South Belfast’s Crescent Gardens welcomes two days of local entertainment, food and drink in Focal Festival's inaugural outing
DatesFriday, 30 June 2017 to Saturday, 01 July 2017
Well known music acts from across Belfast and beyond are set to take to the stage at the first annual Focal Festival in South Belfast.
The open-air festival, which will take place on Friday June 30 and Saturday July 1, will feature acts such as Discobeard, Travis Is A Tourist, The Russian Dolls, Carl Q and Tuskany.
Musicians Ross Maguire and Gareth McGreevy make up Discobeard, from Newcastle, Co Down. Best known for their unique take on pop classics these guys are set to get the post-work crowds jumping on Friday evening from 6.00pm. Read Culture NI's interview with the duo from 2015 here.
Belfast band The Russian Dolls are without doubt becoming one of the most sought after session bands around, so, when the individual members aren't working and touring with some of Ireland's world renowned artists, you'll find them together at festivals like Focal. They’ll play after Discobeard from 8:30pm onwards.
After you’ve enjoyed these unique covers, Belfast DJ Paul Short will be taking to the stage with his mix of '80s disco merged with modern house.
The festival's second day will kick off with a fantastic Beer Pong competition run by the National Beer Pong Association. It’ll be £5 per person to enter, and if you can stand the heat you’ll be in with a chance of winning a huge hamper of booze worth well over £100.
On Saturday Focal Festival is showcasing the best in original talent in Belfast. With each act will be playing their own scores, it's your chance to catch the next Foy Vance or Two Door Cinema Club live.
Brass heavy musical sensation Fat Lip, whose members have played and recorded with the likes of The Pogues, Bad Manners, Brian May and local talent David Lyttle to name but a few, will be there to give you the best of what is hot – from hard-hitting brass and steaming hot funk to the hardest grooving blues and jazz. Get your dancing shoes on and don't miss your chance to experience the hardest working band in Ireland. Catch them from 6.00-7:30pm.
Cari Q, Texan born, Belfast based. Indie rock singer songwriter will be there covering Motown, classic rock and jazz through an array of instruments. Propelled in the US through Season 11 of American Idol, Cari came to Europe to focus on projects she believes in, this has led to various European shows and a UK & Ireland Tour.
Journeyman Travis Gilbert is the one and only member of Travis Is A Tourist. Already popular with Northern Ireland millennials, his fictional fantasies and epic journey is something of a mystery. See Travis from 8:45 – 9:30pm.
Belfast based indie/pop act Tuskany have influences of funk, soul and pop in their music. Their sets include lots of punchy riffs and melodic synth lines. Don’t miss them from 9:45– 10:30pm.
DJ Paul Short will again take over closing the festival displaying his unique blends of disco and house.
Focal Festival, which will take place at Crescent Gardens in the city's thriving Queen's Quarter, which celebrates everything that is great about the spirit of innovation in Northern Ireland. Focal Festival is a new collaboration between the entrepreneurs behind Copeland Spirits, Harland Wines, Bullhouse Beer and Gallopers Craft Beer.
The idea for festival germinated to fruition as the young companies struggled to showcase their outstanding brews at similar outdoor NI events. Thus the emphasis will be on local – local food vendors, local drinks companies and local musical acts to round the whole thing off.
Simon Bryans, Harland Wines said: 'We wanted to create a festival that not only celebrated the best in local produce in the food, drink and entertainment industry but we wanted to show how young entrepreneurs and creatives are making a big waves in Northern Ireland.
'We hope that by promoting our products through events like this aimed at a younger generation we can help to change the industry and bring more focus on local produce which in turn should help to reinvigorate the NI market.'
In the heart of Belfast’s university and party area Crescent Gardens is the ideal location for Focal Festival – an oft-overlooked gem of a setting. Simon added: 'In what was once a student dominated area, Crescent Gardens and the surrounding area is now home to some fabulous venues, eating houses and local businesses, this beautiful part of the city is beginning to thrive again and we are delighted to bring the first of many event to this part of the city.'