EastSide Arts Festival

This year’s festival programme 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, take your pick, be our guests and expect the warmest of welcomes!

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EastSide Park Fest

Two days, two parks in east Belfast and lots of activities for the whole family to enjoy.  The annual EastSide Park Fest is a two day outdoor event which celebrates the great outdoor spaces in east Belfast, celebrates the creative talent of east Belfast and is a great way to start the annual EastSide Arts Festival.  All events are free and open to people of all ages to join in with activities such as; face painting, storytelling, circus performances, dance workshops, craft workshops, a treasure hunt and much much more.


The Festival Fun Day takes place in C.S. Lewis Square and offers people the chance to try out a new creative skill or to see some local talent.  In 2018 we worked with a dozen community groups and organisations from around east Belfast in creating nearly 200metres of bunting which decorated C.S. Lewis Square for the Festival Fun Day and which then decorated our Big Top Tent towards the end of the festival.  We would like to thank everyone who participated in this project by making and donating bunting; Knocknagoney Community Centre, Hosford House Homeless Project, St Colmcilles Youth Group, Mersey Street residents, Connswater Community Gardeners, Orchardville Society Clients, Brain Injury Matters craft group and residents from; Sydenham Court, Mullen Mews, Kirk House and Bell Rotary.

Highlights at Home

We believe it is important to make sure that all residents of east Belfast have the same opportunity to access great performances and so each year as a part of the EastSide Arts Festival we host the annual Highlights at Home programme.  Highlights at Home asks some of the best artists from the festival programme that year to bring a taster of their performance into the homes of some of our most isolated residents in nursing homes, residential care facilities, sheltered accommodation and fold homes.  


The artists who take part kindly volunteer their time to give a special performance and the residents warmly open their doors to welcome us in.  Artists who have been involved in the programme so far have included; Kaz Hawins, Duke Special, Sam & Joan McCready, Jan Carson, Anthony Toner, Ronnie Greer, Tumble Circus, Hannah McPhilimy and Dan Leith.  

More Volume

In 2018, in partnership with us here at EastSide Arts, The Oh Yeah Music Centre launched an innovative new programme called More Volume which is funded by the Paul Hamlyn Access and Participation Fund aiming to encourage the involvement of young people in the Arts.  Each year the programme offers 12 young people from east Belfast the opportunity to learn about the events and music industry, from box office to marketing and promotion, to sound, stage management, artist liason and so much more.  The unique culmination of this programme is to curate and run their own live music event during the EastSide Arts Festival.


The first More Volume gig took place as a part of the 2018 EastSide Arts Festival in the Strand Arts Centre.  This free event asked only for donations which would go towards the Strand Arts Centre and included music from local bands; Valium, The Fake Flirtations and Molto Vivo.

Dementia Friendly Events

Where possible we aim to ensure all of our events are welcoming and accessible to all and have included Dementia Friendly training for some of our volunteers.  We do however also include specific Dementia Friendly events in the EastSide Arts Festival Programme such as Drum Strum Quiz Fun, a family friendly event for all ages which includes a quiz followed by performances from local musicians and the Belfast Ukelele Jam.


Although this event is specifically aimed at people living with Dementia, we do invite people of all ages and abilities to attend and encourage families to come along together and enjoy the music, quiz and home made cakes.

C.S. Lewis Festival

Born and bred in east Belfast, C. S. Lewis was one of the intellectual giants of the 20th century and arguably the most influential Christian writer of his day. His major contributions in literary criticism, children's literature, fantasy literature, and popular theology brought him international renown and acclaim.

The C.S. Lewis Festival celebrates the legacy of Lewis through themes of storytelling, imagination and spirituality with events including talks, lectures and tours, exhibitions, workshops, theatre, poetry and spoken word events and film screenings.