Thousands of people every year attend a summer festival where they experience exhilarating live performances, enjoy unique experiences and make new friends, and this year in Northern Ireland is no exception with so many excellent festivals to choose from all over the country.
Tourism NI’s Destination PR Officer Pauline Gormley explains why attending a festival is the perfect way to ensure you have a fun filled summer to remember:
“Whether you have a love of live performances and spending time with friends or you are after something more low key and a day out with the family, there is a great festival to suit you in Northern Ireland.
“Our varied festival selection means that foodies, music lovers and keen culture vultures are all catered for – the only difficulty is choosing which one you want to visit. Why not turn your festival experience into a short break or holiday and sample some of Northern Ireland’s hotels, B&Bs and self-catering properties and don’t forget the many caravan park and glamping sites to really make you time away special,” said Pauline.
Tourism Northern Ireland has outlined a list of fun festivals that are available over the coming months:
Ulster Fleadh / Fleadh Uladh | 18 – 26 July | Dromore, County Tyrone
This huge celebration of traditional Irish music, song and dance returns to the village of Dromore with concerts, lively pub sessions and impromptu street performances, culminating in a Cultural Parade.
Fiddler’s Green International Festival | 19 – 26 July | Rostrevor, County Down
This popular, long running festival will feature over 200 events including music, outdoor ceilis, children’s activities, guided mountain walks, art exhibitions, workshops and sports. Confirmed music acts include Irish artists Seamus Begley and Steve Cooney, Kíla, Danú and The Sands Family.
Happy Days Enniskillen International Beckett Festival | 23 July – 3 August | Enniskillen, County Fermanagh
A multi-arts festival celebrating Irish Nobel Prize writer Samuel Beckett, who attended school in Enniskillen. The line-up features theatre, dance, film, visual arts and literature, with international names from across the arts world. Quirky venues include the island town’s four churches and nearby Devenish Island.
August Féile | 30 July – 9 August | Belfast
Ireland’s largest community festival plays host to headlining music from home and abroad, as part of a diverse range of events including comedy, sporting, exhibitions, tours, drama and debates. This year’s headline acts include reggae legends UB40 and comedian Frankie Boyle.
Sunflowerfest | 31 July – 2 August | Hillsborough, County Down
This well established and family-oriented festival will feature superb live music, storytelling, poetry and interactive art, dance and music workshops, in a beautiful setting with on-site camping at Tubby’s Farm near Hillsborough.
7 Hills Blues Festival | 6 – 9 August | Armagh City
From Chicago Rhythm to Funk Style this festival brings some of the finest Blues bands to the atmospheric streets of Armagh, with local bands appearing alongside top class international acts. Fringe events add an artistic and family-oriented buzz, with eateries and shops getting involved to bring a real Blues feel to the city.
Stendhal Festival | 7 – 8 August | Limavady, County Londonderry
This multi-award-winning music and arts festival will return for a fifth year to Ballymully Cottage Farm near Limavady. There will be a vast array of musical genres, including Friday night headliner and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, Donovan.
Club MTV | 15 August | Derry~Londonderry
Following on from the success of MTV’s visit to the city in 2014, there will be an MTV Club event at Ebrington Square this Summer. Stay tuned for line-up announcements.
Belsonic | 15 – 26 August | Belfast
Belsonic returns to Belfast’s Custom House Square this August with another eclectic range of world-class musical artists. The line-up will include Rudimental, Duke Dumont, Paloma Faith, Stereotypes, The Coronas and Bastille.
EastSide Arts Festival | 19 – 31 August | Belfast
An annual festival celebrating the creative talent of East Belfast. One confirmed highlight will be the return of the hugely successful Dancing Shoes – The George Best Story to the city’s Grand Opera House.
Hilden Beer and Music Festival | 28 – 30 August | Hilden Brewery, Lisburn, County Antrim
A favourite for all lovers of beer and music, at Ireland’s oldest independent brewery. Enjoy more than 20 acts over three music stages, with three bars serving over 30 ales, stouts, lagers and ciders from Ireland and Britain, plus a food village in the front garden.
Tennent’s Vital | 29 – 30 August | Belfast
Taking place at Belfast’s Boucher Road Playing Fields, this is one of the biggest events in the local music calendar. Big names Calvin Harris, Ellie Goulding, John Newman, The Script and Kodaline are among the confirmed acts.
Carnival of Colours | 29 – 30 August | St. Columb’s Park, Derry~Londonderry
This flagship circus, arts and music festival will be filled with top treats for all the family. Highlights include the very best of international and local street theatre, storytelling, workshops and international foods, with evening cabaret, music and comedy.
Belfast Mela | 30 August | Belfast
The Mela (a Sanskrit word meaning ‘to meet’) returns to the city’s Botanic Gardens for a huge multi-cultural celebration of music, dance, food and visual arts.
Bluegrass Music Festival | 4 – 6 September | Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh, County Tyrone
Head to this popular outdoor museum where there will be strumming on the porches of the log cabins, dancing in the cobbled streets and jamming outside the General Store! The line-up includes some of the biggest names in bluegrass, hailing from Ireland, England, North America and mainland Europe.
To find out more about activities and events taking place in Northern Ireland click on www.discovernorthernireland.com/events or visit your local tourist information centre.