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EastSide Arts Festival

2017 programme launch


Today EastSide Arts announced that, from 3 - 13 August, east Belfast will become a hive of creative energy as details of the EastSide Arts Festival 2017 programme were revealed.

Everyone is invited to come and explore the east of the city, its people and places during a fantastic 11-day festival packed with music and words, theatre, film, tours, visual arts, workshops and community events, all rounded off with the EastSide Family Circus and Big Top weekend.

The Festival will use a diverse range of venues across east Belfast including; C.S. Lewis Square, Strand Arts Centre, EastSide Visitor Centre, Maple Leaf Club, The Bath House,
Skainos Rooftop Garden, St Martin’s Church, Willowfield Parish Church, The Bank, and the Tumble Circus Big Top – to name but a few. 

Highlights for this year include; Free Festival Fun Day featuring a purpose-built People’s Pharmacy where creative prescriptions will be handed out to passers-by to brighten their day; EastSide Family Circus at the Big Top on C.S. Lewis Square offering entertainment for the whole family; Big Top Weekend featuring a cabaret evening and performances from both Gareth Dunlop and Ciaran Lavery; other music highlights include Ken Haddock and the Arco String Quartet recording a new album, Anthony Toner, Kaz Hawkins, The Illegals with Niamh Kavanagh and Belfast Community Gospel Choir; poetry from Jan Carson, Poetry NI and Glenn Patterson; comedy and magic from Midweek Magic Club to the return of Murder She Got Wrote Off ; theatre including Sam McCready’s adaptation of Robert Harbinson’s No Surrender; Terra Nova’s new anti-racism play, Me You Us Them; a diverse range of cinema screenings at Strand Arts Centre and a special pop-up screening of A Patch of Fog at Wyse Byse Warehouse which was a location for the film; bus, walking, cemetery tours and the  Van Morrison and George Best tours; a host of visual arts, classes and workshops including courses at The Bank with the Belfast Bankers.

During the festival, east and west Belfast will connect with the Translink East West Bus Tour, specially commissioned for the festival, and Féile Unplugged where EastSide Emerging artists will perform.

Belfast Lord Mayor, Councillor Nuala McAllister said;

 “Belfast City Council is delighted to be funding the EastSide Arts Festival again this year – and to see it continue to grow in vision, stature and reach.  A central goal of our Belfast Agenda is to make Belfast a vibrant and attractive city – and thanks to EastSide Arts Festival, we can all look forward to being inspired, entertained, intrigued and uplifted by the arts this August, whatever our age, interests or background.”

Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive of Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said;

“The Arts Council, as principal funder of EastSide Arts congratulates the festival organisers who continue so successfully to expand opportunities for people to access a wide range of high-quality arts in this part of the city. It is important that we acknowledge how the arts, with support from National Lottery and public funding, continue to make a major contribution to the creative, cultural and economic life of Belfast. We hope many residents, visitors and tourists alike take the opportunity this coming August to visit the east of the city and participate in this year’s excellent festival programme.”

Rachel Kennedy, Director of EastSide Arts Festival, added;

“This year’s EastSide Arts Festival is a noisy celebration of the creative energy of the people of east Belfast. We find ourselves in a flourishing time, an exciting time for artists and communities and we have the pleasure of inviting you to come and explore this part of the city, its people and places for yourself, over the eleven days of the festival. We would like to thank our principal funder, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, and funders Belfast City Council and The Executive Office for their vital continuing support. Sincere thanks also to our key sponsors, Arts & Business Northern Ireland, The British Council, Translink, Hewitt & Gilpin, Connswater Shopping Centre and Retail Park, Forestside Shopping Centre and McCadden for their brilliant support and enthusiasm in being a part of this year’s EastSide Arts Festival.”

For full festival programme including tickets visit or Facebook/EastSideArtsBel and Twitter @EastSideArtsBel  #ESAFest17.


Pictured at the launch were, Ken Fanning and Tina Segner of Tumble Circus with ‘Phil the Pharmacist’ aka Mary Jordan who will be part of the festival fun day at C.S. Lewis Square on Saturday 5th August.