Belfast Telegraph

Record numbers expected for return of Culture Night

By Tess Davidson

Organisers of Culture Night Belfast expect this year's event to draw more than 100,000 visitors.

More than 300 events are planned as part of the single biggest evening in the city's cultural calendar.

Now in its ninth year, the event takes place on Friday, September 22.

With a theme of 'cultural diversity', the programme will see events hosted at venues including the Big Fish, City Hall, Bank Square and Belfast Harbour.

Paul McErlean, the chair of the Cathedral Quarter Trust, said this year's Culture Night would be the biggest yet.

Last year, visitors reached a record-breaking 85,000, while organisers have revealed they expect to break the 100,000 mark this year.

Culture Night's Kerry Rooney said that 2017 was set to "exceed all expectations".

"From the doors of Belfast City Hall to the doors of the Belfast Harbour Commissioners Office, Culture Night will bring the entire city to life," she said.

"With over 300 free live events our programme offers something for everyone to enjoy. From visual art to opera and roller derby to wrestling."

Other events set for later this month include a Mob and Street party on Fountain Street, outdoor Twister and the Big Belfast Choir's Bowie and Queen 'singalonga'.

Culture Night is an opportunity for Belfast to display its creativity and culture, Mr McErlean explained.

"It shines a light on the vitality of our cultural, tourism and hospital sectors," he added.

"These are all essential drivers of our local economy and offer up that unique 'Belfast' effect that people respond to positively."

The event isn't confined to Belfast, with Londonderry also hosting a Culture Night.

And with Belfast City Council and Derry City and Strabane District Council aiming to become European Capital of Culture 2023, Culture Night is proving useful as a promotional platform for local heritage.

Belfast Lord Mayor Nuala McAllister said: "Anyone who has attended Culture Night will testify to the vibrancy of the evening and the startlingly positive impact it has on our city centre, proving the vast potential we have as a city for real change and growth and to be regarded as a genuine capital of culture and a must-see visitor destination."

For programme details check out www.culturenightbelfast.com

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