The best evening of the year in Belfast is happening this Friday the 20th: Culture Night. This year’s Culture Night has the theme of ‘Pride’ and the concept will be seen throughout the performances and events. This is the perfect time to see Belfast at night through a different lens, with street parties and performances all over the city. With multiple Belfast events, the evening provides something for everyone. Now with the added addition of a Culture Day on Saturday the 21st, there is more opportunity to enjoy festivities made in Belfast. A wonderful blend of all the arts, from music to theatre, art to poetry, the night and day will have something for everyone and it will answer the question on ‘what is culture’ to the people of Belfast. 

What is Culture Night Belfast 2019?

Culture Night Belfast has become a beloved evening in the city and pays tribute to some of our finest artists, photographers, singers, musicians, amongst other salubrious arts contributors. It is a time of celebration that reflects the best parts of the city and its residents and is designed for all age groups, young and old. Culture Day was tailored specifically towards young families providing a range of family activities to avail from. The Culture Night team have also tried to make the event as accessible as possible for those with additional needs. A map of Culture Night is available in braille and large print on request. They have put a stairs icon on their maps to illustrate what spaces aren’t wheelchair friendly. Quiet, ASD-friendly spaces are also available throughout the city. Disabled toilets and changing facilities have been set up around the Culture Night area as a means of creating an inclusive night for all. 

 

Culture Night Belfast: How to Get There 

Culture Night Belfast is being supported by Translink, Northern Ireland’s public transport service. Extra capacity will be put on the Translink Metro and Glider services, as well as these services,  Translink are providing Metros and Gliders at 11:30pm, midnight. 12.30am, and 1am on selected routes – so you’ll be able to stay for ‘one more’. This will be for Culture Night only, but Culture Day will avail of extra capacity on the Translink Metro and Glider services. Metro buses drop off into the City Centre, as well as the Laganside and Europa Buscentre, which are highly accessible to the events in Belfast. Lanyon Place Train Station services cross-border travel as well as being a fifteen-minute walk into the city centre. There will be additional capacity on regular rail services that evening as well, with a third of a day return ticket if you travel after 9:30am. Translink’s train and metro timetables are available online. 

Parking will be limited throughout the city, particularly in the Cathedral Quarter. There will be no on-street parking available on:

  • Donegall Street
  • North Street
  • Royal Avenue 
  • York Street 
  • Academy Street
  • Exchange Street West
  • Talbot Street
  • Waring Street

Being one of the most popular Belfast events, Culture Night and Day requires certain roads to be closed in the interests of public safety. Due to the extra public transport being available, the committee of Culture Night is asking people to try and leave their cars at home. If this isn’t possible, please make use of parking facilities outside of these areas. Streets that will be closed this year include: 

  • Gordon Street
  • Talbot Street
  • Exchange Street West 
  • Academy Street
  • Donegall Street
  • Waring Street
  • Donegall Place 
  • Royal Avenue
  • North Street
  • York Street
  • Skipper Street
  • Bridge Street 
  • Rosemary Street
  • High Street 
  • North Street
  • Lombard Street
  • Hill Street 

While this is an extensive list, this ensures complete public safety, not only on Culture Night but on Culture Day as well. If it’s within your budget, Belfast has an array of accommodation, to suit all wallets, all over the city. 

 

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Culture Night Map 2019 (Source: Usfolk)

 

Made in Belfast: Culture Night Events 2019

Culture Night and Day Belfast 2019 are set to provide a plethora of excitement and entertainment. Below is an array of Belfast events that are featuring as part of 2019’s Culture Night that shouldn’t be missed. For an even larger selection, Culture Night’s website has a complete program as well as providing a link for the app which can be downloaded to ios and android compatible phones. 

 

Zone One: City Hall Area

Belfast’s proudest building, City Hall is the very centre of the city and has an array of events occurring on Culture Night and Day. 

  • City Hall is providing guided tours of the building and free entry into the Visitor Exhibition Centre. The building is open from 9:30am to 5pm and is running the guided tours at 11am, 2pm, and at 3pm. It is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the city’s incredible architecture as well as enjoying some civic treasures. 
  • Polercise will be running in the City Hall grounds from 5pm to 9pm. Polercise Pole play will be giving dance and fitness performances in the grounds to highlight the athleticism of the sport and encourage others to get involved.
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A view of City Hall (Source: K. Mitch Hodge).

Zone Two: Bank Square and Castle Hill Street Area

An area renowned for containing world-famous pub Kelly’s Cellars – purveyors of Guinness and folk tunes, as well as one of the best seafood restaurants in the city Mourne Seafood Bar. Bank Square is now hosting some local talent to be enjoyed by all. 

  • Bank Square will be hosting Explosion Sound System’s Roots and Culture performances. Playng from 1pm to 8pm, the Roots Reggae crew will be demonstrating their talents for the whole of the city.
  • Waterstones Storytelling Time will recant your favourite stories. Told between 2pm  and 3:30pm, Catherine and Belle will be your bards. The Fourth Wall Theatre Group will perform their piece ‘Shakespeare, Marlowe, and the Brontës’. It recounts how Shakespeare and Marlowe worked together, as well as documenting the troubled relationship between Patrick and Branwell Brontë. The performance will run between 5:30pm and 6:30pm.
  • Catalyst Arts Belfast will be displaying FIX19 Performances from their curated selection of emerging artists. This will run from 6pm to 9pm.
  • Culture Kiosk, in Castle Place will host the Belfast Ukele Jam from 8pm to 9pm. This  A fun ukulele band to sing along to and get involved with.
bank-square-belfast
Bank Square, the home of Kelly’s Cellars and Mourne Seafood Bar (Source: Albert Bridge)

Zone Three: Rosemary Street Area

Rosemary Street which has deep historical connections to the United Irish Men via Rosemary Street Presbyterian Church. Now, historical in its own right through its association with Culture Night. 

  • Rosemary Street Presbyterian Church has multiple unmissable events. From 5:30pm – 6:45pm  Jim & the Big Peach will be performed. It is the tale of Jim, a robot boy, who is lost in the future, left on planet earth to tell stories of the past. From 7pm to 7:30pm, ‘Change the World in Song! is being performed in the church. The pieces are meant to celebrate the power of song in peace, justice, and the inspiration in harmony. Finally, Belfast Operatic Company are giving a variety performance of multiple musicals. 
  • Caffe Nero on Lombard Street is hosting the Ulster Chess Union from 1pm to 9pm Drop in and enjoy a game of chess beginners and masters alike! 
rosemary-street-presbyterian-belfast
The interior of Rosemary Street Presbyterian (Source: John D. McDonald)

 

Zone Four: North Street and Lower Royal Avenue Area

North Street is famous for being home to some of the city’s quirkiest shops around and that doesn’t stop for Culture Night. Interesting art events will be running as well as performance poetry and music. 

  • PS² will be exhibiting ‘Still & moving images’ between 5pm to 9pm. Still & moving images will show video installation on one floor and paintings on another.
  • Keats and Chapman will host a live performance event: Books and Beats. The event comprises of local artists in literature and music, and performances will occur between 3pm and 9pm.
  •  Atypical Gallery will be hosting Cameron Morgan’s work under the banner of ‘University of Atypical’. The exhibition is of ceramics and print exploring pocket object. It will be available to view from 11am to 4pm.
north-street-belfast
A view of North Street (Source: Albert Bridge)

Zone Five: Saint Anne’s Cathedral Area

The reason that Belfast is a city, Saint Anne’s Cathedral Area is playing host to academia, cinema, art, and food, to name a few things. A delectable piece of Belfast culture. 

  • St Anne’s Cathedral grounds is holding the Street Feast Market from 1pm to 9pm. Part of the Taste of Ireland festival, the area will bring local foods to the consumer and highlight some lesser-known local companies that will soon become firm favourites.
  • Ulster University’s Conor Lecture Theatre will present Julian Friers Talk: ‘The Asteroid and the Plastic Bottle’.  Julian Friers, one of Europe’s finest wildlife painters, talks about his work and our planet as a shared home. Free event but booking is required: ulster.ac.uk/lecture-frier The lecture will begin at 6:30pm and finish at 7:30pm.
  • Beanbag Cinema will be showing the Skyway Club Shoestring Movies from 5pm to 9pm. The concept being the larges movies made with the smallest budget.
  • Writer’s Square will exhibit David Magowan’s Migration Handmade bird installation that explores movement of people and culture to and from N. Ireland. It will be on display from 1pm till 9pm.
st-annes-cathedral-belfast
The interior of St. Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast (Source: Neil Carey).

Zone Six: Waring Street and North Street Area 

Home to concept restaurants Six by Nico and ever-popular pizza joint Pizza Punks, this area is hosting more than just food with plenty of Belfast events to enjoy. 

  • Cotton Court will be the starting point for the walking tours of Cathedral Quarter Walking Tours. These tours run at 1pm and 2pm and aim to give you the highlights of the cultural history of Cathedral Quarter.
  • Waring Street/ North Street Intersection The staff of Hillsborough Castle and Gardens are giving us ‘Historic Royal Palaces Dinner and Declarations (of independence)’. It is an 18th-century Come Dine with Me, except you’re eating with Ben Franklin & Wills Hill. Between the hours of 3:30pm and 9pm.
the-merchant-belfast-waring-street
The Merchant Hotel on Waring Street, Belfast (Source: Suni Lynn Lee).

Zone Seven: High Street Area 

High Street is filled with local cafes and upmarket bars with incredible performers. Culture Night is no different. Some venues have put on extra special artists for consumption this 2019.

  • Ulster Sports Club have brought ‘Acid Granny’ all the way from Dublin to perform between 6pm and  9pm. Acid Granny will play bangers from an electrified shopping trolley, a different way to play music.
  • Young Savage, a hugely popular vintage store on Church Lane will front The Strange Museum. Performing between  7pm and 8pm, this is one not to miss.
ulster-sports-club-belfast
Ulster Sports Club, Belfast (Source: Albert Bridge)

Zone Eight: Hill Street Area

One of the most beautiful streets in Belfast, Hill Street is packed with venues and incredible restaurants. If you find yourself here, you are in the middle of the culture. 

  • The Black Box has organised an incredible lineup of local acts playing from 8pm to late. Live music from New Pagans, Hot Cops, and Problem Patterns to name but a few. 
  • Flow Studio are providing free yoga classes in their studios in Hill Street and in their Malone Road Studio. Operating from 1pm to 2pm, it is suitable for all capabilities.
  • Oh Yeah Music Centre will be showcasing incredible performances from the Ulster Youth Orchestra, Cheram, Kyoto Love Hotel, Jonny Hammond, Connor Marcus, with the after-party being conducted by  Airpunch Belfast. Certainly not a scene to miss.
hill-street-belfast
Hill Street, Belfast by night (Source: Albert Bridge)

Zone Nine: Saint Anne’s Square Area

Behind the Cathedral sits the Arts Hub of Belfast, the MAC, and it is showcasing some incredible performances this year in its many performance spaces. 

  • The MAC  will be hosting Sarah McVeigh playing her electroacoustic harp and vocals between 4pm and 4:45pm. Sarah McVeigh performs a wide variety of songs all on an electroacoustic lever harp.
  • The MAC (The Works) will host a 45-minute lecture (between 6pm and 6:45) by The Open University on ‘Our Past, Your Future’. In conjunction to celebrate The Open University’s 50th anniversary, the lecture explores our culture of learning and adapting to technological change.
the-mac-belfast-arts
The exterior of the MAC, Belfast (Source: Audrey’s Photography)

Zone Ten: Belfast Harbour and Riverfront 

The harbour that made Belfast famous with tenants like the Titanic entertains a different type of genius this Culture Night. 

  • Donegall Quay will provide a showcase of parkour talent from the Jumo NI Parkour and Street Acrobatics Team. They are Ireland’s top parkour athletes and will be performing between 3pm and 9pm. 
  • Donegall Quay will have a talk from John Kindness on the Big Fish’ 20th anniversary. Kindness who created the ‘Big Fish’ talks about its conception and meaning from 7pm to 9pm.
  • Ridell’s Warehouse is opening for a Culture Night special. Culture Night x AVA will be providing an immersice evening of music accompanied by an array of stunning visuals. Playing from 5pm to 9pm, it will showcase the incredible Irish talent in electronic and house music. The whole exhibition will be curated and designed by AVA.
riddells-warehouse-culture-night-ava
Riddell’s Warehouse – the venue for this year’s collaboration with AVA (Source: John D McDonald)

Zone Eleven: Smithfield area

The Smithfield Area once beloved for its market now has everyone’s favourite bar in its quarter: The Sunflower. With the inclusion of ‘Queer Quarter’, the area will have a delightful display of music and fun. 

  • The Maverick / Boombox will be hosting their own block party on Culture Night between 4pm and 9pm. A self-proclaimed celebration and showcase of Belfast queer culture, glitter should be expected.
  • Upstairs at the Sunflower Bar will have the DAMD Theatre Company performing short scenes from Arthur Miller’s play ‘A View from the Bridge’. It will be on from 4.45pm to 5.45pm on Culture Night.
  • Bear and Doll Front Bar will play host to the GXRL Code Takeover: biggest female DJs, rappers, and singers from around the country. Playing from 5pm – 9pm, this is an incredible chance to see women shining in male-dominated industries.
sunflower-bar-cultural-hub
Sunflower Public House, Belfast. (Source: Robert J.E. Simpson)

The Best of Belfast Events: Culture Night and Day 2019

After celebrating its tenth-year in 2018, Culture Night Belfast enters its second decade better than ever. Continuing to champion local talent and feature up and coming artists, Culture Night continues to reflect the best that Belfast has to offer. Culture Night (Friday the 20th) Belfast events will run between 1pm and 9pm and 10am-5am on Culture day (Saturday the 21st). This year Culture Hubs have been developed as a means of information, first aid, lost property, and lost people. The hubs are found in the City Hall, the official Culture Hub in Rosemary Street, Cotton Court, St. Anne’s Cathedral, and Culture Kiosk at Castle Place. An unforgettable night filled with the best of Belfast events: make sure you don’t miss the best night of the year.

culture-night-belfast-events
Culture Night Belfast Poster (Source: Usfolk)

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