Belfast Telegraph

Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival: Motown magic set for Belfast

By Amanda Ferguson

The Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival line-up is complete and Belfast gig-goers are getting ready to celebrate its 15th birthday in style.

From May 1-11 the cultural heart of the city will be beating with music, comedy, theatre, visual arts and spoken words shows a plenty.

As always, the hardworking CQAF team has come up with the best local, national and international acts.

We can reveal the Belfast Telegraph-backed festival will feature soul legends Martha Reeves & The Vandellas, comedian Simon Amstell, plus Glenn Tilbrook from Squeeze, former Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain and legendary news anchor Jon Snow.

Early bird tickets for gigs such as US hip hip act De La Soul's 25th anniversary celebration performance at the Festival Marquee sold out fast, with the remaining tickets on sale from today.

Short story writer Bernard MacLaverty, performance poet Hollie McNish and rock journalist Mark Ellen will all appear on the Words And Idea programme.

Meanwhile, the anarchic Phil Kay and glam role model Katherine Ryan bolster the comedy offerings this year.

Acclaimed Irish comedy rap satirists Rubberbandits are also on the roster, as are indie darlings Wild Beasts and cult Japanese pop act Shonen Knife.

Festival director Sean Kelly said: "It's always a great thrill to announce acts that you know will resonate with audiences, and we hope the likes of Ginger Baker, De La Soul, The Selecter, Wilko Johnson, Martha Reeves & The Vandellas, Rubberbandits, Simon Amstell and Rob Newman that we've served up a suitably impressive programme for this landmark year for us."

Chief executive of Arts Council Northern Ireland Roisin McDonagh described CQAF as a "lively, eclectic and popular festival that continues to grow its reputation and audience base".

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1. Martha Reeves & The Vandellas plus Belfast Funk n Soul DJs, Festival Marquee, Friday May 9, 8pm

Soul legends Martha Reeves And The Vandellas were one of Motown's most successful groups with a string of hits in the 1960s and 1970s including (Love Is Like A) Heat Wave, Nowhere To Run, Jimmy Mack and the signature Dancing In The Street. Martha is big on style and personality, with a full band and a long list of some of the most invincible pop songs ever penned.

2. An Audience with Peter Hain, Waterfront Studio, Thursday May 1, 7.30pm

One of the Labour Party's leading figures, Peter Hain was Secretary of State for Northern Ireland from 2005 to 2007. As a child growing up in South Africa, he witnessed Apartheid first-hand and has been a committed campaigner against injustice ever since. Expect a wide ranging and stimulating discussion.

3. Glenn Tilbrook, The Black Box, Tuesday May 6, 8pm

Former Squeeze singer-songwriter and now a successful solo artist, Tilbrook has perfected a signature style marked by brilliant melodic invention, cheeky humour and slice-of-life pathos, all wrapped up with unshakable hooks and his golden boy tenor.

4. Simon Amstell, Festival Marquee, Tuesday May 6, 8pm

The comedian has toured to sell-out audiences around the UK, Ireland, Australia and the US. The second series of his critically acclaimed sitcom Grandma's House was aired in 2012 on BBC2 to rave reviews.

5. Jon Snow, The Black Box, Thursday May 1, 1pm

One of Britain's most celebrated journalists, the presenter of the award-winning Channel 4 News, Jon Snow will discuss his extensive career and share some highlights.

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