Thursday, July 30, 2020


North Belfast is best Belfast.

That is just a fact.

I will not be taking questions at this time.

I was born, bred and live in the north (yeeooo) so of course I would say that, but I am happy(ish) to admit that east and west Belfast are pretty great too.

They both have cracker arts festivals to start with.

The Covid-19 pandemic means the 32nd Féile an Phobail (July 20th- August 9th) and the 9th Eastside Arts Festival (August 6th- August 16th) are taking different formats this year.

For 2020 Féile will be 100% online.

While it would be lovely to leave the People’s Republic of North Belfast and head west, the coronavirus has other ideas.

I love getting out and about but the prospect of not having to leave my home to be entertained is pretty appealing.

Pjs, a few quarantinis or cuppas, and snacks on the settee while watching events on Youtube, Facebook or Twitter sounds good to me.

I am looking forward to Noam Chomsky – The World After the Pandemic - on Sunday, August 2nd at 8pm, and the Clonard Monastery Concert with Bernadette Morris, Gráinne Holland and Ríoghnach Connolly on Tuesday, August 4th at 9pm.

Look through the Féile programme and fill your diary.

Now, here comes the shameless plug for the Féile event I am taking part in.

Check out Let’s Talk Politics on Wednesday, August 5th at 3pm, which was a lively recording.

I wonder did they keep all my eye-rolling in…

Feile pic

Anyway, you can use the hashtag #VirtualFeile2020 to have your say and find out who agrees/disagrees with us.

Féile an Phobail director Kevin Gamble said: “If you miss an event you can go back and watch it on our Virtual Library on our website also.

"Our full events programme is on our website so you can go on now and have a look through to see what events you want to watch.

"Together we will make it memorable.”

Ok, next we move east, where the Eastside Arts Festival, which is Moments of Joy themed this year, is 50% percent online.

Eastside Arts Festival director Rachel Kennedy told amanda.ie: “We are excited to be welcoming people to attend the festival in whatever way they feel comfortable.

"Half the events are online and half are live outdoor and indoor events.

“We will be following all the government guidance and making sure everyone is safe and comfortable.

“We have theatre, comedy, walks, talks, and tours for all ages that celebrate the creativity and diversity of east Belfast.”

ESA Fest Pic 3

The festival hasn’t been around as long as Féile, and wasn't designed to compete with it, rather it perfectly complements it, and in normal times we could use to the Glider to move between the two parts of the city.

I am looking forward to Eastside's 75 Van Songs: Songs, landscapes and film at 3pm on August 7th, and the Still I Rise Storytelling event on August 14th at 2pm looks great for the small people in your life.

View Eastside Arts programme and again, get your diary filled.

See the Eastside Arts website and the Féile website for more.

Do yourselves a favour people, get involved in both festivals, get entertained and support the arts!

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