Over 40 events and exhibitions make up a kaleidoscope of visual arts, music, film, theatre, literature, comedy and magic that will take place in a variety of venues across east Belfast, including libraries, bars, cafes, social clubs, art galleries, shopping centres, hotels and Belfast City Airport.
The culmination of the Festival will be the Big Top Festival in Aircraft Park (Holywood Road) on Saturday 8th September, which will see Van Morrison returning home to perform in east Belfast for the first time in many years.
Before Van takes to the stage a variety of musical talent will be showcased by local acts including Brian Houston, Gareth Dunlop, Belfast Community Gospel Choir, Anthony Toner and Van’s daughter, Shana Morrison.
Speaking at the launch in the Engine Room Art Gallery on the Newtownards Road, Maurice Kinkead, East Belfast Arts Festival Chairman, said:
“It is great to see so many people here today for the launch of the East Belfast Arts Festival.
“It shows that there is a huge interest in the arts in east. We look forward to delivering this high quality festival this year and for many years to come”
Lord Mayor Alderman Gavin Robinson, also in attendance, said
“Looking at the programme for the East Belfast Arts Festival, it is clear that we have a creative and eclectic selection of events for the first year of this festival. I am delighted to be here to mark this occasion and wish the organisers and participants every success”
Speaking at the event Katy Best, Commercial and Marketing Director at George Best Belfast City Airport, principal sponsors of the Festival said:
“We are delighted to be partnering the inaugural East Belfast Arts Festival and must congratulate Maurice and the festival organising committee for assembling such an incredible line-up showcasing a multitude of local and international talent.
“Not only will the festival add to the already extensive ‘ni2012’ celebrations but also to the tourist offering in Belfast and indeed Northern Ireland.”
Roisin McDonough, the Chief Executive of the Arts Council Northern Ireland said,
“A wealth of creative talent has emerged from east Belfast, and continues to do so. The East Belfast Arts Festival is a wonderful new opportunity to celebrate the best of East Belfast and express pride in local artistic achievement.
“The Arts Council is delighted to sponsor this vibrant, new arts festival in the east of the city and welcomes the addition of this creative and cultural event to the Northern Ireland festival programme”.
Theatre & Literature Highlights
C.S Lewis and literary themed tours are programmed as are creative writing workshops and a show with local man Dan Gordon. Local theatre company productions include the Brassneck Theatre Company presenting ‘Basra Boy’ and a double feature performance by I Love Theatre.
Visual Art Highlights
Art in the Eastside III, the largest curated outdoor exhibition to ever take place in Belfast will commence on Thursday 6th September, featuring 26 billboards of various artworks including 6 celebrating the local east Belfast community.
Wannabe photographers can exhibit their own work as part of the Shorts Camera Club Exhibition. London illustrator Hicks 54 is the Festival’s Artist in Residence and will be working with a local community group to deliver Street Art in the area. Ruth Gonsalves Moore, Duncan Wallace and James Millar are amongst the other artists showcasing at the Festival.
Film buffs are in for a treat at the Yellow Fever Film Festival with a wide range of film genres on show including horror, zombie, action, comedy, drama, romance and documentary movies. If zombies are your thing, you can even participate in the charity zombie walk and fun day at Stormont Estate!
Belmont Tower will be the location for comedy and fun during the festival. Shane Todd, one of the fastest rising comedians in Ireland, and guests will be on hand to offer some light entertainment on Thursday 6th and children will be amazed and dazzled by deception at the Mini Magic Club on Saturday 8th September.
The full programme is available to download online at www.eastbelfastartsfestival.org
Tickets for the Big Top Festival are available from www.ticketmaster.co.uk
To purchase tickets and for more information visit www.eastbelfastartsfestival.org
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Pictured at the launch is Chair of the Festival Maurice Kinkead, Commercial and Marketing Director at Belfast City Airport Katy Best and one of the performers, singer–songwriter Brian Houston.