Keep up with Armagh i

Buskfest 20th anniversary sees rising star Ryan McMullan take centre stage

Open for registration until June 21, with the event taking place on Saturday June 22, BuskFest will see musicians, singers, bands, solo artists, and street performers take to all corners of Banbridge

Banbridge is gearing up for a musical spectacle and first-class live entertainment as it announces Ryan McMullan as the headline act at this year’s BuskFest.

The international busking competition – which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year – attracts thousands of visitors from across the island of Ireland and offers participants the chance to compete for a £3000 prize pot, as well as the opportunity to perform at Northern Ireland’s largest camping festival, Stendhal Festival.

This year’s celebration promises to be nothing short of spectacular, with the spotlight fixed on Co Down’s own rising star, Ryan McMullan. The 33-year-old singer songwriter has toured worldwide with artists such as Ed Sheeran, Snow Patrol, Kodaline, and Foy Vance.

Open for registration until June 21, with the event taking place on Saturday June 22, BuskFest will see musicians, singers, bands, solo artists, and street performers take to all corners of Banbridge.

In addition to a performance spot at Stendhal Festival, the Overall Winner will claim £1000 with the remaining prize fund distributed among categories such as Best Band, Individual, and Junior whilst special awards like Best Performance, sponsored by Banbridge Chamber of Commerce, and Spirit of BuskFest, sponsored by The Boulevard, will also be contested.

BuskFest has become a cornerstone event for Armagh City, Banbridge, and Craigavon Borough Council, growing into a platform that not only showcases the wealth of musical talent in Northern Ireland and further afield but also celebrates the local heritage of Banbridge as former Deputy Lord Mayor, Councillor Sorchá McGeown highlights.

She said: “Reflecting on two decades of BuskFest, we’re thrilled to witness its evolution into an esteemed international competition fostering emerging talent. With Banbridge’s rich musical heritage, it has always been the perfect setting for this event and what better way to mark twenty years than with headliner Ryan McMullan. We’re delighted to be welcoming Ryan and look forward to showing him everything the area has to offer.

“In addition to brilliant prizes, BuskFest offers a platform to showcase talent, meet other artists, and gain invaluable performance experience. Plus, it’s a fantastic day out for families and visitors with great shops, cafes, and entertainment to enjoy in beautiful Banbridge – which thanks to the public realm scheme has received major investment to improve its streetscape, increase footfall and support local businesses.”

This year’s BuskFest competition kicks off at 2pm on Saturday 22 June; however, festivities will continue right into the evening with an award ceremony taking place on the stage in the town centre from 5.30pm, followed by Ryan’s headline performance to conclude the event. There will be lots of entertainment for visitors to enjoy throughout the afternoon and well into the evening.

Ross Parkhill, Stendhal Festival Director, said: “The winner of this year’s BuskFest will have the incredible chance to grace the stage of Stendhal Festival in July. This will be an exciting opportunity for the artist to reach new audiences with their musical talents and experience performing in a festival setting.

“This first-class prize highlights BuskFest‘s role in supporting and providing an accessible platform for up and coming performers, and I can’t wait to join the judging panel once again. I’d encourage anyone thinking about entering to do so as it will be a fantastic competition and experience.”

As an event that celebrates culture and inclusivity, BuskFest offers something for everyone and attracts hundreds of visitors each year to Banbridge.

BBC Radio Ulster presenter and BuskFest judge Ralph McLean said: “20 years down-the-line, BuskFest stands as a testament to the power of music to unite communities and celebrate creativity and it’s always an honour to be a part of an event that gives people a chance to express themselves through music. As a judge, I am always amazed by the talent and diversity of the performers and this year will be no different.

“Whether you’re a band or solo artist, there’s a category tailored for every talent, and you will have the chance to showcase your creativity and passion for music. This year, I have the difficult task of choosing the best among the best, but I also have the privilege of being inspired by these amazing performances that will turn the streets of Banbridge into a songfest.”

The event is organised by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council and is supported by Banbridge Chamber of Commerce and The Boulevard. Registration for BuskFest is now open and closes at 4pm on June 21, 2024. To register visit

Sign Up To Our Newsletter

Most read today

More in Banbridge