EastSide Arts Festival, Belfast, August 5th – 15th Preview

By Conor O’Neill

With over 100 performers and boasting 80 events, there will be surely be something to interest all ages at this year’s EastSide Arts Festival.

The performances will be both online and at outdoor location in the east of the city for 10 days. Let’s just keep our collective fingers crossed that the current rain-scattered weather breaks into sunshine for the first couple of weeks of August.

The festival is brought to you by the team at EastSide Arts, an initiative by EastSide Partnership which is celebrating 25 years of delivering regeneration projects across east Belfast this year.

*Pictured from left to right: actor John Travers, Liam Hannaway from The Arts Council of Northern Ireland, musician Neil Martin and festival director Rachel Kennedy*

With the might Samson and Goliath as a backdrop curious punters will be dying to see what’s on offer this year. Well, there’s simply too many to list, the full programme can be found here: Festival 2021 | EastSide Arts,

A few events that caught my eye are the Mixed Comedy Bill for a night of laughs at The Vault Artist Studio, Billy Boy, a play by Rosemary Jenkins which focuses on young bonfire builders, the Dragtastic Wrap Party featuring Lady Portia D’Monte and friends anad capping off the 10 days and nights of merriment music named Celtic Soul which will be live at C.S. Lewis Square which will be featuring the 50th anniversary of Van the Man’s Moondance postponed from last year, as well as a tribute to Gary Moore on the 10th anniversary of his passing.

Director of the festival, Rachel Kennedy said: “We are delighted to invite everyone to join us this at this year’s festival where the theme is ‘Connection’. This year’s programme is packed with unique, interesting and funny and engaging artists and events. The pandemic continues to present us with challenges . however we have created a safe, accessible festival which can be enjoyed at home or in person, where everyone’s wellbeing is our priority.

Lord Mayor of Belfast, councillor Kate Nicholl added: “We are delighted to support the EastSide Arts Festival, one of our Cultural Multi-Annual Grant recipients. Belfast is proud of its festival scene and these events play a vital role in our 10 Year Cultural Strategy, A City Imagining. I’m impressed at how this year’s festival is combining online activity with in-person events as restrictions ease following a challenging period for our local arts sector.

“The EastSide Arts Festival promises to bring an incredible range of activities to celebrate and showcase local talent and I’d like to take this opportunity to wish the organisers and participating artists the best of luck.”

*Pictured from left to right, Lord Mayor of Belfast Kate Nicholl, actor Rachel McCabe and festival director Rachel Kennedy*

For full festival programme and ticket information visit http://www.eastsidearts.net

Follow the festival on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram #ESAFest21


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