Belfast's International Arts Festival
Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s
Every year, the largest festival of its kind in Ireland brings the best of international art to Belfast and brings international attention to the city’s dynamic arts practitioners. The Festival covers all art forms including theatre, dance, classical music, literature, jazz, comedy, visual arts, folk music and popular music, attracting audiences of 60,000 annually.
To be a bold, distinctive, international arts festival which inspires, influences, informs and entertains audiences and artists locally, nationally, and worldwide.
Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s provides the best total arts experience in Ireland, portraying a positive image of Belfast and the region and acting as a catalyst for creative initiatives through the delivery of high-quality invited and commissioned events.
Festival Director Shan McAnena said:
“The Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen's is 50 this year and this is a chance to reflect on its far reaching cultural, social and economic impact – it has been an artistic force to be reckoned with over 5 decades and this year is a cause for celebration. Once again, the best of Irish, UK and international culture across all art forms is on offer and, this October, Northern Ireland is a must-visit destination for tourists who want to be inspired, delighted, provoked and to enjoy the infamous Belfast craic!
“Fifty years ago Festival was a new cultural gateway between Belfast and the world. Since then a whole forest of innovative, creative, unique artistic offering has grown up around it contributing to an invigorated, positive image of Belfast as a vibrant cultural and economic capital, as a place with a great quality of life in which it is a pleasure to do business. The Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s is proud to be at the heart of the city and the sector.”
2009 saw the Festival reach its 47th anniversary, and it was one to remember with visitors travelling from far and wide, including America, Canada, New Zealand, Germany and the Czech Republic.
Highlights included Valery Gergiev with the Mariinsky Orchestra, Seamus Heaney and Michael Longley with the Ulster Orchestra, talks by Noam Chomsky and Michael Mansfield, comedy from Julian Clary and Stewart Lee, drama from Prime Cut, Kabosh, the Abbey Theatre, DV8, Biuro Podrózy and more.