Out To Lunch festival back in Belfast for 2023

As the Out To Lunch Festival announces its return to Belfast in the early new year for another nourishing feast of arts and culture, we take a look at what's on the menu for 2023...

Andy White is just one of the musical turns signed up for this year's Out to Lunch Festival
David Roy

BELFAST'S annual boutique winter arts festival Out to Lunch will return in the new year for another bumper helping of music, comedy, theatre, film and spoken word from the folks behind the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival.

Running from January 7 to 29, the 18th Out to Lunch will be feeding the bellies and brains of punters at over 50 events taking place at partner venue The Black Box and numerous other locations across Belfast in the afternoons and evenings.

There's an extensive live music menu available this year including Andy White, The Leading Ladies, Nine Below Zero acoustic, a celebration of Tom Waits's beloved Swordfishtrombones LP's 40th anniversary, Dark Tropics, Opera for Lunch, Blue Rose Code, Wookalily, Neil Young tribute Harvest, Manukahunney, Una Monaghan, Special Consensus, No Oil Paintings, Mick Flannery, Myles McCormack, The 2:19, Madison Violet, The Skallions and local supergroup Ceithre Cinn featuring Suzanne Savage, Ciaran Lavery, Finnian Kelleher and Matt McGinn.

A packed comedy programme includes Reginald D Hunter, Isy Suttie and Robert Newman, Britney Spears-centred smash Oops, This is Toxic, Vittorio Angelone with his take on Brian Friel's Translations, Josie Long, Teresa Livingstone, Drunk Women Solving Crime, Emer Maguire and Rosie Holt.

Readings and spoken word events include Louise Kennedy, Natalie Haynes's take on Medusa and Fionola Meredith presenting her debut novel Stamp of Beauty, while bridging the worlds of music and literature will be ex-Lush legend Miki Berenyi with her memoir Fingers Crossed: How Music Saved Me From Success and Mogwai man Stuart Braithwaite reading from his autobiography Spaceships Over Glasgow. The festival will also feature a musical ensemble version of The Third Policeman.

The Out to Lunch film programme features the new Patti Smith documentary Electric Poet and Energy, the acclaimed film about legendary Can frontman Damo Suzuki. There's real life Spinal Tap fun with F*** It Up, a film about deservedly forgotten early-00s band Towers of London, the Fat White Family short Moonbathing in February, and the Father Earth documentary plus Q&A with film-maker Graham 'John Shuttleworth' Fellows.

John Carpenter's They Live


The festival will also mark the 35th anniversary of John Carpenter's classic sci-fi satire They Live, and offer the public another chance to gather together for a special screening of the Michael Flatley spectacular Blackbird.

Festival director Sean Kelly said: "We're delighted to be serving up another Out to Lunch Festival. This is a difficult and dark financial time for so many of us and affordable, accessible events are more important than ever. With a bumper programme of live music, comedy and more, we hope to offer a little light throughout the darkest month of the year."

:: Full festival programme and ticketing details via