Music Lovers

EastSide Arts Festival 2018 has got it right again this year for music heads. Whether you’re into the traditional or the unconventional, big names or undiscovered gems, raucous whooping or silent nods of appreciation, they have pulled together an amazing variety of world-class acts, that every one of us will be able to vibe along to. 

Big Nights Out

Camille O Sullivan is something of a force of nature. Having cut her teeth in circus as a child, she became an award-winning architect and painter before jacking it all in to pursue a career in singing and performing. She is as famous for her interpretations of the songs of Jacques Brel, Nick Cave, Tom Waits, Kurt Weill as she is her unpredictable performances, which have won over the likes of Jools Holland and Jarvis Cocker. Don’t miss her back in her element, at the Big Top Circus Tent on Saturday the 11thAugust – the perfect setting for a born-entertainer. 

Taking cover in the tent the night before are 90s favourites the Hothouse Flowers. Celebrating the 30-year anniversary of their debut album ‘People’, they are in back in Belfast and might need a few people in fine voice to sing along to hits such as ‘Don’t Go’ and ‘Give It Up.’

Intimate One Offs  

Ken Haddock will be recording his album live at Willowfield Parish Church accompanied by ARCO string Quartet. Ken’s voice and his song-writing is something special, and this is a unique opportunity to be a wee part of his recorded output.  

This is your only chance to catch Hannah McPhillimyin Ireland this Summer, as the singer-songwriter is spending her next 8 months finishing off a Masters in Classical Composition in MI, USA. As you do. She will be rearranging her songs for strings and percussion and sharing a few new ones in the red-brick beauty that is St. Martin’s church. Support comes from piano-playing extraordinaire and Gary Lightbody endorsed Peter J. McCauley– another massive talent. 

Colin Hassard has won lots of plaudits for his poetry, but on the 10thhe’ll be launching his album ‘Age of The Microwave Dinner’ of spoken word and music with his high-energy band Dirty Words at EastSide Visitor’s Centre.

Play The Hits

Are you a proud Vanatic? There are plenty of opportunities to immerse yourself in East Belfast’s biggest musical export with The Van Morrison Song book – a night of interpretations of Van the man’s back catalogue from seasoned performers Anthony Toner, Ken Haddock, Matt McGinn and in Irish from​Mary Ryan with ​Dick Farrelly - and Celtic Soulperforming his seminal album Astral Weeks on Wednesday 8thAugust. 

However, it it’s the toe-tappers of the 30s and 40s and The Golden Age of Hollywood that are more up your street, you could call into The Welder’s Social Club to hear the Swingtime Starlets– an all-professional close harmony trio who perform in costume and with that irrepressible war-time spirit. 

Next Big Thing

Belfast has lots of home grown talent, but if you’re curious about what exactly is about to burst onto the scene next I suggest booking a ticket to The Collective in Concert or More Volume. The Collective in Concert is the culmination of a mentoring scheme that sees four young artists paired with Belfast musicians and accompanied by an ‘all-star’ band. More Volume is a gig booked and managed by young people of the Oh Yeah’s industry mentoring scheme – bound to be electric. 


Mad For Trad

With fife and drum is offering a musical exploration of the repertoires of Scotland and Ireland, featuring bagpipes, drums, uileann pipes, flutes tin, whistle and bodhran with world-class musicians Ross Ainslie, Conor Lamb, Steven McWhirter, Mary Bergin, Harry Bradley and Siobhan O’Donnell.  While over at the welder’s, ‘Between The Mountain and the Gantries’– a reflection on an Ulster Boyhood presented by local writers Robert Niblock and Philip Orr – is soundtracked by Ian McLean on the fife.