From your last chance to see Avicii before his untimely retirement, to the unprecedented second batch of amazing A-list acts added to Belsonic, Northern Ireland is playing host to some pretty amazing festivals this summer.
And it’s not all about big names and big ticket prices, we’ve also got any number of brilliant value music events taking place this summer boasting some amazing homegrown acts.
Check out our guide to make sure you don’t miss out on anything this year!
Boucher Road, August 25 & 26, £39.50 – £49.50 – Website
Tennent’s Vital are back with a red hot line-up this year, with the Red Hot Chilli Peppers headlining an opening night packed full with epic acts including Fall Out Boy, Cage The Elephant and Brian Beattie.
This year’s Tennent’s Vital is also your last chance to see Friday’s headline act live – as 26 August will see the end of an era. It comes as the 26-year-old global superstar DJ confirmed in March that he is retiring.
Avicii, who wowed audiences with his sell-out Tennent’s Vital appearance in 2013, will be back in Belfast to headline a second incredible day of music at Boucher Road Playing Fields, with phenomenal special guests Jess Glynne and Galantis. Tickets are on sale now.
T13, June 4, £22-30 – Website
AVA Festival is the first of its kind in Ireland, offering a platform for emerging and established electronic DJs, producers and audiovisual artists.
The festival will see techno DJ, RØDHÅD play his Northern Irish debut alongside Irish heavyweights Bicep and Mano Le Tough.
Across the three festival stages you’ll also find Jika Jika, Twitch DJ’s, Misfit (LIVE), OR:LA, Extended Play bossman Timmy Stewart, Southern Irish Brame & Hamo, who have quickly emerged as being a duo to watch out for and many more to be announced, each stepping up with techno, disco and house flavours, plus everything in-between.
After their first Irish show last year, live streaming giant Boiler Room also returns to capture the Belfast spirit on the day. Check out the site for the full list of artists on the day.
Titanic Belfast, dates throughout June & Aug, from £32.50 – Website
In June The Chemical Brothers, Ellie Goulding, David Guetta, Faithless, Foals, Tiesto, Biffy Clyro, Stereophonics, Bring Me The Horizon, Olivers Heldens & Robin Schulz will headline the new & expanded Belsonic at Titanic Belfast.
For the first time ever, shows were recently added throughout the month of August dubbed ‘Belsonic: Part 2.’ Seriously amazing headline acts include The Corrs, Madness, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Disclosure, and Fatboy Slim. Tickets for the shows are on sale now.
Féile an Phobail
Locations throughout West Belfast, dates throughout August – Website
A magnet for both locals and tourists from across the globe, the August Feile is a jam-packed programme of events including: music concerts, debates and discussions, exhibitions, international food fayre, children’s events, literary events, community events, walks and tours, sports, dramas, something for everyone at every age.
All Saints are set to headline this year’s Feile an Phobail on August 7 with The Kooks also playing the Féile Big Top in Falls Park on Saturday 6 August, whilst Roland Gift (Fine Young Cannibals) will be co-headlining on August 11 alongside Holly Johnson (from Frankie Goes To Hollywood). Deacon Blue will also put in an appearance on August 13.
The mammoth dance event will see global party-rockers Showtek join special guest Timmy Trumpet and a sterling lineup of international DJ talent at Falls Park on August 12.
More acts and events to be confirmed…
Hilden Beer Festival
Hilden Brewery, August 26-28 – Website
The Annual Hilden Beer and Music Festival will be held during the August Bank Holiday, featuring live music and beer and ale tasting from Lisburn’s premier microbrewery.
Hillsborough, August 30 – September 4 – Website
The Hillsborough International Oyster Festival has been named as one of the Top 10 food festivals in the world to visit in 2016 by WorldGuide – so it’s seriously recommended.
Now in its 24th year the Festival is a popular fixture in the Northern Ireland food calendar and its placement from WorldGuide, an online travel and lifestyle resource, has helped put this local event and Northern Ireland firmly on the world platform.
It ranks alongside the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival in Australia, World Gourmet Summit in Singapore, Salon du Chocolat in Paris, Taste of Chicago in Illinois and Lona Coffee Cultural Festival in Hawaii.
Queen’s University, June 17-19 – Website
Q-Con is returning for its 23rd year and promises to continue its tradition of providing the UK & Ireland’s greatest weekend of gaming and anime entertainment. This is the largest gaming and anime convention in the UK or Ireland, offering something for everybody over three packed days.
MCM Comic Con
Eikon Exhibition Centre, June 25-26 – Website
Comic Villages offers an opportunity to meet comic creators, artists and small press a unique fusion for Comic creators and sequential art goodness with both new and experienced talent.
Whilst Dealer Stalls at MCM Comic con play host to many merchandisers from around the UK and beyond, a chance to located hard to find items or get some great discounts.
Tubby’s Farm, Hillsborough, August 5-7 – Website
Sunflowerfest has just annnounced over 150 acts across six stages with live music, DJs, comedy, poetry, and theatre.
Confirmed acts include The Strypes, Le Galaxie, King Kong Company, Emerald Armada and Trucker Diablo.
Alongside the announced acts there will be live art and sculpture, a range of talks and workshops, media installations lots of family activities, silent disco and the ‘Bliss’ well-being area.
Our Back Yard
67 Plantation Road, Gilford, June 25, £15 – Website
This year’s Our Back Yard Festival will showcase an even more extensive line-up of performers and attractions, all delivered with the same vested community interest that so defined the 2014 edition.
It would be difficult to find an open air event anywhere in the country that is both so reasonably priced and so well organised. One that can boast of such stellar performers and yet where the corporate influence is glaringly absent.
The line-up includes Gascan Ruckus, Wookalily Katharine Philippa, No Oil Paintings, The Hardchargers, Lazy Flies, Big Chief, Twisted Sisters and DJ Conor Devlin.
Eastside Arts Festival
Locations throughout East Belfast, August 10-21 – Website
EastSide Arts Festival is an annual festival showcasing the talent of East Belfast as it serves up a sizzling feast of events.
Locations across the EastSide, and beyond, will help to unpack a festival picnic featuring music, comedy, movies, theatre, talks, workshops, exhibitions, poetry, events for the young and old, community events and heritage tours.
More information will be announced soon…
Belfast Book Festival
Locations throughout Belfast, June 9-19 – Website
Now a firm fixture on the literary circuit, the Belfast Book Festival is getting ready to ‘open-up’ its unique and magical experience in venues across the City from 9 -19 June. With over 100 live events and workshops the festival will feature a wide range of writers, authors, poets, critics, musicians, films and film makers, activists, artists and actors from home and abroad.
Notable highlights for this year include The Jam’s drummer Rick Buckler who will discuss his book That’s Entertainment: My Life in the Jam at The Black Box, John Challis (Only Fools and Horses) joins Nuala McKeever at Crescent Arts Centre to discuss his life in show business as well as his books Being Boycie and Reggie: A Stag at Bay; and award-winning journalist David Aaronovitch will discuss his memoir Party Animals: My Family and Other Communists at Crescent Arts Centre.
Official Euros Fanzone
Titanic Belfast, selected dates throughout June, free
Not a festival as such, but you can expect an amazing atmosphere as fans of Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland cheer on their teams at Euro 2016 at the Official Euros Fanzone at Titanic Belfast.
Using the infrastructure already in place for Belsonic festival they’ll be able to cater for 10,000 fans at a time at the open air arena, which boasts the biggest screen in the country.
Entry is free and there will full bar facilities, food vans and a funfair as well as family friendly activities and entertainment before and after games.