Photo by Daniel Sheilds


After the success of AVA’s return last year, we picked out some of the acts you won’t want to miss. Obviously, this year’s lineup has some worldwide acts and is full of underground sensations, so we picked some of the locals that deserve your full attention on the Titanic Slipways.

Grab your tickets to AVA Festival here if you haven’t already.


After an explosive AVA debut last year on The Grasses stage, Belfast based EMBY will surely be geared up to unleash his hard-hitting bars again this year. Having earned his stripes leading local jungle, grime and D&B nights, he has developed an effortless ability to control the energy of  crowds when he is on the mic.

While easily able to spit over just about any tune or rythm, EMBY has also been building his own catalogue of tracks that I’m sure he’ll drop into his AVA set. His track with Tomike ‘Radio’ is an absolute neo-soul anthem that shows off a new dimension to his abilities.

Do yourself a favour and check out his stage this summer if you want to see a true microphone controller in his element.


Belfast local controller OPTMST is riding a serious wave at the minute, after being featured on the Extended Delay compilation album that features some of the best Irish producers about. His knack for crafting ambient soundscapes is something he has  been perfecting over the pandemic, with his track ‘Luv Hz’ mixing electro breakbeats with sensational moody vibes.

While like most producers over lockdown, he has been delving into more tender sounds, but OPTMST is no stranger to heavier beats and can build a true sonic experience when he’s behind the decks.

Make sure he is highlighted on your festival guides if you fancy getting those fists in the air.


This budding artist is one of our one’s to watch this year, having recently broken onto the local electronic scene, she has made an instant impact. Combining eclectic tastes of rock, techno and D&B, her sets are picking up quite the reputation for the unexpected - expect some live vocals and instrumental elements mixed throughout her flawless track selections.

Her debut track ‘Secrets’ is still on heavy rotation on our personal playlists, a proper D&B pumper that weaves itself right into your core. Go check her out her material beforehand,  just to save yourself from getting blown away by her set at AVA.


With the success of the grasses stage last year at AVA, the introduction of some new sounds has been acted on in a great manner by the festival bookers. Enter Galway shoegaze band NewDad that have been tearing up the airwaves on BBC Radio 6 with nearly every song they’ve released.

The band have a great collection of atmospheric tunes that should provide a lovely contrast to some of the heavier sounds of AVA - while also letting their strong fuzzy effect pedals drive it home to a new audience why they are one of the most exciting new Irish bands.

Expect some tender choruses, swirling guitar effects and pounding drum sections on the Titanic Slipways this summer, this will be one of those ones that you get to say ‘Yeah, I saw them before they were headliners’.

Nikki O

With an impeccable knack for finding brilliant UKG, techno and DnB cuts, Belfast native Nikki O returns to the festival after a standout set last year. Tipped as the ‘Next Annie Mac’, due to her stellar array of radio shows she has under her belt where she shows off her otherworldly crate-digging abilities.

The young mixer packs out her Subtle Radio shows with the cleanest cuts across dance music, while also providing a platform for fellow selectors to get on the decks in her guest mix series. Her constant collaborations have definitely proved that Nikki O is more than capable of playing to a spectrum of tastes - and doing it as well as anyone. Her slot at last year’s at AVA was a euphoric affair, so don’t be surprised if she throws in a 90’s classic or a curveball anthem into her not-to-be-missed set this summer!

If you didn’t have any more reasons to go to AVA, we just gave you 5 more, so go ahead and get your ticket!