Welcome to The Court House – an independent venue, owned and operated by local music and arts charity Open House. Located on the seafront, right in the heart of the newly designated City of Bangor, County Down, we hope the Court House will become the beating heart of Bangor’s burgeoning music and arts scene.
We’ll be bringing you a year-round programme of quality and cutting edge live music, comedy, film, theatre, spoken word, food & drink events, featuring international artists alongside local creatives, and celebrating Bangor’s rich musical heritage. Whoever you are, wherever you’re from, we hope you’ll find a warm welcome and an open mind in The Court House.
The Court House Director is Rachael Campbell-Palmer (email@example.com) who is supported by:
Short history on the road to opening
After seven years of hard graft, and support from a great many people, we have raised almost £2m through grant aid and donations to fully restore and redevelop this beautiful Victorian listed building and turn it into a working venue.
Originally built as a bank in 1866, it was converted to a magistrate’s court in 1954, hence the name. Decommissioned in 2013 it lay empty until Open House took ownership in December 2020 via Northern Ireland’s first even Community Asset Transfer. This is a big step for Open House, as we change from a festival-based organisation to running a year-round venue – with new staff, new ambitions and the new challenges this brings.
The Court House is owned and operated by registered charity Open House Festival Ltd and run on a not-for-profit basis.
Open House Festival was established in Belfast in 1999 and moved to Bangor in 2013. It has been organically grown and tenderly looked after by two local people, Kieran Gilmore and Alison Gordon, who are still at the helm.
Our mission is to create events and experiences that empower people and transform places. We aim to place creativity at the heart of our town’s identity and economy. We believe that music, art, culture and festival events are the regenerative force that will transform Bangor from its seafront dereliction and failed retail sector into a modern seaside destination.
Alongside The Court House, Open House runs:
Open House Festival – an annual summer festival in August. At the heart of the August Festival is an eclectic programme of lovingly curated bespoke events, including folk on a boat, an island picnic trip, pop-up restaurants, local interest talks and tours alongside a run of shows in the beautiful Bangor Castle Walled Garden which include music, theatre, comedy, spoken word and film.
Seaside Revival – a free vintage festival, celebrating Bangor’s heyday as a thriving seaside town.
Year-round concerts & events – in both Belfast and Bangor – any additional income is re-invested in free events, running costs and projects that create greater social impact.
Street Art – as part of our overall placemaking initiative we have commissioned a number of large street art pieces by local award winning and international street artists. These can be seen in and around the seafront and we will have photos of these for you soon
Charity No: NIC103648 | Company Reg No: NI42872 | Vat No: 408 8908 64