The 2012 Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s has announced details of the first 15 acts in a line-up of over 100 names that will perform as part of the 50th Festival celebrations which will take over the city from 19th October – 4th November. Leading Soprano Lesley Garrett, Festival favourite Van Morrison, comedian Jon Richardson, Grammy Award winning Ladysmith Black Mambazo and the world renowned Buena Vista Social Club were some of the names revealed by Festival DirectorShanMcAnena in what will be the first of many announcements due over the coming weeks.
Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive of Arts Council and the Festival’s principal public funder, is looking forward to an exciting line up at this year’s Festival, “As always the range of local and international talent that will be on offer throughout the Festival is as tantalising as anywhere else on the island of Ireland. It’s a great platform for local acts to show what they can do in the company of top international performers, and it’s a unique opportunity for audiences to see major acts which come to Northern Ireland on the strength of the Festival’s reputation.”
Susie McCullough, Director of Marketing and Events at Northern Ireland Tourist Board, commented “The Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s is a key event within the ni2012: our time, our place’ programme. We are showcasing the very best of Northern Ireland to the world and The Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s is a fitting finale for what is proving to be a huge year for the region.”
To mark the 50th Festival, this year’s programme will welcome back Festival founder Michael Emerson whose original vision to celebrate the creative spirit of Belfast has shaped the cultural landscape of Northern Ireland over the last five decades.
In honour of Michael’s return a Mexican flavour will be running throughout the programme including performances from Michael’s wife, Mexican flautist Elena Duran, and one of the most distinguished groups within the Mexican musical scene today - Pate de Fua. To add to the carnival feel, Cuban music phenomena Buena Vista Social club will be making an appearance and promise a knock out performance.
The Festival will open with a fanfare of 50 trumpets as they play a new work by local composer Michael Alcorn. Other highlights will include Grammy Award winning Ladysmith Black Mambazo, soprano Lesley Garrett will perform alongside world renowned clarinettist Emma Johnson in the magical surroundings of the Clonard Monastery and a reunion of “The Folk Club”. Festival veteran Van Morrison will be playing in a couple of intimate ‘supper concerts’ at The Europa Hotel and “Turn down the Lamp” returns with narration and traditional music featuring Dan Gordon, and many more.
2012 Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s will also offer a wide selection of shows for children and young people. The popular Enchanted Garden returns to Botanic Gardens but this time with a new twist and a first for Festival is the introduction of a new show “Comedy 4 Kids” which comes to Belfast following six successful runs at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
The 2012 Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s will run from 19th October – 4th November 2012. For more information visit www.belfastfestival.com.