The annual Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival returns for 2016 with another stellar line-up of comedy, literature, theatre and of course, music. Over the years the festival has proven to be hugely popular with line-ups encompassing big musical talents as well as local artists. This year will be no different. The highlight for many will no doubt be a headline performance from Elbow’s Guy Garvey, influential psychedelia legends The Zombies playing their first Belfast show, or even Grandmaster Flash, all taking to the festival marquee. Below we select a few of our other picks with a local flavour.
Friday 6th May – St George’s church
The singer-songwriter with the husky voice and emotive tunes has really established himself as one of the most exciting talents coming out of Northern Ireland, and his native Aghagallon, today. Lavery marries his distinctive vocals with a genuine and immediately obvious talent for songwriting. Through his live shows, now reaching into Europe on a regular basis, Lavery has developed into a not to be missed live act as well. Be sure to attend the launch of his second album ‘Let Bad In’ in the atmospheric surrounds of St George’s church.
Friday 6th May – Redeemer Central
There’s more than one exciting singer-songwriter launching a new release on the 6th May. We’re clearly spoilt for choice with the hugely talented Hannah McPhillimy set to release her eagerly anticipated second EP, ‘Wind Machine’. Her music blends some of the great musical art forms of jazz and folk. Her largely piano based songs incorporate harmonious orchestration, with McPhillimy’s pure and emotional vocals always sitting perfectly on top. The music of Hannah McPhillimy blooming into the Redeemer Central church will be an absolute pleasure, and not to be missed.
Wednesday 4th May – Sunflower Bar
Northern Ireland’s favourite harpist is always an interesting proposition. Time spent in a travelling circus has informed a rich musical career incorporating a huge range of musical influences from comedy to vast rock set pieces, just listen to the first single below. With her fifth album, ‘The Dangerous Harpist’ recorded with Millbank Studios’ Michael Mormecha we’ll no doubt be treated to an impressive range of sounds. The album will be launched at the festival in the intimate Sunflower Bar.
Amanda St John
Tuesday 3rd May – Black Box
The impressive list of talented female artists (and those who recorded albums at Millbank Studios) includes Belfast’s Amanda St John. ‘You Blew It’ is the first single from St John’s debut album ‘Grow’. The track has plenty of swagger, showcasing Amanda St John’s undoubted blues and soul influence along with her pop sensibilities. The album boasts some impressive collaborations including NI’s very own David Lyttle. Backed by an equally impressive 8 piece band on the night, this should be a lively affair.
The full list of Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival shows can be found on the festival website. Tickets are available through the website as well. The festival runs from 28th April to 8th May 2016.