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Plenty of teenage kicks in store as Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival hits 13th year


Velvet sounds: Former Velvet Underground star John Cale

Velvet sounds: Former Velvet Underground star John Cale

Gareth Cattermole

Velvet sounds: Former Velvet Underground star John Cale

The Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival enters its terrible teens this year with a suitably raucous line-up to mark the milestone.

Back for its 13th run, the daring and progressive 11-day festival boasts a ‘so-hard-to-beat' mix of established stars, emerging artists and fringe acts in music, comedy, literature, theatre and art.

As part of the eclectic music line-up, art rock and Velvet Underground legend John Cale makes a rare Northern Ireland appearance. Also on the bill are electro-rock champions Death In Vegas, Irish punk heroes and Teenage Kicks authors The Undertones, with support from another Londonderry band, the hotly-tipped Wonder Villains.

Vintage sounds with a modern twist come courtesy of St Etienne, while the Rubberbandits will be kicking up a rowdy comedy Celtic hip-hop mash-up. Other musical highlights include Field Music, Haggis Horns, Hazel O'Connor, Hackney Colliery Band, folk super-group Andy Irvine, Donal Lunny, Liam O'Flynn and Paddy Glackin, and African music diva Fatoumata Diawara. Will Kaufman follows up a blistering Out To Lunch Festival performance in January with All You Jim Crow Fascists: Woody Guthrie’s Freedom Songs.

La Faro, Rupture Dogs, Katy And The Carnival, the legendary Henry McCullough and artist in residence Rachel Austin complete the line-up.

Highlights of the CQAF comedy corner include Ardal O'Hanlon, (Father Dougal Maguire from TV show Father Ted), German funnyman Henning Wehn and Mark Thomas, who will be reading from Extreme Rambling. And Black Books star Dylan Moran will be making his long overdue debut.

The finest parliamentary sketch-writer of his generation, Simon Hoggart, makes a welcome return and the award-winning shows John Peel’s Shed and At Large: Dave Allen make their Northern Irish debuts. Neil Simon’s classic “buddy study” The Odd Couple, starring Belfast's own Joe Lindsay is revived for the festival.

The ever-popular Alexei Sayle will read from his acclaimed books, while local lad Michael Smiley makes a homecoming with his celebrated, hilarious Immigrant! show.

Belfast author Glenn Patterson will be reading from his hotly anticipated new novel The Mill for Grinding Old People Young. And CQAF is delighted to introduce the Virginia Monologues – agony aunt Virginia Ironside’s hilarious one-woman show.

The festival, which runs from May 3 to 13 at various venues in the Cathedral Quarter, will also feature a number of thought-provoking films, including premieres of Riot From Wrong and Uprising — Hip Hop And The LA Riots — documenting two very different urban uprisings.

There will be workshops, exhibitions, family entertainment, the traditional Glitter And Sparkle event, a Big Global Market and an Olde Belfast Velo Jaunt.

Addressing guests at the programme’s unveiling this week at the Dark Horse Tea Rooms, Cathedral Quarter, arts festival director Sean Kelly said: “Thirteen is always a milestone year and this year we're very excited to be entering our teens. Our programme is suitably celebratory in spite of the challenges facing the arts at this time. We're immensely proud of what has been achieved over those 13 years.

“In providing 11 days of affordable events as diverse as Dylan Moran, John Cale, Death in Vegas and Alexei Sayle, the festival is playing a lead role in ensuring 2012 is a momentous year for the city.”

For more, log on to www.cqaf.com

Belfast Telegraph