Gspots! – Festival Fun at the Féile

20140731-075110-28270209.jpgHello I’m Grainne McGarvey and welcome to my column which spots local hidden gems from the world of beauty, health, fashion, tourism and hospitality. I will have my ear to the ground (quite literally) to keep you up to date about the new or interesting products and services from our neck of the woods. If you know one – get in touch on twitter @grainnemcgarvey or at

Festival Fun at the Féile

I love a good party and it looks like Féile an Phobail, which kicks off today is going to be one of the biggest parties of the summer.

Pitched as a ‘community festival’ it definitely lives up to the bill, as the run up to today’s festivities has united communities from across the city.


The first time I went to the Féile was about 15 years ago and trying to recall that heady summer during my school days (a-hem), I do remembering having a blast in a big marquee, but the breadth of artists, ideas, events etc is now very different, and I guess just like me, the Féile has evolved and matured.

Thanks to increased funding, as well as industry and governmental support, the next 11 days will see the Féile play host to 250 events across literature, drama, visual art, family fun, sports, tours and walks, discussions and debates and Irish language events in 50 venues across West Belfast and the City Centre.

When I went to the recent launch, I was impressed to learn that 90% of the events featured in the Féile programme are free and with a mix of international acts and local legends, it’s true that it will indeed have something for everyone.

Running until Sunday 10 August, acts will include Boyzone, Kaiser Chiefs, Jason Manford, Soul II Soul, Paul Young, The Selecter, Wolfe Tones, Frances Black, Laidback Luke and Blasterjaxx.

Great drama comes in the shape of the award-winning Man in the Moon from Brassneck Theatre Company, Bás a hard-hitting trilingual play (Irish, Welsh and English) set during WW1 from newcomers Schizothemia, the hilarious I’ll Tell Me Ma by Patricia Gormley and the return of the powerful Just another Statistic, written and directed by Alicia Duffy.

The hotly anticipated Scribes at the Rock has returned with authors Marina Lewycka, Ronan Bennett and Conal Creedon. Veteran journalist and broadcaster Martin Sixsmith discusses the Story of Philomena – the remarkable tale of his encounters with Philomena Lee, helping her track down her long lost son Anthony – one of an estimated 60,000 children put into forced adoption, and the inspiration behind the award-nominated movie Philomena.

The annual Amnesty Human Rights and Investigative Journalism event features multi-award winning investigative journalist Iain Overton. Iain’s career includes working for the BBC, ITN, Bureau of Investigative Journalism and New Statesman. He has exposed the truth about CIA drone attacks, deaths in police custody and been witness to the devastating impact of armed violence – making documentaries under fire in Somalia, Iraq and Colombia.

There will also be some family favourites, including the annual traditional Carnival Parade, Party in the Park, The Teddybear’s Picnic in Falls Park and a host of other events to appeal to all.

The programme is completed with an impressive range of sports, community and other events in the spaces and places throughout West Belfast, guaranteed to highlight what a culturally diverse and rich area it is.

Now in its 26th year, the Féile has grown into a well rounded event and something the organisers are fiercely proud of. It has broadened its appeal to include audiences of all backgrounds, ages and tastes, yet still staying true to its roots. All I can say is that despite getting older, it still knows how to party like we’re back in 1999 – let’s hope this older gal will be able to keep up!

Post Author: Belfast Times

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