50th Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s
19 October – 3 November 2012 |
Possibly Northern Ireland’s most renowned and best-loved festival, the dazzling Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s will celebrate its momentous 50th year in 2012.
Started by a student at Queen’s University in 1962, this festival is the ultimate platform for all things dance, theatrical, classical, as well as world music and visual arts. The wide variety of events covers all aspects of the arts.
Dance shows will be popping up across the city and come in all shapes, sizes and origins. A selection of both classical and contemporary music will be on display; from Dame Kiri Te Kanawa to Elvis Costello and KT Tunstall; while young up-and-coming musicians will be showcased at the Northern Ireland Young Musicians Recitals. This is par for the course for the Festival at Queen’s though, through the years guests have always included the biggest names, such Jimi Hendrix, Laurence Olivier and Ennio Morricone.
There will also be wondrous art exhibitions and installations, similar to the hugely popular one displayed in Belfast’s Botanic Gardens in 2011. The Enchanted Garden featured visual art while creating a jungle ambiance via surround sound equipment echoing throughout the gardens. The project was the largest multichannel sound installation in the world and was the result of a decade of work by sonic artist Augustine Leudar. It’s just these kinds of riveting exhibitions that give a taste of the events to come in this golden anniversary year, which make it absolutely ideal for children and families.
The Festival also attracts some of the most distinctive music acts in the world. At the 2011 festival, all female choir Le Mystere Des Voix Bulgares stunned Belfast audiences, with NME calling them “a breathtakingly beautiful sound like nothing else in the history of music”. Audiences have also come to expect some great musical collaborations, similar to Brian Kennedy’s tingling performance with Dervish in 2011.
Belfast Festival at Queen’s also offers a host of remarkable guest speakers, such as presenter and politician Professor Robert Winston, author and historian Sir Max Hastings, BBC Radio 4 presenter James Naughtie and biographer and journalist Claire Tomalin. Drama gets a huge look-in, too, having a strong influence across the Festival at large.
The Festival culminates with a bang at the annual closing party and is sure to be a night you won’t forget, as the 50th anniversary promises to be the biggest one yet!