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What’s On This Week: 28 April – 4 May

The week ahead is jam-packed with entertainment, with no fewer than six seven festivals, all kicking off within days of each other. The beloved Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival and Festival of Fools are both back, as well as the much-anticipated Giro d’Italia celebrations. There are two seaside arts events and music in the maiden city, plus more besides. Enjoy!

Don’t forget to keep checking the What’s On Calendar, as there will be events there which aren’t in the weekly guide. Do get in touch with any events you’d like to see here.

Monday 28 April


Weaving Metal, Making Art – R-Space Gallery, continues until Thurs 15 May

Internationally-acclaimed Japanese artist Toshinobu Takamitsu began a month-long residency at The R-Space Gallery on Saturday. In collaboration with blacksmith artist Eamon Higgins (Belfast) and sonic artist Matthew Whiteside (Lisburn/Glasgow), he will illuminate the gallery with large scale audio-visual installations. Check the R-Space Gallery website for more information, including opening times.

Tuesday 29 April


EU Day of Solidarity Between Generations 2014, Belfast City Hall/Rathenraw Community Centre

Since 2009, 29 April has been celebrated as the EU Day of Solidarity Between Generations, aiming to showcase and promote relationships between generations. Linking Generations NI (LGNI) are coordinating the day’s activities. These include the Age Sector Platform and Northern Ireland Youth Forum Event in the Reception Room of Belfast City Hall (10.15am finishing with lunch), and ‘Generation Connection’ an Intergenerational performance at Antrim’s Rathenraw Community Centre (7.45 – 9pm). Find out more on the website.

Thursday 1 May


Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival, Various locations, Thurs 1 – Sun 11 May

One of Northern Ireland’s festival calendar favourites, the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival is back, bringing 11 days of music, theatre, comedy, talks, visual arts, dance and lots more. The hotly anticipated opening event tonight is a talk by Channel 4 journalist Jon Snow. The Quill’s personal picks are Simon AmstellTinariwen, Balkan Alien Sound, The Blockheads and Billy Miskimmin’s Mercy Lounge, Midori Mitamura ‘Art and Breakfast Belfast’ and The Secret Cabaret. To be honest, you could close your eyes, stick a pin in the programme and be guaranteed an amazing afternoon or evening.

Derry ~ Londonderry

City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival, Citywide, Thurs 1 – Mon 5 May

35,000 music lovers are expected to arrive in the city for five days packed full of music. Over 60 venues will play host to hundreds of events. Highlights include festival regulars The Jive Aces, the powerhouse of jazz soul that is Ohio-born Dana Masters, and the Playhouse Speakeasy Bar Cabaret, bringing you right back to the 1930s. Check out the full programme and find out more on the website.


One City One Book, Various locations, 1 – 29 May

broken links in this entry have now been fixed

Belfast’s third One City One Book begins today, the Arts Council‘s month-long celebration of homegrown literature which this year features the new novel by Belfast-born novelist David Park. The Poets’ Wives explores the marital relationships of three poets, through the eyes of their wives – Catherine Blake (wife of William),  Nadezhda Mandelstam, wife of Russian poet Osip Mandelstam (and herself a poet, painter and engraver) and the wife of a fictional contemporary Irish poet. Throughout the month of May you can download the first chapter of the book for free. Visit the Arts Council to download the full programme


The Great Ulster Pub Week, NI-wide, Thurs 1 May – Fri 9 May

Pubs of Ulster’s first ever Great Ulster Pub Week kicks off today, celebrating all that’s great about our much-loved local watering holes. Over 160 pubs are taking part, with events to showcase the best of their food, entertainment and of course, their choice of tipples. Keep up to date with everything that’s happening on the website.

Friday 2 May


Festival of Fools, Citywide, Fri 2 – Mon 5 May

Another festival favourite hits Belfast this week, with the return of Festival of Fools, four days of free street theatre and comedy. Whether it’s mesmerising juggling from That Man, a singing nun on a motorised piano, or outrageous acrobatics from Barren Carousel – there will be something silly or spectacular to entertain you. Remember to show your appreciation by chucking a quid or two in the buckets!


Cushendun Big Arts Weekend, Various locations, Fri 2 – Mon 5 May

The picturesque seaside town will welcome arts lovers of all ages for four days of music, poetry, drama, art and children’s workshops. Highlights include tonight’s BBQ with music and storytelling, novelist Bernie McGill’s talk on Saturday, and the family film screenings on Sunday. See the website for full details.

Saturday 3 May


Giro Festival: Get On Your Bike! Citywide, Sat 3 – Sun 11 May

Cycling fever has well and truly hit Northern Ireland, with Belfast being chosen to stage the start of the Giro d’Italia this year. This eight day festival will celebrate all things cycling and all things Italian. QFT will be showing Italian films, the Linen Hall Library will host an exhibition on bicycles in Irish literature, and of course, there will be loads of cycling events for all the family. Find all the details here on the Belfast City Council website.


Project 24’s First Birthday Celebrations, Bangor Seafront, 12 – 5pm

The Bangor art collective are throwing a party to celebrate their first birthday and everyone is invited. There will be a Samba band, swing dancing, gardening activities, games, sports, face painting and more. Find out more here and check the website to find out more about Project 24 and their achievements.

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