Belsonic kicks off flood of festivals
Belfast's biggest outdoor music festival gets under way today with Belsonic kicking off a packed programme of events in the run-up to the star-studded MTV EMAS in November.
Up to 45,000 fans are expected to pack into Custom House Square over nine nights to watch an eclectic mix of artists from rap stars to rockers.
First up tonight is 30 Seconds To Mars, followed by the return to Belsonic tomorrow night of Dizzee Rascal. Friday night sees Primal Scream perform every track from their classic Screamadelica album, while Saturday, it's the turn of ex-Oasis man Liam Gallagher's new outfit, Beady Eye.
The party continues next week with double-Brit winner Tinie Tempah on Monday night, while indie rockers Elbow, one of the stand-out acts from Glastonbury, take over proceedings on Wednesday, August 24. The festival comes to a close on Saturday, August 27 with a performance by ska legends The Specials.
But Belsonic isn't the only music event taking place this month. Returning this weekend is the Sunflower Fest, which runs from August 19-21 at Tubby’s Farm outside Hillsborough. Cashier No 9 will be back on stage at the Sunflower Fest, along with Duke Special and Gareth Dunlop.
Next week sees the eagerly-awaited return of Tennent’s ViTal at a new home in Ward Park, Bangor. The two-day music festival on August 23 and 24 will see US rap superstar Eminem make his Ulster debut. Also performing will be Kaiser Chiefs, Jimmy Eat World, The Script and Two Door Cinema Club.
For the more mellow music fans, the third annual Belfast City Blues Festival will take place in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter from August 26-28. Now firmly established as one of the favourite blues festivals in Ireland, this year it will feature top US blues player Sherman Robertson as well as a wealth of home-grown talent.
Fans of traditional Irish music and folk music will be treated to some musical gems at the Feile an Droichead, the highlight of the Belfast-based An Droichead centre’s annual cultural programme.
Other events lined up for the coming months include the Clandeboye Festival, (August 29 to September 3), the Appalachian and Bluegrass Festival at the Ulster American Folk Park in Tyrone (September 2-4), Culture Night in Belfast and Londonderry in September 23, the Belfast Festival at Queen's and the William Kennedy Piping Festival, a four-day event celebrating piping cultures, which will be held in Armagh from November 10 to 13.
From October 30 to November 6, Belfast will come alive with a celebration of Northern Ireland’s rich musical heritage. This year’s Belfast Music Week event will see over 100 gigs in 30 venues across the city, culminating in the spectacular MTV EMAs hosted at the Odyssey Arena.