Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival turns 18

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Northern Ireland’s most dynamic arts festival, the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival, hits its landmark 18th birthday this year.

It will return from April 27 - May 7, to transform Belfast’s city centre with an exuberant riot of live music, comedy, spoken word and visual arts plus a host of other electric titbits.

Music headliners include Booker T Jones, The Handsome Family, Divine Comedy, Sugarhill Gang, Kevin Rowland, Cara Dillon, Robert Cray, Breathe – The Pink Floyd Experience, Dana Masters, Interskalactic, Chip Taylor, Kíla, Brix and the Extricated, The Parrots, Madison Violet, Duke Special and Ulaid, Ryan McMullan, The Comet is Coming, Keith James singing the songs of Leonard Cohen, Tir na Nog, Wreckless Eric, Josienne Clark and Ben Walker, Christine Bovill singing Edith Piaf, Harlow Fair, and introducing our festival artist in residence, the sublimely talented Rosie Carney.

The CQAF comedy line-up is stronger than ever, featuring the likes of Tony Law, Rich Hall, Sofie Hagan, Jeremy Hardy, Bridget Christie, Kieran Hodgson and Richard Herring. Elsewhere in the programme, the highlights include former Spider from Mars Woody Woodmansey talking about his turbulent, exciting years as one of Bowie’s most famous backing band, and glorious verse from legends Roger McGough and Linton Kwesi Johnson.

The line-up also includes food writer Jack Monroe, and there is a red hot theatre programme including Prime Cut’s award-winning Scorch, the Irish premiere of Omnibus Theatre’s acclaimed ‘Peru 2’ production Mule, and Splodar Theatre’s delicious Joycean homage Young Stephen.

The film programme includes the first NI screening of Lost in France, which is the celebrated documentary on the startling rise of Scotland’s indie music scene of the 90s, Bang!, the tale of Bert Berns, billed as the most famous 60s songwriter you’ve never heard of, and folk horror mayhem with SingalongaWickerman!

Speaking at the launch, Roisín McDonough, who is Chief Executive of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said: “Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival continues to invigorate the cultural life of Belfast city centre through its highly creative programme of music, theatre, literature, comedy, visual arts and talks. It also provides an important platform for showcasing local artists alongside world-class national and international performers and brings people and communities closer together through a shared enjoyment of the arts.” To see the full line-up and to buy tickets go to www.cqaf.com.