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Thought it would be good to have a thread that keeps track of all of the various festivals and major events happening in and around Belfast.

Belfast Music Week



Belfast Music Week 2013 is a celebration of home-grown musical talent at over 70 venues. From intimate venues to the grandeur of the Ulster Hall, this year’s programme includes classical, dance, folk, rock and acoustic performances as well as industry panel events with some of the leading figures in the international music scene.

To keep up to date with ticket and gig announcements, logon to www.belfastmusic.org or check out the official Facebook page at www.facebook.com/belfastmusic.

Belfast Christmas Market

Date: 16 Nov 2013 - 22 Dec 2013
Time: Mon - Wed 10am - 8pm; Thu - Sat 10am - 10pm; Sun 1pm - 6pm
Venue: Belfast City Hall grounds


Christmas Continental Market at City Hall is back from 12 noon on Saturday 16 November. Enjoy the fantastic range of food, beverages, crafts and decorations on offer from across Europe and beyond.
View Belfast Christmas Market Flickr gallery 2012

In 2013, there are 16 brand new traders for you to visit (and 15 local stalls). Browse a selection of handbags, satchels, socks, hats and gloves, wooden toys, essential oils, crystals, hand-painted pottery and Christmas decorations and much more!

Go retro and get a special photo taken with your family or friends in a snowy, festive scene and visit Santa in his grotto.

Santa's Grotto opening times:
  • Mon - Tue 11.30am - 5pm
  • Wed 2pm - 5pm
  • Thu - Fri: 2pm - 7pm
  • Sat: 12 noon - 6pm
  • Sun: 1pm - 6pm.

Taste of Christmas at Saint Anne's Square

Following on from the success of their Summer Food Festival, St Anne’s Square brings you its’ “Taste of Christmas” Festival. Join the restaurants of the Square in their Christmas celebration of food & drink. With festive craft stalls and local food producers from Taste NI combined with chef demonstrations, kids cookery lessons and the turning on of the Christmas lights, this family friendly weekend will really get you in the Christmas mood.

Date: 30 Nov 2013 - 1 Dec 2013
Time: TBC
Visit: www.facebook.com/StAnnesSquare for more details

Belfast's Winter Wonderland

Custom House Square is getting ready for an extra special Christmas this year as it prepares for the arrival of Belfast’s Winter Wonderland.

Santa will arrive in his grotto with a sack full of presents and goodies on Saturday 30 November, marking the start of the Christmas season in Belfast.

Belfast’s Winter Wonderland will also host a spectacular open-air skating rink which is set to dazzle visitors this Christmas.

Lose yourself in the magic of Christmas with rides including The Festive Ski Jump, Santa’s Sleigh Ride, Santa’s Reindeer Ride and Santa’s Tea Cups. Mulled wine, hot cider and hot chocolate are just a few of the seasonal goodies on offer to keep you warm this winter.

Douglas Taylor, managing director, said: “Belfast’s Winter Wonderland is the ultimate Christmas experience and the skating rink really completes the package.

“Children will get to visit Santa in his grotto where they will receive a special gift from the man himself and they will also have the opportunity to post their letters to Santa in a special Christmas post box. The fun doesn’t stop there as families can then venture out to the festive rides and enjoy some seasonal treats to complete the Christmas experience.

“Belfast’s Winter Wonderland is all about creating memories that will last a lifetime.”

Belfast’s Winter Wonderland will be open every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and school holidays from 30 November from 10:00am to10.00pm; every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 10am to 8pm, and every Sunday from 12pm to 8pm (closed on Christmas Day).

For more information on money saving discount packages and family packages available please visit www.belfastswinterwonderland.com . These special packages are only available online. Please note than online packages and bookings must be made at least 24 hours in advance of your visit date.
 

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The St Annes thing sounds delicious. Will definitely be getting down for that. Also excellent to see Customs House Square getting a proper use over Christmas- even more so that the event there is on over the holiday period itself.

I was wondering what those pink cats that have appearewd on advertising were all about! That's quite the extensive line up they have on offer.

Honest to god, with all the events on, and new bars etc. opening, i'm going to be several times bankrupt come January.
 

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CS Lewis' life celebrated in Belfast festival

A festival celebrating the life of writer CS Lewis - creator of the famous Chronicles of Narnia - has begun in his birthplace of Belfast. The inaugural CS Lewis Festival takes place from 18-23 November and has been funded by Belfast City Council. It marks Friday's 50th anniversary of the death of the renowned author, theologian and academic.

Among the highlights will be Lewis by Lamplight, an enchanted tour of the writer's old school, Campbell College.

A famous lamp - thought to be the inspiration for the lamp in Narnia, where Lucy first met Mr Tumnus - will be officially turned on.

Throughout the week, there will be events commemorating and exploring the legacy of Lewis and his close links to the city that so inspired much of his work.

Festival organiser Wendy Langham said: "CS Lewis is one of those figures that everybody has heard of, but perhaps few realise that he was born, and for a time, was schooled in east Belfast. "On the 50th anniversary of his death, the CS Lewis Festival seeks to discover and celebrate those connections and invite people to come on a journey with us across the east, and hopefully have a lot of fun in the process."

Among the events will be a reading from Shadowlands by William Nicholson, based on the life of CS Lewis. An exhibition, Through the Wardrobe, by artist Jonathan Barry will run at the Linenhall Library.

There will be the chance to see documentaries, hear readings and listen to music inspired by Lewis.

A new CS Lewis Trail will be launched during the festival, taking people through east Belfast and the landmarks that helped shaped the young writer's life and work.

Speaking about the festival, Belfast Lord Mayor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir said: "This fantastic programme of events is a great way to celebrate the life of one of Belfast's greatest sons. "CS Lewis is recognised as one of the most talented authors in the world and has brought our city international acclaim."

The festival has been organised by the East Belfast Partnership,

Lewis was an Oxford University fellow and tutor at Magdalen College. He died aged 64 on 22 November 1963.

http://www.communitygreenway.co.uk/CSLewisFestival
 

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Really looking forward to the CHSq idea. I can't iceskate but the rest of the family can; this will be ideal for them. What I'd really love, and thought about heading into Belfast yesterday, was a ski slope on Divis. One artificial and one "real" that would allow all year usage as well as the experience of skiing in NI on real snow on probably 20 days in a good season.
 

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I'm delighted to see Custom House Square getting some use over xmas, I was wondering how long it would take someone to put an ice rink there!
 

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Out to lunch: Arts festival due to get under way in Belfast

Organisers of a Belfast arts festival due to get under way on Thursday have said it is going from strength to strength. The ninth annual Out To Lunch festival runs from 2-26 January. During this time, the city's Cathedral Quarter will host a packed programme of events at lunchtimes and evenings.

Last month, one of the headline acts pulled out due to security concerns. But festival director Sean Kelly said many shows were already sold out.

"Nine years on from our first handful of shows in the back of a truck in Writer's Square, I'm very proud to say that Out to Lunch is now a vibrant, ever-expanding thing of wonder," he said.

"We're delighted to be offering our usual thrilling mix of music, spoken word and comedy in the Black Box this year, as well as offering up 'extra portions' for the first time, in venues like the Barge.

"With the likes of Nina Conti, Barry Cryer, Josie Long, David Rodigan, John Hegley, John Otway, Lindi Ortega, Edna O'Brien, Jacqui Dankworth and Hugh Cornwell on the menu, we're delighted, in a city full of festivals, to be the one that kick-starts the New Year with a bang.

"As last January showed, severe weather conditions and various other disruptions can't stop the mighty Out to Lunch."

The programme features performers from across the musical spectrum from reggae to jazz, and classic pop to folk, blues and rock 'n' roll as well as comedy and one-man shows.

Belfast Lord Mayor Máirtín Ó Muilleoir said: "Thanks to their efforts and the ongoing support of an appreciative public, this festival has now become a highlight on Belfast's cultural calendar. "I am delighted that it continues to go from strength to strength".

The Cathedral Quarter is one of Belfast's main entertainment venues and home to several bars and restaurants. Last month, a small bomb placed inside a holdall detonated in the Cathedral Quarter as police were clearing members of the public from the area. Musician Julian Cope, who was due to perform in the Black Box as part of the festival, contacted organisers to say he would not be able to attend because of the "security situation in Belfast".

At the time, organisers said they were hopeful to find another performer to fill the vacancy.
 

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Belfast Children's Festival 2014

7 Mar 2014 - 14 Mar 2014

A treat for families on cold March days, a range of venues across Belfast will once again play host to some outstanding international and local productions for young audiences in the annual Belfast Children’s Festival. Now in it's 16th year the programme will include theatre, dance, music, visual and the digital, sonic arts.

Click here to download the festival programme.

For further information and tickets visit www.belfastchildrensfestival.com

Ticket prices start at £4 and many workshops are free.

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Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival 2014

28 Feb 2014 - 9 Mar 2014

10th United Airlines Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival

The Belfast Nashville Songwriters' Festival is a celebration of the art of song writing and with more than one hundred artists performing over 10 days in 50 events, Belfast will come alive to the sound of singer-songwriters from Northern Ireland and around the world during the festival which is now in its 10th year. From Americana to Blues & Rock, Country to Traditional Folk, there’s great live music on offer at The Holiday Inn Belfast and Empire Music Hall.

With support from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, more than one hundred local artists will perform including Gareth Dunlop, Bap Kennedy, Simon McBride, Chris Keys, Sara Crockett, Amanda Agnew, Triona, Farriers and Wilfie. They will share a stage with international hit-writers Donovan, Midge Ure, Chip Taylor (USA....wrote Wild Thing), Jim Lauderdale (USA), Billy Yates (USA), Bagatelle, My Darling Clementine and Texas songwriter Lee Roy Parnell (USA).

The 10th United Airlines Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival is a festival not to be missed!

View flyer

For more information and to book tickets, visit www.belfastnashville.com

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Brilliant Corners Jazz Festival

26 Mar 2014 - 29 Mar 2014

This is the second year of Brilliant Corners – a festival of jazz in Belfast, presented by Moving On Music.

The four day event is a celebration of local musicians associated with the music, together with international contemporaries. From post bop to free jazz, electronic to contemporary, R&B to flamenco, Brilliant Corners has it all.

So come along and enjoy Belfast’s only dedicated jazz festival. In the words of Kieth Jarrett “Jazz is there and gone. It happens. You have to be present for it. That simple.”

Venues:
Crescent Arts Centre
Box office number 028 9024 2338

Black Box Belfast
028 9024 6609 Tickets via Visit Belfast Welcome Centre box-office.

The MAC Belfast
028 9023 5053

For more information visit www.brilliantcornersbelfast.com
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Féile an Earraigh 2014

Féile an Earraigh 2014

Féile an Earraigh (Spring Festival) celebrates the best of Irish and International music, culture and the arts in West Belfast and further afield. The festival presents a wide variety of arts and cultural events over 7 days , centered in the heart of the vibrant Gaeltacht Quarter.

Féile an Earraigh provides a varied programme of music, dance, exhibitions, workshops, tours, walks, discussions and drama providing a huge opportunity for visitors and locals alike to tap into the rhythms which define this vibrant, creative and unique quarter of the city and West Belfast in general.

Friday 14 March - Doors 8.00pm
The Damned with support from Belfast Punk Legends The Outcasts and Suckin Diesel. Big Top Marquee, Beechmount leisure Centre Site, Falls Road Belfast.
Tickets are £15.00 and are available from https://feilebelfast.ticketsolve.com

Saturday 15 March.
Feile welcomes the participants of Rith 2014 with Traditional music, face painters and family fun.
4pm to 7.30pm

Sunday 16 March
The iconic Lee Scratch Perry with support from Boss Sound Manifesto. Big Top Marquee, Beechmount Leisure Centre Site, Falls Road Belfast. Doors 8.00pm Tickets £15.00 available https://feilebelfast.ticketsolve.com

Monday 17 March
Celebrate St Patrick's day in style with the best in family fun for all with face painters, bouncy castles and trad acts throughout the day as well as the All Ireland Hurling and Gaelic Football Club Finals on big screens.
 

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Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival scoops De La Soul, Ginger Baker and Wilko Johnson

Legendary hip hop stars De La Soul will be joined by Booker Prize-winning author DBC Pierre and comedian Rob Newman for the 15th Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival (CQAF)

American trio De La Soul are celebrating 25 years since the release of their world-conquering debut album, 3 Feet High And Rising.

Also on the festival bill this May are two-tone greats The Selecter, Vernon God Little author DBC Pierre, and 60s drumming legend and Cream founding member Ginger Baker with his stunning Jazz Confusion outfit.

Festival favourite, political comic Rob Newman will bring the laughs with his new New Theory of Evolution stand-up show.

Whirlwind guitarist Wilko Johnson will be performing, in spite of his ongoing battle against cancer, as well critically acclaimed comedy rap satirists Rubberbandits.

Also adding their names to the line up are dance pop stars **** Buttons, who were hand-picked by director Danny Boyle to play at the Olympics Opening Ceremony.

Indie darlings Wild Beasts, Mark Mulcahy, Madison Violet, The Webb Sisters, The Handsome Family, World music superstars Tinariwen and cult Japanese pop act Shonen Knife will all grace the festival stage.

In addition, Jimi Goodwin of rock giants The Doves will make his first solo outing to Northern Ireland, while one man punk storm Hammell on Trial intends to blaze a trail through the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival, which the Belfast Telegraph is a media partner for.

Colin Reid's musical adaptation of The Third Policeman makes a welcome return to the festival fold.

Festival director Sean Kelly said: "We're still working at the programming, but frankly we were so excited about the line-up so far, we just had to share."

"It's fitting that on our 15th anniversary, it's shaping up to be a festival to remember. We hope people are as excited about our early birds as we are."

CQAF FACTFILE

  • The Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival (CQAF) is an annual festival of music, comedy, theatre, art and literature in Belfast.
  • CQAF traditionally takes place in the first weeks of May in Belfast's Cathedral Quarter.
  • The CQAF started in May 2000, attracting an audience of just over 5,000 and now regularly attracts over 60,000 people to over 100 events throughout Belfast's city centre.
 

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Giro d'Italia Northern Ireland events revealed

Organisers have been giving more details of what spectators can expect at the Northern Ireland stages of the Giro d'Italia cycle race. The Giro d'Italia stages in Northern Ireland take place from Friday 9 May to Sunday 11 May.

A week-long festival is being held in Belfast, with other events on the Causeway coast and in Armagh.

Susie McCullough from the NI Tourist Board said the "planning's all done, we're just getting excited now".

"We're dressing buildings, we'll be turning buildings pink like the Albert Clock, city hall itself and also the Ulster Museum," she said.

"There will also be lots of unique activities."

Assistant Chief Constable Alan Todd had some advice for those who want to watch the race, as well as those who want to avoid it.

"Our advice to cycling fans is know where you want to go on the day, get up early, get there early and enjoy the day and be safe - these guys travel fast," he said.

"People who don't want to be involved in the cycling, who want to avoid some of the minor disruption around the event, understand where the event is over the days, make plans accordingly and either make other plans or use the public transport programme available."
 

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Belfast Mela

Belfast Mela



The Mela returns to Botanic Gardens on the 24th August 2014 from 12pm-6pm for the eighth year of world music, dance, food, fashion and fun!

The word Mela comes from the Sanskrit for ‘meeting’ or ‘uniting’. Belfast Mela is not only celebrating world diversity but is taking its place as one of the province’s hottest, fastest growing tourist attractions.

This year’s event is jam packed with a show stopping line up featuring music, dance, food, fashion, street theatre, circus and carnival from across the globe, all presented in a high energy and vibrant day out.

Headlining the Mela’s World Stage will be Malkit Singh with his live band. Hailed as the ‘King of Bhangra,’ Malkit Singh is one of the few Punjabi icons around in today’s Bhangra industry.

They will be joined by an array of live world music and dance including Cuban beats from Son Yambu, rousing gospel music from Discovery Gospel Choir, energetic dhol drumming from Virtue Dholis and Bollywood beautifulness from Rafquat Ali Khan & The Bollywood Brass Band over three live stages.

Click here to book tickets

There will also be special local showcases from the Ulster Youth Choir and Irish language group An Droichead.

Other highlights include:

  • The Fantasy Forest, a brand new children’s arts experience featuring a diverse programme of interactive nature-inspired creative arts workshops, delivered by visual artists, craftspeople, dancers, musicians and storytellers.
  • Razor sharp theatre group Les Enfants Terribles will excite and entertain little ones with a mysterious, magical and magnificent nature spotting journey across the world, packed with Vaudeville acts, live musicians and puppeteers.
  • Contemporary dance production Jugni (meaning ‘Female Firefly’) which portrays an illumination of personal stories through intricate play of movement, rhythm and rhyme contributed by women from all over the UK.
  • Bangalore Dreams taking audiences on a journey across multiple musical genres with divine harmonies and dazzling rhythms.
  • Asian fashion bazaar
  • Street arts shows
  • Health and well-being area

Time: 12noon - 6pm
For more information visit www.belfastmela.org.uk or telephone 028 90231 381
 

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All Ireland bid to host 2023 Rugby World Cup

Officials from the Irish Rugby Football Union will join representatives from the Northern Ireland Executive and Irish Government to outline their plans to jointly host the tournament.
Both administrations have been engaged in a preliminary assessment exercise over the last 10 months.
The aim was to weigh up the feasibility of submitting an official bid.
In February, former Irish international Hugo MacNeill was asked to chair the cross-border working group examining the issue of hosting the sport's showpiece event.
As well as the traditional rugby stadiums such as the Aviva in Dublin, the Kingspan at Ravenhill in Belfast and Thomond Park in Limerick, a 2023 World Cup in Ireland would also hope to utilise a number of impressive Gaelic football venues, including the 82,300 capacity Croke Park in Dublin.
http://www.bbc.com/sport/0/rugby-union/30333843

:cheers:
 

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Cultural night was great and loads of people were saying Belfast needs more of this stuff.

P.S. Really loving Dean Kanes - aka Visual Wastes and Dermot McConaghy aka DMC murals. Did a walking tour with him last Sunday which was fascinating.
 

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Cultural night was great and loads of people were saying Belfast needs more of this stuff.

P.S. Really loving Dean Kanes - aka Visual Wastes and Dermot McConaghy aka DMC murals. Did a walking tour with him last Sunday which was fascinating.
The street art is simply excellent, especially the 'Dream' by Dan Kitchener as featured by BUG above.

I don't know if it was my high expectations from previous years, the sheer volume of crowds or the fact that Adam Turkington stepped down from organising it, but I don't think I quite enjoyed it much as previous years.

Granted, I was with my 37 week expectant missus, so couldn't go anywhere too buckshee (Skipper Street and Hill Street in CQ were nuts), but one of my favourite bits of last year was walking from CQ through writers square then down royal avenue and then round to bank square for some oui poutine (try it), but the crowds this year were just mental everywhere and there was a lot more pissed up youth being dісkѕ as far as I could see (and corresponding police presence).

It was still very good though. It's so liberating being able to dander round Belfast with beer in hand. I'd got to thinking it would be a good idea to to see more regular, smaller culture nights throughout the year, rather than one massive one... It's possibly in danger of eating itself.
 

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Maybe but something at the height of summer would be perfect!! Long evenings and (chance of) sunny warmer evenings. Call it summer culture night and this would be autumn.
 

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Maybe but something at the height of summer would be perfect!! Long evenings and (chance of) sunny warmer evenings. Call it summer culture night and this would be autumn.
The bank holiday at the end of May would be perfect for it. It seems to be the only point of the year where we actually get some decent weather.
 

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The street art is simply excellent, especially the 'Dream' by Dan Kitchener as featured by BUG above.

I don't know if it was my high expectations from previous years, the sheer volume of crowds or the fact that Adam Turkington stepped down from organising it, but I don't think I quite enjoyed it much as previous years.

Granted, I was with my 37 week expectant missus, so couldn't go anywhere too buckshee (Skipper Street and Hill Street in CQ were nuts), but one of my favourite bits of last year was walking from CQ through writers square then down royal avenue and then round to bank square for some oui poutine (try it), but the crowds this year were just mental everywhere and there was a lot more pissed up youth being dісkѕ as far as I could see (and corresponding police presence).

It was still very good though. It's so liberating being able to dander round Belfast with beer in hand. I'd got to thinking it would be a good idea to to see more regular, smaller culture nights throughout the year, rather than one massive one... It's possibly in danger of eating itself.
I think you're spot on.

These sort of events can be too busy and that impacts on the overall feel and enjoyment. The crowds this year were wild and I did notice more drunkenness with the associated loudness than previous years.

I think a few more smaller events would help reduce the crowds at Culture Night and make it a bit more enjoyable.
 

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It might be worth spreading it out more across the city?

Also note - imagine how much more crowded it'll be with the loss of the majority of Writer's Sq

(before someone jumps in about how it's being preserved - just look at the plans and the area lost even with the new pedestrianised bit in front of the Cathedral.)

Also the lack of a space to be able to stand far enough away and appreciate the facade of the church and spire above it is an ancilliary but real loss too of the business-focused plans for Royal Exchange...

I'm hoping that this first hand experience illustrates my own opposition to the plans wrt that aspect
 
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