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Belfast TradFest

Various locations across Belfast, Belfast, County Antrim, BT15 1ED
Belfast TradFest


Taking place in various venues across the city, the ambitious festival programme includes:

• The Belfast TradFest Summer School of Traditional Music is the hub around which the festival is built. Young and old musicians come to Belfast to learn from the very best in the business, for a 5-day long programme of summer school events.

• Trans-Atlantic supergroup and RTÉ Radio 1 Folk Awards Group of the year The Olllam, for what will be their biggest Irish show to date, in the newly refurbished Mandela Hall.

• International festival favourites Four Men and a Dog will play Belfast TradFest for the first time, whilst celebrating almost 35 years on the road, having emerged first in 1990 during the Belfast Folk Festival.

• Former Dé Dannan accordion wizard Máirtín Ó'Connor will bring his acclaimed band back to Belfast for what will surely be an eye watering display of virtuosity in the Empire Music Hall, featuring Tyrone fiddle legend Cathal Hayden & Sligo's chanteur extraordinaire Seamie O'Dowd.

• At the Empire Music Hall, appearing for their debut performance at the festival are 4-part female vocal harmony group Landless who feature Belfast's own Meabh Meir. Also, legendary triumvirate of musical magpies Mike McGoldrick, John Doyle and John McCusker.

• Scottish singing sensation Kathleen MacInnes brings highly acclaimed multi-instrumentalist Mike Vass to Belfast to share the bill with award winning Highlands Indie Folk band Elephant Sessions, who will excite revellers to dance the night away and surely raise the roof, at the festival's closing concert in Mandela Hall.

• In partnership with Belfast Pride, The Black Box will host one of the annual highlights of the festival The Pride Céilí. This spectacle of dance, colour, excitement, fun and inclusivity that has to be seen to be believed, is just one of the 4 céilís that take place during the festival that are hosted by world renowned Belfast Céilí dance caller Ronán Eastwood.

• At the famed music & beer house "The John Hewitt", much loved local trio Music in the Glen, featuring the astounding flute playing of Brendan Mulholland, will share the bill with exciting young singer and composer Róis from Fermanagh who is making her own indelible mark of the music scene.

• In association with An Droichead, "Na Máistrí / Masters Of Traditional Music" will features the cream of traditional music talent, presented by Neil Martin.

• Front woman of Cherish the Ladies and American Irish legend of traditional music Joanie Madden will bring her vivacious brand of musicianship to local audiences at the Strand Arts Centre as part of 'With Fife & Drum' concert in partnership with Eastside Arts Festival. This concert celebrates the Scottish & Irish traditions and will also feature Belfast's own Desi Wilkinson, the world's greatest tin whistle player Mary Bergin, Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band's Scott Wallace, 6 time world pipe band championship winner Gareth McLees and Scottish Smallpipe legend Fin Moore.

• Legendary Belfast virtuoso fiddler Seán Maguire will once again be celebrated in the Duncairn Arts Centre with an annual fiddle concert in association with the Seán Maguire Music Society. This promises to be a spectacle of virtuoso fiddling by the likes of Bríd Harper, fresh from recording with Eric Clapton and Mark Knopfler Scotland's John McCusker, Siobhán Peoples of the famous Donegal fiddling dynasty, current TG4 Gradam Ceoil Ceoltóir Óg na Bliana Méabh Smyth from Armagh, and many more. Also on the bill are legendary County Antrim singer Len Graham and tenor banjo player Gerry 'Banjo O'Connor.

Also look out for:
• A special show entitled "Ceol na nGael / Wild music of the Gael" will showcase some of the most exciting performers of traditional music today in Áras Mhic Reachtain. Hosted by current RTÉ Radio 1 Folk singer of the year Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, the concert will also feature Joan Baez's musical director and founder member of Solas John Doyle, alongside RTÉ Radio 1 Emerging Folk Artists of the year Cathal Ó Curráin, outstanding exponent of the Co. Clare concertina style Lorraine Ní Bhriain and master uilleann piper David Power from Waterford.

• The annual Belfast TradFest Harp festival concert will this year celebrate the 250th anniversary of Edward Bunting's birthday, with a very special concert in Cultúrlann McAdam Ó Fiach featuring Mayo harping legend Laoise Kelly, Monaghan uilleann piper Tiarnán Ó Duinnchinn and Sligo accordion wizard Daithí Gormley amongst others.

• McConnell's Irish Whisky session Trail. Taking place at some of Belfast's most iconic traditional pubs around the city centre. Sunday 23rd - Sunday 30th July. All sessions are free admission and last 2 hours.

Find out more about Belfast Tradfest >>

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