The east of the City is getting ready for the hottest summer yet as the annual EastSide Arts Festival, delivered by East Belfast Partnership, serves up a sizzling, 12-day feast of events, from 19th – 31st August. Locations across the EastSide, and beyond, will help to unpack a festival picnic featuring 78 events including 33 FREE events across music, comedy, movies, theatre, talks, workshops, exhibitions, poetry, events for the young and old, community events and heritage tours.
Among the musical highlights are concerts by Van Morrison, who will deliver two sold out performances on Cyprus Avenue. Coming to the EastSide Arts festival straight from their Glastonbury performances are rising star Soak and east Belfast’s own Duke Special, in concert with special guests Malojian. Also lined up are acclaimed American jazz singer Dana Masters and Irish music legends Altan, with special guest Kat Turner – and much more.
The festival will host a wide range of readings, film screenings, poetry, heritage events and lectures. Highlights include Glenn Patterson, who will read from his new book ‘Here’s me here’ and author Lucy Caldwell, who will read from her forthcoming debut short stories ‘Multitudes.’ Gerald Dawe appears with the singer Eleanor Shanley in a special reading/concert, as one of many writers showcasing their work at the festival. The award winning poet Alice McCullough will perform a series of special outdoor recitals at ‘The Hollow’ throughout the festival, while the fantastic Sam McCready will perform his one-man show ‘Percy French Melodies of Unforgotten Years’. Film screenings include the work of acclaimed New York-based artist Marcus Robinson and the work of the late Stewart Parker. Also, Brian Keenan will deliver the David Ervine Memorial Lecture in memory of one of east Belfast’s most revered and visionary politicians.
The Festival also features partnerships with two city centre shows which have strong east Belfast connections, from Marie Jones’ comedy, ‘Fly me to the Moon’ at the Lyric to the smash hit musical based on the George Best story ‘Dancing Shoes’, at The Grand Opera House. East meets West with two special events in partnership with Féile An Phobail. Songwriters from the EastSide will be performing interpretations of the Van Morrison songbook, along by some performances by artists in Irish, at An Cultúrlann in West Belfast and the critically acclaimed play ‘The Holy Holy Bus’ will be staged at The Stormont Hotel.
Something for young and old is guaranteed. From The Baby Rave at Belvoir Players Theatre to NI Stars’ youth production of the fantastic ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ at the Strand Arts Centre. Budding Spielbergs can check out the film production school with Strandtown Studios.. Beer connoisseurs will enjoy the Boundary Brewing tour – or for those in search of heritage, why not check out the many heritage tours, including Templemore Avenue Baths – swimming suits not required.
Watch out for an incredible range of free events, including Ciara O’Malley’s mobile space project featuring her interactive caravan of art located at Connswater Pocket Park. Discover the industries of old east Belfast at the Public Records Office or take a trip down memory lane and sing along with John Trotter. For the future story writers take the kids to story workshops, in Skanios Centre, storytelling at Short Strand Community Centre or for budding actors check out acting workshops at Holywood Arches Library. Not forgetting the fantastic family-friendly Orangefield Park Celebrations on August 29, organised by Connswater Community Greenway, featuring workshops, music and street theatre.