2010 Féile an Phobail Launches

Belfast braces itself for eleven days and nights of fun with the Féile an Phobail. Listen to a podcast from the launch featuring Gerry Adams, Danny Morrison and others

Féile an Phobail launched their 2010 programme on Thursday July 8 at the West Belfast Taxi Association, Castle Street, Belfast. The Festival will run from July 29 to August 8 and consists of over 11 days and nights of music, comedy, literature and performing arts taking place at venues throughout Belfast. Tickets for events cost £10, but most are free of charge.

Seamus Heaney will be paying tribute to Michael McLaverty at St Mary's University 1.30pm on July 30 in Remembering Michael McLaverty: A Reverie and a Reading. Elsewhere, for those who fancy lighter fare, comedian and Harry Potter star Lenny Henry will be bringing his cast of endearing characters to Andersontown Leisure Centre at 8pm on August 5. Anderstown Leisure Centre will also play host to the Peatbog Fairies, who are making a welcome return to Northern Ireland at 8pm on August 6.

c21 Theatre Company are also adapting Simon Block's play Not A Game For Boys, a comedy about ping-pong and competition, at the Emerald Roadhouse at 7.30pm from August 2-5. And Kabosh is back The West Awakes in conjunction with Coiste and Taxi Trax tours, giving you a chance to see West Belfast with fresh eyes. That will be running from August 3-8 with two shows daily at 10am and 2pm.

Other events include the rededication of Sam Thompson's grave on July 30 at noon, It's a Knock Out! in Dunville Park on August 8 and the Russian Chamber Philharmonic St Petersburg Orchestra at Clonard Monastery on August 4 at 7pm. And, of course, Féile an Phobail chairman Danny Morrison's favourite event Scribes at the West, with Brian Kennedy talking prose instead of lyrics, Mags Treanor and Tony Macauly.

There was a glimpse at some of the treats in store for festival-goers this August at the launch, with a performance of a plaintive Manx song by Gráinne Holland.

‘Féile an Phobail are great. They always support local artists and they’ve given us a chance,’ Hollan explains. ‘Two years ago they asked us to do a warm up at Clonard Monastery for Peter Corry and that is when our band got together. So it’s really because of Féile an Phobail that our band got established.’

To see for yourself what events are on offer at the festival this year download a PDF of the program from the festival website.

At the launch festival director Sean Paul Hughes took the opportunity to acknowledge the support that Féile an Phobail has received from the Arts Council and the Belfast City Council over the years. He also introduced a new sponsor, Tennents NI, and a new partner, Cork’s Festival of Lifelong learning.

‘For generations Tennents has been at the heart of west Belfast. So it is entirely appropriate that today we announce our continued support of its Féile,’ Conor McGill says.

Thanks also went to Howard Hastings of the Tourist Board who announced the official launch of the festival and his faith that it would continue to draw in new visitors year after year.

'The question we have to answer is why people should visit now rather than some other time,' Hastings says. 'The answer is this festival and others like it. That's why people should come.'

Gerry Adams is co-founder and a continuing supporter of the festival and was there to celebrate the launch. ‘Féile an Phobail is a people’s festival. It’s a great community event and there are events and activities for every single person. It’s good craic and good fun.’

For more information and to book tickets go to the Féile an Phobail website.

Tammy Moore