Countdown to the EastSide Arts Festival

Actress Kirsten Haston and actor and writer Sam McCready at the launch of the EastSide Arts Festival

EAST Belfast is set to become a hive of cultural activity as the annual EastSide Arts Festival serves up 12 days of comedy, movies, theatre, talks, workshops, exhibitions, poetry and heritage tours for young and old. Taking place from August 19-31, there will be 78 events, 33 of which are free, as well as many other exhibitions.

Among the musical highlights are concerts by the area's greatest musical export, Van Morrison, who will deliver two sold-out performances on Cyprus Avenue. Coming to the EastSide Arts festival straight from their Glastonbury performances are Derry 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, trad band Altan and east Belfast native Brian Houston, in a rare hometown appearance.

Literary events include Glenn Patterson, who will read from his new book Here’s Me Here, London-based author Lucy Caldwell reading from her forthcoming debut short story collection Multitudes and a collaboration between author Jan Carson and musician Hannah McPhilimy exploring in words and music the emotions raised in Jan's novel Malcolm Orange Disappears.


East meets West with two special events in partnership with Féile An Phobail: songwriters from the east of the city will perform interpretations of the Van Morrison songbook, along with performances by artists in Irish, at An Cultúrlann in west Belfast; and Pearse Elliott's comedy play The Holy Holy Bus will be staged at The Stormont Hotel.

Babies and toddlers can get join in the festival at The Baby Rave at Belvoir Players Theatre while young people are sure to be left spellbound by NI Stars' youth production of Little Shop of Horrors at the Strand Arts Centre. Other events include a belly dancing workshop, Tim McGarry's Irish History lesson, a tour of Boundary Brewing Cooperative and a talk by broadcaster Stuart Bailey on the links between music and conflict in Northern Ireland.

For full programme and booking visit


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