Move over Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Belfast is about to experience the rush and surge of comedy, music, theatre, art and lots more! Today, Thursday 1 August is a spectacular day in my arts diary as there are three major arts festivals kicking off TODAY; The EastSide Arts Festival, Open House Festival and Feile.

With an exquisite array of talent and acts from the ridiculous to sublime. There is guaranteed summer entertainment for everyone! As we all know theatre, food and music are the way to my heart so I have went through the programming of each of these festivals and highlighted a few theatre, foodie, music acts not  to be missed! 

  • Open House Festival

1 – 31 August

Open House Festival is a month long celebration in Bangor, I’ve highlighted this arts festival previously when I attended their Seaside Revival a few months back but it would be remiss to not to mention it today, the programming gets stronger every year and shows/events are already booking up fast.

On my list are:

Theatre – A Night in November (Fri 2 & Sat 3 Aug) Ruby (Fri 30 & Sat 31 Aug) and, The Professor and the Factory (Fri 9 Aug), fantastic NI theatre not to be missed!

Film Screening – The cheesy but fantastic Mamma Mia here we go again in the Bangor Castle Walled Garden. (Saturday 24 August)

Comedy – Further Ted, a night with Father Damo and Eoin McLove who could pass that! (Fri 9 Aug)

Foodie events – Afternoon Sea, a seafood lovers heaven (Sun 11 Aug) and Desert Island Dishes a four-course dream menu with matching drinks sounds delicious (Wed 21 Aug)!

Art – Paddle and Paint, exactly what it says on the tin; paint the beautiful coastline then go in for a relaxing paddle caught my eye!

Music – London Calling, the UKs premier tribute to The Clash

(Sat 31 Aug), and The Specials (Sun 25 Aug), The Staves (Thurs 22 Aug)  need I say anymore. Manukahunney Blue (Fri 2 Aug)  an amazing soul collective who I’ve seen numerous times and adore and Bootleg Blondie (Sat 17 Aug)!!

Tickets and further info available at

  • EastSide Arts Festival

1 – 11 August

Rachael Kennedy EastSide Arts director summarises this year’s festival as “a programme that reflects and celebrates the growing diversity and creative energy that is making its presence felt in this part of the city. The landscape, history, culture and above all, people of east Belfast have provided the inspiration for 11 days of events that tell the new stories of the east in surprising and entertaining ways, hand-in- hand with the usual blend of events that allow you to immerse yourself in the history and heritage of Belfast.” So another diverse programme suitable for all I particularly like the children’s theatre in this year’s programme!

On my list are:

TODAY- A world of Rhythms; world music, dance, theatre and street food happening at CS Lewis Square!

Children’s Theatre – Mr Mess 35 minutes of fun from an accident prone physical theatre performer guaranteed to put a smile on everyone’s face! (Sun 4 Aug). Pink and Blue who says a girl wears pink and a boy blue? (Friday 9 Aug)

Theatre – A thought for your pennies (Mon 1- Sat 3 Aug) A thought for your pennies, a one man thought provoking show from Tinderbox.

Music – Play it again Jam, one of my festival favourites a fun-packed joyful Dementia Friendly gig, a joy for all! (Sun 4 Aug)

The amazing award-winning Kitt Philippa and Beauty Sleep (Fri 9 Aug)

Film – When Harry met Sally, if you haven’t seen this classic you are missing out! (Sun 11 Aug)

Workshop – Beginners Street Art with EMIC, I can’t draw but I love street art so think this one is for me! (Sat 3 Aug)

Tickets and further info available at

Feile an Phobail

1 – 11 August

The Belfast Lord Mayor said “Féile an Phobail brings West Belfast to life, with a unique offering of events and activities which entertain, educate and challenge. Its reputation continues to go from strength to strength and the positive economic impact it has on our city is fantastic.” And I have to agree this is another festival which programming is growing year by year here are my highlights!

On my list are:

Music– Boyzone, despite my street cred I was a big boyband fan in the 90’s and Take That and Boyzone featured highly on my play list! (Sat 10 Aug)

Foodie– Professional Master Chef, the cream of crop of Belfast’s professional chefs in competition

Theatre– Brassneck theatre presents the story of Bombay Street 1969 in their new production Something in the Air (7 – 11 Aug)

Art – Lise McGreevy, Abandoned, a fascinating photography exhibition of abandoned homes in Co. Donegal.

Family Fun – Storytelling night in Falls park for families (Mon 5 Aug), Feiles Magic Science Show (Wed 7 Aug), The Cribby World Cup although I think this one maybe titled wrong as where I’m from its called Kerbsie! (Sun 11 Aug)

Tickets and further info available at

Hopefully there will be something that catches your eye to attend this August, let me know if you attend any of the festivals and tag me in any of your photos.

Emer D xx