THE Young Farmers’ Clubs of Ulster (YFCU) popular Arts Festival Gala recently took place at the Millennium Forum in Londonderry on Saturday March 25.
The Arts Festival Gala has been kindly sponsored by NFU Mutual Charitable Trust, along with The Arts Council of Northern Ireland who have helped support The Arts Festival Gala through The National Lottery Fund.
Martin Malone, NFU Mutual Manager for Northern Ireland, said “The NFU Mutual Charitable Trust is very proud to be long-standing supporters of the YFCU’s Arts Festival and Gala. The much-anticipated competition is a great initiative to showcase and celebrate the exceptional creativity and talent of our young farmers across Northern Ireland.”
The song and dance filled evening saw the top five clubs from the YFCU’s Arts Festival perform to a massive crowd of over 900 people. The VIP reception, sponsored by Chestnutt Animal Feeds, was also held before the performance.
The five fantastic clubs that took to the stage were Coleraine YFC, Kilraughts YFC, Moneymore YFC, Finvoy YFC, and Randalstown YFC.
Each club performed a short drama piece that the members wrote and produced themselves. The compere for the evening was the Panto Dame, May McFettridge with guest speaker Louise Cullen, BBC NI Agriculture, and Environmental Correspondent.
Following performances, adjudicators Ita McVeigh and Nicole Hooley deliberated the ‘Outstanding Performance of the Night’, while guest speaker Louise Cullen gave a fantastic speech covering a multitude of fascinating topics.
The results of the 2023 Arts Festival and Gala Awards were then announced by YFCU President Peter Alexander and kindly presented by Louise Cullen and Lynne Johnston. The results were as follows; Most Amusing Moment: Finvoy YFC; Most Innovative Musical Moment: Kilrea YFC; Most Imaginative Theme: Glarryford YFC; Best Choral Piece: Coleraine YFC; Best Choreography: Kilraughts YFC; Best Newcomer: Moneymore YFC; Outstanding Performance of the Night; Moneymore YFC.
Sonya Whitefield, Arts Development Officer, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said, “The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is delighted to support the YFCU Arts Festival Competition through the Rural Engagement Arts Programme. We know that taking part in arts activities can raise self-esteem, boost confidence and motivation, as well as alleviate isolation and loneliness.
“The pandemic and the resulting lockdowns across the UK have taken a toll on individual lives, with mental health and well-being adversely effected and this has been particularly compounded in rural communities which are characterised by smaller and more dispersed populations.”
Thanks to The National Lottery players, this funding will increase opportunities for people living in rural communities to engage and participate in meaningful arts activities, enriching their lives for the better. The Arts Council believes that arts can make a vital contribution to building wellbeing, confidence and healthy, integrated communities.”
Special thanks to all the producers and stage crew for their hard work and commitment to making each performance run smoothly; the adjudicators of the Arts Festival and Gala for their expertise and feedback to members; and to the Millennium Forum for hosting the evening.
The Organisation would like to again extend its sincere thanks to NFU Mutual Charitable Trust for the continued sponsorship of the YFCU Arts Festival and Gala, The Arts Council of Northern Ireland for their support, along with Chestnutt Feeds for the generous contribution toward the VIP reception.
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