Belfast Telegraph

Arts to draw fans to city for Belfast's Culture Night festivities

By Amanda Poole And Olivia Hammond

Culture Night Belfast 2011 is likely to be the 'Hooley' of the year.

The free annual event is one of 30 culture-filled nights taking place in cities and towns, across Ireland, on September 23 and the 'Godfather of Punk' Terri Hooley has been elected as honorary first citizen.

The aim of Culture Night, now in its third year, is to make the arts accessible to everyone and draw people into the city in the evening.

More than 15,000 people took part in 100 events last year and this year promises to be even better.

Around 160 events have been planned, including storytelling at Clements coffee shop and Barry Mullan's 'From Heaney to Hendrix' Art Exhibition at the Bigg Life Arts Initiative.

One of the signature highlights of this year's event will be a parade with the newly-elected Lord Mayor of the Cathedral Quarter 2011 heading the festivities in an open-top cavalcade. Self-professed "ageing hippie anarchist" and punk scene legend, Hooley, emerged the winner with 1,228 votes, following a battle with arts administrator Kathy Young, who received 1,074.

The crowd gathered at the Premier Inn in Waring Street on Thursday, when Belfast Lord Mayor, Niall O'Donnghaile, announced the results.

Mr O'Donnghaile said the evening of gigs, games, choirs, comedy, debates, dancing, poetry, exhibitions, theatre, street performers, taster tours and workshops would provide a boost to the local economy. Caolan McBride is one of the magicians entertaining people on Gordon Street, temporarily renamed the Street of Magic.

He said: "We will be performing close-up magic using cards, coins, anything that passers by have in their pockets."

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