Belfast – A city worth celebrating

The Old Rectory Guest House
Posted on 4th, June, 2017

Well known for its warmth and craic, Belfast has over recent years become recognised for its diverse and exciting festivals, of which there are many. These events range from the celebration of local musical talent and home-grown produce, to the promotion of international photography, literature and cultural diversity.

Belfast Film Festival – 30 March-08 April 2017

The 17th Belfast Film Festival saw the screening of 100 films, from 30 countries in 10 days – which is quite an achievement! The festival featured some of the most acclaimed new cinema from all over the world, a collection of the finest recent documentaries, plus Northern Irish independent feature and short films. It also celebrated the career of the actor, producer and writer, John Cusack, who himself presented ‘John Cusack in conversation’ at the Movie House, Dublin Road. It is an excellent arena for both the up-and-coming film maker, many of whom were competing for the Maysles Brother’s award and for the simple film enthusiast, searching for something fresh and original to enjoy.

Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival – 27 April-07 May 2017

The recent Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival was the 18th of its kind and offered a fantastic array of comedy, music, theatre, visual arts and spoken word. The festival primarily took place in the eclectic Cathedral Quarter, in venues such as the Black Box, the Oh Yeah Music Centre, Sunflower pub and the Festival Marquee itself. The best thing about this festival is the sheer variety and diversity of acts, and the fact that it gives both local and international acts a stage. The atmosphere this year was electric and next year promises to be even better!

Twilight market at St Georges (Spring Picnic 09/10 May & Summer Beach Party 01/02 August)

Last year’s markets attracted over 46,500 visitors and this year’s look set to exceed that number, with even more dates in the diary. This normally day-time market opens its doors for 6 evenings this year, offering a selection of local food producers, pop-up restaurants and bars, plus live music. Opening from 4pm until 11pm the market quickly fills up, so get down there early!

Woman’s Work 2017 –24-29 May 2017

‘A festival celebrating women in music’ sets this apart from the other music events which take place in Belfast. It was launched in 2016 with the unique purpose of raising the visibility of women in the music industry, who are generally in a minority. The programme this year includes 50 acts, across 6 days, including showcases, gigs, talks and exhibitions, which are open to all genders. It promises to be inspiring, challenging, encouraging and fun, hopefully you’ll have the chance to get down there and join in.

Belfast Craft Beer Festival – 25-28 May 2017

Belfast’s largest celebration of Irish craft brewing, will feature cider, whiskey, cocktails and over 150 beers, plus live music and local, artisan food. This ‘merry’ event, which takes place in Custom House Square, in the centre of Belfast, will showcase the best Irish brewers, cider makers and distillers have to offer. Tickets are £10, which includes a festival cup and a half pint if you’re down there early!

Belfast Photo Festival – 01-30 June 2017

The Belfast Photo Festival, Northern Ireland’s premier visual arts festival, was launched in 2011 and attracts over 80,000 visitors a year. It celebrates some of the most exciting local, national and international contemporary photography, across 30 museums, galleries and venues. This year’s festival focus is sexuality and gender, with a range of exhibitions, talks, workshops and screenings, which will explore how photography has a particular role in shaping ideas about identity and selfhood. This festival promises to be an inspiring, educational and contemplative experience.

Belfast Book Festival – 07-17 June 2017

The Belfast Book Festival will celebrate all things books, with over 100 events, for all ages. It opens up a world of imagination by allowing local and international writers an opportunity to interact with their readers in an intimate setting, in which they can bring their stories to life. There is a particular focus on getting little ones involved, with a Family Fun Day on the 10 June, which includes, face-painting, storytelling, arts & crafts, plus lots and lots of books!

Belfast Mela – 27 August 2017

In August the Belfast Mela, Belfast’s biggest celebration of cultural diversity, returns to the Botanic Gardens for its 10th year. The festival transforms the park into an exotic garden, filled with sights, smells and sounds from all around the world. The Mela brings together all parts of the community in a magical carnival-like atmosphere and is a real celebration of global cultures. It truly demonstrates that Belfast is a city worth celebrating.