From commercial dance, pop and rock to indie music, arts, film and comedy there’s a packed line-up of festivals this summer both inside and outside Belfast.
Here is our low-down of some of the first to be announced:
August 15-26 (Custom House Square, Belfast)
In its eighth year Belsonic will be headlined this year by drum and bass and soul band Rudimental, Paloma Faith, Bastille, Stereophonics, Above & Beyond and All Time Low.
With a mixture of genres the festival is set to see thousands of people pack into Custom House Square over six nights.
Already confirmed for support are Duke Dumont, The Coronas, twenty one pilots, Mini Mansions and Echosmith.
Tickets priced from £27.50 are available from www.belsonic.com or www.ticketmaster.ie.
2. Tennents Vital
August 29 (Boucher Playing Fields, Belfast)
Superstar DJ Calvin Harris will headline Tennent’s Vital this year. He will be joined by Ellie Goulding, John Newman, Disciples and Burns.
This year’s festival is shaping up to be a musical collective, with long-time collaborators Calvin Harris and Ellie Goulding having worked with the rest of the bill throughout their careers – Calvin Harris’ successful recordings with John Newman are proven chart successes, while BURNS featured on the re-release of Ellie Goulding’s album and secured a coveted support slot on Harris’ UK tour.
Tickets are £45 and available from www.ticketmaster.ie.
May 30 (Slane Castle, Co Meath)
Northern Ireland rockers Ash are set to join the Foo Fighters at this year’s Slane Castle line up.
Also appearing on the bill will be The Strypes, Kaiser Chiefs and Hozier.
Ash returned earlier this year with new track Cocoon, it’s the first single taken from their soon to be released seventh studio album Kablammo!
With a back catalogue featuring hits such as Oh Yeah, Girl From Mars, Candy and Burn Baby Burn the Downpatrick trio are definitely back.
Tickets priced €79.50 are on sale now from www.ticketmaster.ie.
4. Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival
April 30 – May 10 (Various venues, Belfast)
The Charlatans, Wilko Johnson, The Stranglers, The Staves, Gaz Coombes, Val McDermid, Paul Muldoon, Paul Durcan, Martin Rowson, Ulrich Schnaus, Tracy Thorn, Andrew Maxwell and David O’Doherty are among some of the acts lined up for the 16th Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival.
The festival will see over 150 events taking place in venues right across Belfast’s city centre over 11 days.
Award-winning crime-writer Mark Billingham and leading country duo My Darling Clementine come together as The Other Half to present a dark and glorious mix of song and story at the festival.
For more information and programme details log onto www.cqaf.com
5. Sunflower Fest
July 31 – August 2 (Tubby’s Farm, Hillsborough)
This year’s theme of Victorian Steampunk Menagerie will see guests exploring a Victorian carnival atmosphere.
The lineup this year includes everyone from Deadzone, Senser, Henry Cluney and Nasa Assassin to Triggerman, Dandy Horses, Magwere, War Iron and R51.
Other acts include: Allison McGrath & the Soulantics, Amanda St John, Bunoscionn, Ciara O’Neill, The Couth, Dirty Words, Decomposing in Paris, Owen Denvir, Dirty Words, Donna Dunne, Elevation Falls, Gilded Thieves, Grouse, Hard Chargers, His New Atlas, Hvmming Byrd, Kick the Bucket Blues Band, Left backs, Lo Mejor, Loris, Love Street, Monsoon Season, Mutefish, My Fellow Sponges, Dylan Murphy Band, Na Leanai, Native Oak, Nanu Nanu, No Oil Paintings, Pleasure Beach, Preachers Son, ¿Que-Pasa?, Remedy, Steve Bennett, Tecimerico, The Twisted Sisters, Zalupa.
Tickets priced £20-£59.95 are available from www.sunflowerfest.co.uk
6. Belfast Film Festival
April 16-25 (Various venues, Belfast)
Now in it’s 15th year the Belfast Film Festival will roll the red carpet out with over 100 screenings throughout the city over 10 days.
Venues will include everywhere from Queen’s Film Theatre, Belfast Waterfront, The Mac and the Strand Arts Centre to the Black Box, Movie House Dublin Road, the Sunflower, Culturlann, Duncairn Centre and the Festival’s Beanbag Cinema.
The opening night world premiere will feature Belfast-raised critic and filmmaker Mark Cousins whose feature, I Am Belfast which is set to let audiences view the city through the eyes of a 10,000 year old woman.
The soundtrack is by Belfast composer, musician and DJ David Holmes best known for his work on Out of Sight, Ocean’s 11 and Hunger.
For more information and programme details log onto www.belfastfilmfestival.org.
7. Festival of Fools
May 1-4 (Various venues, Belfast)
As the Belfast Circus School celebrates it’s 30th year the Festival of Fools is set to turn the City Centre into a giant Big Top.
From comedy drama and clowning to acrobatics, artistic expression and performance there is absolutely no way you aren’t going to find something in this huge calendar of events to suit your taste.
If you’ve never given it a go then take a look at these pictures from last year to give you an idea of what you’re missing.
There are 120 events happening in the Festival of Fools throughout Belfast City Centre.
For more information and programme details log onto www.foolsfestival.com.
8. Belfast Guitar Festival
July 3-4 (T13, Belfast)
In its second year the Belfast Guitar Festival, run by Paul McMordie, is one of the city’s newest events supporting up and coming artists.
From folk, Americana, blues and rock to flamenco, indie, jazz and percussive (tappy tap stuff to you and me) this is a festival for music lovers and music players.
In the industrial urban setting of T13 this festival is family friendly and gives artists the opportunity to experiment with new material as well as play their well known tracks and covers.
Line-up to be released in coming weeks.
For more information log onto www.facebook.com/belfastguitarfest
9. Linenfields Festival
August 21 & 22 (Banbridge)
A new festival based in Banbridge has been launched and they’ve chosen country hunk Nathan Carter to headline.
LinenFields Festival, which runs from Friday August 21 to Saturday August 22 will bring a flavour of American and Irish country to the picturesque meadows.
The inaugural festival will featuring a host of tribute acts on Friday August 21 including Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash and Garth Brooks.
Country music heart-throb Nathan Carter will headline the festival on Saturday August 22.
10. Monsters Of Rot V
August 1 (Letterbreen, County Fermanagh)
Belfast band Altus are among the first bands to be announced for the forthcoming Monsters of Rot metal-fest.
The festival has been one of the country’s best kept metal secrets. The one-day fest of extreme metal is held in the farthest corner of Northern Ireland – Letterbreen, County Fermanagh on Saturday August 1.
Now in its fifth incarnation the first eight bands to appear this year have been confirmed.
The annual celebration is all that is best about the extreme metal scene on the island of Ireland – and beyond.
Tickets are £15/€18, including camping and available soon from www.monstersofrot.com. For more check out https://www.facebook.com/events/663751490413618/