The Eastside Arts Festival kicks off today (Thursday August 6) with plenty of cultural and musical events designed to showcase the musical talents and artistic culture in East Belfast. Over 80 events are planned during the ten-day festival, and organisers hope that there is something for everyone included.
“Moments of Joy” is the theme for this year and locations across East Belfast and elsewhere will present community and private events for young and old in the form of music, comedy, movies, theatre, talks, workshops, exhibitions, poetry and heritage tours. Each year, the festival grows in ambition and reach, with more venues included, a wider mix of events on offer and greater celebration of the growing arts scene in East Belfast and the city as a whole.
With 2020 being a complicated year in particular to host and organise events, the festival will offer online and virtual events as well as some events such as walking tours and performances which participants and audiences members need to be physically there for to participate.
“The programme continues to reflect and celebrate the growing diversity and creativity that is making its presence felt in this part of the city”
Speaking of this year’s event, Rachel Kennedy, the Director of the Eastside Arts Festival commented; “This is a year like no other and like all our friends and partners we will be putting the health and safety of our audiences above everything else. For this reason, most of our festival events this year will be productions that you can enjoy online.
There will be the usual assortment of events that celebrate the people, places and spaces of East Belfast for everyone to participate in, but this year we have adapted many of these so that audiences can choose to enjoy many of these safely at home or outdoors.
With the theme, ‘Moments of Joy’, the programme continues to reflect and celebrate the growing diversity and creativity that is making its presence felt in this part of the city.”
“Live events such as the much-anticipated play by Kabosh, The King of East Belfast, which will be a welcome return for audiences to live, socially distanced theatre.”
The event is sponsored by many organisations including Belfast City Council and Tourism Northern Ireland. Noirin McKinney, the Director of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland who is the principal funder of Eastside said she was “delighted to be able to support the EastSide Arts Festival as an important community-based event. They have produced a great programme for 2020 in response to the circumstances imposed by Covid-19; from online, live-streamed music from EastSide Electronics, to virtual tours of C.S. Lewis or the Yardmen, to live events such as the much-anticipated play by Kabosh, The King of East Belfast, which will be a welcome return for audiences to live, socially distanced theatre.”
A live online gig by the talented and award-winning Joshua Burnside is the highlight of the opening day of the festival before a full celebration of the musical work of the legendary Van Morrison is commemorated on Friday August 7. A full programme is available on the Eastside Arts Festival website so attendees can pick and choose which events they want to attend, whether that would be live at the venues or from the comfort of their homes.