Belfast Telegraph

The Beat Carnival turned a Belfast night into a Day of the Dead

By Gary Grattan

It was all for a good cause as the arts organisation helped the Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s celebrate its 50th birthday bash with a ‘spooktacular’ celebration.

The event was free and was topped off by two electrifying performances from Arcadia’s Lords of Lightning who harnessed four million volts into an awe-inspiring fusion of primal wizardry and technological alchemy for their high octane shows.

David Boyd, director of Belfast-based Beat Carnival, explained: "Based on the El Dia Los Muertos festivals of Latin America, the Day of the Dead events are a chance to celebrate all that was good in the past and organisers felt this was the perfect way to celebrate 50 years of Belfast Festival.”

Around 300 people wearing specially-designed costumes made by artists at The Beat Carnival in Belfast took part in a lantern-lit parade from Writers' Square to the City Hall.

The procession also featured themed floats manned by sumptuously dressed skeleton figures – including a corpse bride and groom - dancing to mariachi bands and New Orleans funeral jazz.

This unique event, a first for the city, transformed the City Hall grounds into something from a Tim Burton production with fire pods, story-telling, wandering entertainers and fire jugglers.

Magic shows, face painting, a Little Big Top, fire works, food stalls and a 50th birthday cake helped round off this year’s landmark Belfast Festival at Queen’s in this fun community event for all ages.

“Carnival is creative art form which has universal appeal. It was a unique way for Northern Ireland to mark cross cultural events in a way which everyone could enjoy – a real shared celebration where diversity and creativity were promoted and celebrated.

“Beat Carnival is Northern Ireland’s own take on carnival, a home-grown concept helping local communities deliver events of the highest quality,” added Mr Boyd.

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