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Ross Parkhill on his favourite things

Published 27/07/2015

Life's a beach: Ross Parkhill loves to walk along the Benone shore to relax
Life's a beach: Ross Parkhill loves to walk along the Benone shore to relax

The 32-year-old is the director of the Stendhal Festival of Art. He lives near Limavady with his girlfriend Nichola Farren and their son, Henry (2).

My best moment

It was standing watching the band Turin Brakes as they headlined the first Stendhal Festival in 2011. It was a great moment because we had planned a festival that was ultimately unsuccessful in 2008. It took three years to pay that off, so seeing everything finally come together in 2011 was fantastic.

My best song

Radiohead’s Karma Police. I wasn’t particularly into music or the arts before I went to Glastonbury in 2003. While seeing the song performed I had a thunderbolt moment about music. I started talking about organising my own festival at Electric Picnic in 2006.

My best way to relax

A 20-minute steam room session or a nice walk on Benone Beach usually does the trick. 

My best job

It’s certainly being the director of the festival. I studied economics at university, then ran quite a big bakery in Limavady afterwards. I’ve always seen the festival as a kind of an economic project — there are about 130 people volunteering for us now, of whom 50 are active for about four months of the year.

My best bit of advice

Supply creates its own demand. In my context it means, if the supply of the festival is good enough, then it will generate more demand and people coming to it, which Stendhal has. My economics lecturer at Jordanstown used to say this, but it’s quite well-known in economics.

My best gift

Other than Henry, it was a VIP ticket to Glastonbury in 2009. I was working in London at a bar at the time and the landlady was dating the guy who managed all the Glastonbury bars. It gave me access to a lovely campsite with showers and toilets right behind the Pyramid Stage. It also gave me access to the hospitality area so I could go in and mingle with the stars.

My best achievement

That has to be Henry. I’m loving being a dad, although I’m not getting to spend much time with him now in the run-up to the festival. Once it’s done, we’ll be able to hang out.

My best book

I have two, Wittgenstein’s Poker is one, it’s the story of two Viennese philosophers. I was never overly academic but after discovering this book

I’ve started reading more philosophy. The second book is called The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb and it’s about probability and statistics.

My best film

Fo rme, it’s Forrest Gump. I’m not a movie buff and I rarely watch TV, but I like  this movie for its  simplicity.

My best buy

That has to be the 2003 Glastonbury ticket. It was a revelatory moment for me and started me on the path towards Stendhal

  • The Stendhal Festival of Art takes place on Ballymully Cottage Farm, Limavady on August 7-8. For tickets visit

Belfast Telegraph

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