Belfast Telegraph

Countdown underway for biggest arts festival ever

by Chris McCann

The countdown to Ireland’s largest arts festival — the Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s University — is officially under way.

Unveiled on Monday, the festival programme is bursting at its proverbial seams with the best of international and local music, theatre, dance, visual art and spoken word in a packed 16-day programme which kicks off on October 15.

Taking place at a record 36 venues across the city, the festival will see a school sports hall in north Belfast transformed into the battlefields of Iraq and the tranquil Botanic Gardens turned into a mystical, magical garden.

With traditional venues from the Ulster Hall, the Waterfront, Grand Opera House and the Great Hall at Queen’s to a barge on the Lagan, Clonard Monastery and May Street Church, this year’s festival will be the liveliest and the most diverse in its 48th year history further bolstering its reputation as one of the premiere arts events on these islands.

As the festival has grown in size, stature and popularity so too has the line-up — and this year promises to be the biggest yet as organisers look to pull in up to 50,000 visitors from around the world with its top tier attractions. With round-the-clock entertainment, there really is no better time to take in the city.

Featuring more than 60 show-stopping acts the Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s welcomes back world-class comic Michael Palin, sees local legend Paul Brady perform alongside the Ulster Orchestra in his orchestral debut, while Therapy? showcase their seminal Troublegum album in full.

The festival, which last year drew more than 40,000 people to the city, runs from the October 15-October 30.

For more information on the festival programme or to book tickets, log on to www.belfastfestival.com or contact the festival box office Mon-Fri 9am-6pm and Sat 10am-2pm on 9097 1197.

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