Community festival, Feile an Phobail is now in full swing and there are still lots of events taking place across West Belfast until it ends this Sunday. I was lucky enough to get tickets to two great concerts that were on opposite ends of the musical spectrum.
Firstly girl band, All Saints took to the stage in the Big Tent in Falls Park last weekend and the crowd partied like it was 1999 again. Although more of a mum band these days, this didn’t stop the feisty foursome dance and shimmy their way across the stage much to the delight of the crowd, which was made up mostly of thirty somethings enjoying their hits like Never Ever, Black Coffee and Pure Shores.
The band were loving the attention and seemed happy to be back in Belfast and glad such a crowd turned out on for them on a pretty damp and dreary Sunday night. I’m going to see them again in Birmingham in October, so this gig was a great sample of what I can expect.
Last night I was lucky to bag one of the sold out tickets to another special musical event with Mary Coughlan, Frances Black and Sharon Shannon. This time in the beautiful surroundings of Clonard Monastery, this was a truly magical experience. I went last year and loved it so much I had to come back. The pews were packed with all ages and despite not being able to see much (we were in the very back seat) the music carried and it was the perfect evening to just sit back and enjoy three Irish legends do what they do best.
My Feile experience to date shows what the festival is all about – big enough to welcome major acts, but is still small enough to care. If you haven’t been yet, there is still lots happening until it ends on Sunday – here are my top picks!
Wednesday 10 August
West Belfast Talks Back: A lively discussion about topical issues of the day. this year’s panel includes Martina Anderson MEP, Joe Brolly, GAA commentator. Chair:Tara Mills.
Thursday 11 August
Holly Johnston & Special Guest Roland Gift: Holly Johnson spearheaded Frankie Goes to Hollywood, one of the biggest-selling pop acts of the eighties. Holly went on to have a successful solo career with such massive hits such as Americanos and Love Train. He returned in 2014, after years away from the music industry, with the stunning album Europa. Roland Gift is the unmistakable voice of the Fine Young Cannibals, whose hits include She Drives Me Crazy and Johnny Come Home.
Friday 12 August
Scribes at the Duncairn: Glenn Patterson and Angelina King take part and share their thoughts. Chaired by Marnie Kennedy.
Saturday 13 August
Deacon Blue with Hue & Cry: After more than six million album sales, twelve UK Top 40 singles and two UK number one albums, Scottish music legends Deacon Blue make their return to the live stage in 2016 with some of the biggest shows of their 30 year career.
Sunday 14 August
City Hall Rocks Back: Féile Unplugged is back again on the lawn of our City hall, in what is becoming a great platform for some of the fantastic young emerging, and more established bands of Belfast and beyond.