Féile an Earraigh Continues

The springtime arts festival in west Belfast welcomes Lee Scratch Perry and others to the Big Top

Feile an Earraigh, west Belfast’s colourful spring festival that offers up music, talks, tours, walks and family fun for all – got off to a great start this week, and continues until March 17.

The centrepiece of the festival is three headlining nights of music, which take place in the specially erected Beechmount Big Top. Punk legends The Damned will play the Big Top on Friday, March 14 with support from original local punk heroes The Outcasts.

Trad music with a contemporary twist comes courtesy of Beoga, who Irish Music Magazine described as 'some of the best music in the world today'. They will be supported on March 15 by pop trad act Seo Linn, whose astonishing version of Aviici’s 'Wake Me Up' has received over two million hits on YouTube.

The third night at the Big Top finds grandmaster of reggae, godfather of dub, the one and only Lee 'Scratch' Perry making a welcome return to west Belfast on March 16. The living legend will have support from Belfast’s own ska outfit Boss Sound Manifesto.

Féile director Kevin Gamble said he was thrilled to be able to release such an affordable, accessible and eclectic programme. 'We had a lot to live up to after our 25th birthday celebrations last year, and Feile an Earraigh was our chance to show that that was merely the starting point for us.

'I’m delighted to be able to offer people such a wide range of great acts and activities to entertain, engage and enlighten over the seven days of Feile an Earraigh, and I am delighted our various partners, such as An Chultúrlann, have also put on a vast array of events within the FAE programme.

'From a weekend of great gigs from a host of music legends in our marquee, to great family-friendly events, we know we have something for everyone. It’s going to be a week to remember, and all are very welcome to the west to help celebrate the start of spring.'

Talks at the festival include a topical public debate on the future of the Irish Language chaired by TG4 star Páidí Ó Lionáird, and 'The Poppy and The Lilly', a talk about the history and significance of the symbols of the poppy and Easter lily for commemoration with speakers Philip Orr and Joe Austin.

Feile an Earraigh is also delighted to welcome the return of Rubberneck Theatre Company’s smash show Man in the Moon to Roddy McCorley’s Club as part of the festival.

There will be an exclusive screening of Ballymurphy, the acclaimed film by director Seán Murray, followed by a discussion with family members and panelists about the events and aftermath of the infamous Ballymurphy Massacre in 1971.

Elsewhere to mark St Patrick’s Day there’s Bi-lingual Mass at St Oliver Plunkett, the annual Slemish Pilgrim’s Walk and the family fun of the Sham’rock n run, plus a raft of other family-friendly activities throughout the festival.

Lord Mayor of Belfast Mairtin O'Muilleoir paid tribute to the hard work of staff and community in bringing Féile an Earraigh together. 'Féile an Earraigh is testimony to the creativity, drive and determination of the people of west Belfast and indeed of the city as a whole.'

Féile an Earraigh extensive programme of events is available on Feile Belfast.