FROM old rockers and ravers – to a reality show contestant. Feile an Phobail is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year with an eclectic line-up.
Electronica favourites Faithless and Madchester rockers Happy Mondays were announced as headliners for the Feile 25 festival, running at 50 venues across west Belfast and the city centre from August 1-11.
The annual community festival was launched at Conway Mill yesterday. Organisers said while music is a key focus, it will also include comedy, visual art, drama and literary events, plus tours, talks and street parties.
Also known as the West Belfast Festival, 250 gigs will take place over 11 days. Fresh from his stint on Britain's Got Talent, Londonderry singer Jordan O'Keefe will be making an appearance, as will Co Down-born comedian Patrick Kielty.
Singing sensations The Priests will be with the Ulster Orchestra at Clonard Monastery. There will also be a programme of thought-provoking talks and discussions, including Amnesty's popular journalism panel event – Human Rights and Investigative Journalism.
Feile director Kevin Gamble said: "A quarter-of-a-century of inclusive engagement with communities from within and outside west Belfast is a great achievement in anybody's book. But I'm hugely proud to say, that as Feile an Phobail has grown year in, year out, it has also stayed resolutely true to its roots.
"In true Feile style, our 25th birthday is going to be a celebration of the very best of the west, and we're delighted to have so many big names taking part alongside the very best local talent."
Feile is supported by the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, the Arts Council NI and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, as well as Belfast City Council, Foras na Gaeilge and Tennent's NI.
Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Roisin McDonough, said celebration of "community, the arts, people, culture and creativity" has been at the core of Feile throughout its 25 years
"Arts and culture can be used as a positive force for change, they have the power to transform lives; if ever an example of this was required, Feile can proudly shine as an example," she said.
"Through determination, hard work and goodwill Feile has reached a significant milestone. We have been here, supporting them from the beginning and we look forward to a further 25 years."
NITB events manager Eddie Rowan said Feile will boost the local economy, while Stormont Culture Minister Caral Ni Chuilin said she was delighted this year's festival has been expanded to include extra events to complement the hosting of the World Police and Fire Games in Belfast.
"These additional events will ensure both locals and visitors will have an opportunity to join in the fun, and experience the friendly Belfast welcome," she added.
For more information follow @feilebelfast on Twitter or visit www.feilebelfast.com.