ward on Sunday 30th August. Of course Castle Ward also boasts its own regional trail centre with three short family-friendly green trails and a more challenging 12km blue trail which follows the estate boundary and opens up some incredible views of Strangford Lough and the surrounding countryside. Check out our Castle Ward Trails page for more information.      

Castle Ward Trails 

Newry City Blues Festival

This city-wide weekend of blues in Newry attracts an array of local and international artists across a range of venues between 28th - 31st August. With a number of restaurants also offering special menus to complement the music, there should be a fantastic atmosphere on offer across the city over the weekend. 

Rostrevor Mountain Bike Trails

The Rostrevor Mountain Bike Trails (located 10 miles from Newry) play host to Northern Ireland’s only purpose-built downhill trails as well as an invigorating 27.5km red trail and a challenging 19km black trail, all of which open up incredible views of Carlingford Lough and the Mourne Mountains. For those after a slightly easier going trail centre which still packs a punch, the Castlewellan Mountain Bike Trails are also just under 20 miles from Newry.  

Chris Armstrong
Chris Armstrong  Mountain Bike Officer

Chris looks after all things mountain biking in Northern Ireland's a tough job but someone's gotta do it!

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