Arts Council of Northern Ireland

The Funding and Development Agency
for The Arts in Northern Ireland

028 9262 3555

Northern Ireland Music – Festivals

Northern Ireland Music

Belfast International Arts Festival
Established in 1962, this annual multi-arts festival is the city’s longest-running international contemporary arts event. The festival reflects the diversity of contemporary creative practice from around the world through a world-class programme of theatre, dance, classical and roots music, visual, film and digital arts and literature, accompanied by outreach and educational events. Taking place every October, the Belfast International Arts Festival offers more than 100 events featuring Ireland premieres and a host of top international acts.

Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival
The Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival is an annual multi-arts festival taking place in April/May and hosting more than 150 shows in some 30 venues in Belfast’s city centre. It has been a major contributor to the arts/cultural-led regeneration of the Cathedral Quarter area of the city and is renowned as one of the most dynamic festivals on these islands. In 2006 CQAF established a second multi-arts festival, the annual Out to Lunch Arts Festival, running every January and featuring the best in music, comedy, theatre and literature. Both festivals draw artists and audiences from all over the world.

IMBLOC International Traditional Arts Festival
The IMBOLC International Music Festival, taking place in Derry-Londonderry in January/February, is one of the island of Ireland’s leading folk and world music festivals. Whilst still firmly rooted in the musical cultures of this island, the festival has grown in depth and breadth and now encompasses music genres ranging from folk, traditional and roots to jazz, contemporary and world music.

Panarts - Belfast Nashville Songwriters’ Festival
In 2004, Panarts launched the annual Belfast Nashville Songwriters’ Festival and Song Writing Convention, to celebrate the art of song writing and strengthen the musical links with Belfast’s Sister City, Nashville Tennessee. The festival, in March, continues to attract audiences and participants from home and abroad and to provide opportunities for international cultural exchange and a showcase for established and emerging talent in Northern Ireland.  Panarts also creates performance opportunities for this songwriting talent in Nashville and in recent years has worked with Music City Roots to make three one-hour TV programmes broadcast into 60 million homes across the USA.

William Kennedy Piping Festival
The annual William Kennedy Piping Festival, taking place in Armagh in November, celebrates the life and work of William Kennedy, the 18th century piper and pipe-maker from Co. Armagh. The festival, founded in 1994, is hosted by the Armagh Pipers Club and brings together pipers from different traditions and countries across the world.