Audience votes will decide Belfast Festival favourite
It's almost time for the big opening of this year's Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen's, and the Belfast Telegraph is looking for your votes for the best show in town.
As media partner to the festival, which kicks off this Thursday, we are asking audience members to log on to our website once the festival opens and tell us which show they think should win the Belfast Telegraph Festival Audience Award 2013.
"Whether you shared an aria or two with Jose Carerras (below left) or enjoyed your long wait for Godot, we want to know just which act made this year's festival memorable for you," said Belfast Telegraph arts journalist Matthew McCreary.
"And we've made it even easier this year, with a special dedicated page on our website featuring a list of each act, beside which you can simply click on the number of stars you think it deserves."
As well as casting your vote online, festival volunteers will also be on hand at selected shows with voting slips to pass out to audience members. Simply mark your score on the slip and hand it back to a member of staff.
This will be the 51st Belfast Festival, and highlights of the programme include the unveiling of new public artwork Wish in the Titanic Quarter, as well as renowned international tenor Jose Carerras and performances by blues musician Eric Bibb (below right) and Portuguese fado singer Carminho.
Meanwhile, 400 free tickets for the festival have been snapped up within days of being made available.
The Ulster Bank Community Tickets initiative, which saw free tickets for top gigs offered to community groups, proved extremely popular and tickets are now being distributed to a diverse range of associations, clubs and groups right across Northern Ireland.
Head of Ulster Bank Northern Ireland, Ellvena Graham, said the bank is delighted to be helping even more people access the festival.
"Ulster Bank's support is not confined to just helping with running costs and finances.
"We want to make the festival accessible for everybody and making tickets available for community groups is an important part of this.
"We're thrilled with the enthusiastic response to the scheme and we are delighted to help even more groups be part of this year's festival."
1 Jose Carerras, Waterfront Hall, Thursday – takes to the stage for the big opening concert.
2 Wish, Titanic Quarter, Thursday – the brainchild of artist Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada, this impressive installation will see a 'new face' for Belfast unveiled in one of its most up-and-coming areas.
3 Carminho, Elmwood Hall, Friday – the pain, passion and power of Portugal will be brought to life when the Fado singer brings her entrancing vocals to the Music Club.