Robert Finley

We’re thrilled to present this first ever Irish show by the 69 years young, ‘rising star’ whose Dan Auerbach-produced album Black Bayou. is an 11-track tour de force that coalesces gospel, blues, soul, and rock into a raw, thundering tribute to Finley’s home state of Louisiana.

Telling tales of the bayou from childhood to now, Finley takes listeners on a journey that showcases his growly vocals, sultry falsetto and cements him as a living legend.

Auerbach leads a band of some of the finest players around: drummers Patrick Carney (The Black Keys) and Jeffrey Clemens (G. Love & Special Sauce), bassist Eric Deaton, and legendary Hill Country blues guitarist Kenny Brown.

Black Bayou is a portrait of North Louisiana from an insider who’s lived there all his life. It coalesces all of the vibrant genres bubbling in the bayou from southern soul, jazz, folk, blues, rock and roll and more.

A vivid collection of songs that depict life in North Louisiana, with Finley playing the role of charismatic and knowledgeable tour guide. Tales include surviving the jaws of an alligator on “Alligator Bait,” a true story of his grandfather using him as bait to catch an alligator when he was a child. Songs like “Miss Kitty,” a tale of lust and love are an instant induction into the canon of the blues tradition. In all, a collection set to establish Finley as perhaps one of the last true bluesmen of our time and a truly original Louisiana storyteller who evokes the place and its unique culture for the rest of the world.

Black Bayou has already been heaped with praise from SPIN, The FADER, American Songwriter, UNCUT, Paste, MOJO, Brooklyn Vegan and a slew of other outlets, including The Bluegrass Situation who have hailed Finley as their Artist of the Month for November.

 ‘Black Bayou is definitive Robert Finley—a master musician and entertainer—taking all his bluesy swagger up a notch, a bigger sound with heavier grooves, full confirmation that Robert Finley only gets better with time.”  SPIN

“Black Bayou’s swampier blues and subtler arrangements offer a versatile range of material that reveals the wide expanse of his vocal prowess.” No Depression

“The 11-track album, a portrait of a life that comes together in strokes of gospel, blues, and rock and roll, is simple, relatable, and wise, but above all honest.” American Songwriter

“Black Bayou is surely the album Finley was put on Earth to create, filled with stories only he could tell. 5 STAR REVIEW” Mojo Magazine

“Approaching his eighth decade, then, and with no shortage of tall tales to impart, Robert Finley’s work here is clearly just getting started.” Uncut

“Funky, bluesy… Fueled by Robert’s soulful Southern grit”  Brooklyn Vegan

“In no short terms, Finley’s journey thus far has been nothing short of mythical.” 


Tom Robinson: Up Close & Personal

Musician and broadcaster Tom Robinson presents an evening of songs and stories spanning five decades of adventures in the music industry.

Tom’s musical journey began in 1974 when his first band was discovered by Ray Davies, and included a BBC ban for being Glad To be Gay, rocking against racism alongside The Clash, headlining Glastonbury with Peter Gabriel, writing lyrics for Elton John, drug smuggling in East Germany, two nervous breakdowns and a period in tabloid hell after falling in love with a woman.

Having made his peace with the BBC, he’s presented programmes on all the corporation’s national radio networks, and his broadcasting work has won two Sony Radio Academy awards.

Expect intimate versions of classics such as War Baby, Glad To Be Gay and 2-4-6-8 Motorway alongside stories from behind the scenes and a sprinkling of fan favourites from his extensive back catalogue.

Hole: Live Through This – A Celebration

Join us at the Oh Yeah Music Centre for a night of ‘bone-deep rage and syrupy hooks’ celebrating 30 years since the groundbreaking release of Hole’s iconic album Live Through This.

The album encapsulates the journey of survival amidst adversity and we have invited Sister Ghost, Susi Pagel and Aqua Tofana to offer their take in a night centred around recreation and reimagination of a seminal work.

Expect a fusion of raw energy, emotive storytelling, and unbridled passion, echoing the album’s themes of endurance and resilience.


Directed by Hildegard Ryan and performed by Eva O’Connor

A chicken’s brain is the size of a walnut. But their hearts are as big as the universe. A play about love, fate, delicious white meat, and adventure.

There’s a chicken in the Ulster Sports Club and she’s dying to meet you. From the makers of MUSTARD (Scotsman Fringe First Winner 2019, Adelaide Critic’s Circle Winner 2023).

‘What a privilege to see this … if you want to see a bit of real theatre, go see Mustard.’ Scotsman ★★★★

‘Eva O’Connor has a fierce presence, as hot, fiery and burning as the mustard of her play… ‘ ★★★★★ Ed Fest Mag

Age: 14 plus


Mick Flannery

“Mick Flannery has a voice for the ages, a complete Master of his craft” proclaimed Clash Magazine, whilst The Sunday Times said he “conjures up exquisite story-telling.”

His latest offering Goodtime Charlie, Flannery’s eighth studio record, went straight to No. 1 at home in Ireland on the independent charts, and No. 2 on the Official Charts, making it his sixth top 5 record to date, With 3 Number 1 records already under his belt, Goodtime Charlie is also the first international signing for John Prine’s beloved Oh Boy Records.

Mick Flannery’s songs are fluent in expressing layered aspects of the human condition, its flaws, triumphs, and general uncertainty.  His live shows are renowned for his self-deprecating humour, audience engagement and the ability to bring people on a journey of both heartbreak and joy, often in the same instance.

Mick has built up a reputation over the past decade as one of Ireland hardest working musicians, touring extensively at home and in more recent years abroad as his songs have been reaching folks farther afield. Ireland’s best kept secret appears to be no more.

Lau (Unplugged)

Lau present their Unplugged show, a concert of two halves in which they return to their instruments’ natural soundscapes for an evening’s exploration of re-arranged and re-created material from across their catalogue. A stripped down performance without pedalboards or electronics, just voice, fiddle, guitar and accordion, and a 4 track tape recorder.

Kris Drever (guitar and vocals), Martin Green (accordion, Wurlitzer, keys, electronics) and Aidan O’Rourke (fiddle) are back to present music that is complex, accessible, challenging, comforting and delivered with spiritual conviction.

They come from the legendary melting pot of the Edinburgh trad scene at the turn of the century and have created a mix from the fabric of Scottish and Irish musical heritage, progressive art rock ideas and a playful sense of theatre.

They’ve won all sorts of plaudits nationally and internationally and sold out venues worldwide. After almost 18 years in existence, they’re still in love with the music they get to make and practising the art of sharing it.

“Lau are a remarkable band – the most musically adventurous trio in British folk exquisite and hypnotic, musicianship at its best.”- THE GUARDIAN

The Breeze: ‘Thin Ground’ Album Launch

The Breeze are a new 3-piece band comprising long-time collaborators Chris Coll (Lost InThe Fog), Decky McManus (The Basement) and Stevie Scullion (Malojian).

The 3 multi-instrumentalists entered the studio in March 2023 and quickly found a flow which spawned their debut record Thin Ground.

They have already been winning over audiences throughout Ireland and the UK and look forward to hitting the road in support of the album in April and May.

‘The sound of The Beach Boys and Tom waits heading off on holiday together…delightful and mesmerising’ – Ulster Herald

‘Excellent debut single – a catchy, countrified rock and roll delight.’ – Irish News

Peter Case, Sid Griffin and Dan Stuart

A potential show of the festival. Three absolute icons of Americana will play individual sets then come together for an unforgettable finale.

Peter Case is a three-time Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter from the USA who has a most impressive resume. He was the founder of the Nerves, the very first American indie band to put together a nationwide tour and one of the very first to release their own indie EP. He then was the founder and leader of the legendary Plimsouls, an incredibly influential L.A. rock and roll band which drew praise from everyone from Elvis Costello to Tom Petty to critics nationwide.

For the past thirty-some years Peter Case has been a solo troubadour in the great tradition of Dylan, Guthrie, and Pete Seeger. Early on he was produced by T-Bone Burnett and he’s played with and been championed by Roger McGuinn, Van Dyke Parks, Mike Campbell of Tom Petty’s Heartbreakers and many more. His latest album is The Midnight Broadcast and it just might be his very best album.

Sid Griffin is best known for his leadership of the Long Ryders, the founding fathers of alt-country and Americana. He is also the proud artist behind four well-received solo albums, was the leader of the wonderful ‘alt-bluegrass’ UK band, The Coal Porters, he was the Resident Musicologist on BBC 6 Music’s Radcliffe & Maconie radio show for over a decade and Sid has written four books. Sid’s most recent book, Million Dollar Bash: Bob Dylan, The Band, and the Basement Tapes, has been reissued twice and Sid did the liner notes for that collection of legendary Dylan tracks.

Dan Stuart is a musician and author who was the leader of Green on Red, a band associated with both LA’s Paisley Underground of the 1980’s and the beginning of the so-called Americana movement. His “false memoir” The Deliverance of Marlowe Billings was published in 2014 to critical acclaim which was followed up with The Unfortunate Demise of Marlowe Billings in 2018.

All three of his books all have albums by the same name with the last getting Americana album of the Month in UNCUT Magazine, Dan has released over 15 albums between Green on Red and his solo years.

Tonight’s performance will feature songs from across his solo and Green on Red catalogue and a very brief reading from his third and latest novel Marlowe’s Revenge along with stories of his time with Green on Red.

Snapped Ankles

Snapped Ankles return to the forest, but it’s not as they left it. Trees planted in neat rows. A well-ordered monoculture with access roads and heavy machinery. The smell of greenwashed money in the air. There’s no sign of the ancient woodland they emerged from on debut album, Come Play The Trees. And it’s far cry from the gentrified East London they found themselves hawking on Stunning Luxury. All is not well in the face of progress. Welcome to the Forest Of Your Problems.

Forest Of Your Problems runs the gamut of modern woodwose emotions. In this neat human approximation of the forest, it’s an increasingly knotted affair. Despite all of this, Snapped Ankles haven’t lost their innate ability to make you want to move your feet – their Teutonic forest rhythms are still shot through with post-punk lightning.

Snapped Ankles outsider status has always allowed them to hold a mirror up to society. Now the boundaries are not so clear. In the four years since Come Play The Trees was released, their cult has flourished. Previous album Stunning Luxury saw the band invited to play the BBC 6 Music Festival and a KEXP session on the back of a sold-out UK tour which culminated with two nights at Village Underground in London. As those who have witnessed the shamanic ritual of their live shows will attest, they are a truly unique, communal experience.

The Handsome Family

The Handsome Family (songwriting and marriage partners Brett and Rennie Sparks) have been defining the dark end of americana for over 30 years. Brett writes the music and Rennie writes the words. Their work has been covered by many artists including Jeff Tweedy, Andrew Bird and most-recently Phoebe Bridgers.

Their song Far From Any Road was the opening theme for HBO’s True Detective season one and still receives thousands of Shazams every week from all over the world.

Handsome Family songs take place under overpasses and inside airports. Historical figures like George A. Custer and Nikola Tesla appear alongside a flying milkman and the whisper of an air conditioner against a plastic tree.

Their eleventh studio album, Hollow, delves into the natural world at the edges of the man-made. It is a record lush with leaves and shadows and echoing with occult mystery.

Asked to describe their music Brett says, “Western gothic.” It is music inspired by the abandoned strip malls of desert America where cracked pavement shimmers with heat and thorny weeds slowly reclaim the land.

Handsome Family songs may be dark, but there’s always laughter on stage. Rennie sings as well as plays banjo and bass. She often introduces songs with seemingly unrelated stories. Brett, with his deep baritone and stentorian presence, is the undeniable center of stage. The two are often joined by multi-instrumentalists Alex McMahon and Jason Toth as well as fans, new and old, some returning again and again to see them live over the decades.

“We’re astonished to be breathing,” Rennie says about the band’s longevity, “Let alone still be inspired to write songs and sing together. There’s been a lot of smashed coffee cups in our house over the years, but we’re still unable to resist the urge to make music.”

Cass McCombs and Steve Gunn

Cass McCombs’ music contains elements of folk music, americana, psychedelia, and rock. In his latest album, Tip of the Sphere, McCombs draws sounds from his predecessors, recalling Elton John-style pianos and Lou Reed vocals.

The album received much acclaim from review sites, and his live performances can be expected to showcase many of the new album’s songs, and does not disappoint in the subject of lengthy jams. McCombs has opened for recognized artists such as Modest Mouse, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, and John Cale, but his solo shows have also sold out at venues such as Lincoln Hall.

Steve Gunn is a guitarist, singer, songwriter, and producer living and working in Brooklyn, New York. He initially gained a reputation as a go-to musician and for his membership in GHQ, though Gunn has a varied recording and collaboration history that includes work with British legend Mike Cooper and Jack Rose.

The diversity of his approach embraces everything from American Primitive guitar to raucous, Neil Young & Crazy Horse-inspired psychedelic roots rock & roll. He has collaborated with Meg Baird, the Magik Markers, and Kurt Vile, and issued a number of well-received solo albums including Way Out Weather (2014), The Unseen In Between (2018), and Other You (2021).

Lack of Afro (DJ Set)

“He is my guy, a musical brother. And I only f*ck with the best!” – Madlib

A colossus of the funk & soul world, Adam Gibbons (aka Lack of Afro) has been releasing music for 17 years and continues to go from strength to strength with the release of Square One this year, his eighth album under the Lack of Afro moniker.

Previously signed to Freestyle Records in London and running his own label ‘The Bastion Music Group’ since 2015, he has been responsible for some of the genre’s most important releases, not least his debut album ‘Press On’, described by iDJ as “one of the most important albums of the modern funk era” and more recently given ‘classic’ status by Future Music Magazine.

An accomplished multi-instrumentalist, producer, DJ and composer, his music has won worldwide critical acclaim and to date has gained 120+ million streams on Spotify. It has been featured on films, TV shows and adverts all over the globe, on networks including HBO, ABC, Sony Pictures, BBC, ITV, Sky TV, Fox Pictures & Warner Brothers Television, and used in multi million ad campaigns by the likes of Google, Spotify, Miller Lite and Adidas.

As a DJ and live performer, he has performed in over 20 countries worldwide and undertaken countless live sessions for radio and TV including two for the BBC at the highly revered Maida Vale Studios.

To date, he has released eight albums under the Lack of Afro moniker, three as The Unity Sextet, one under LUSTRE, one under his own name, an EP with Herbal T as The Damn Straights, albums for other artists, music for several TV shows and over 60 remixes. He has also produced 13 award winning, sample packs for Loopmasters.

Support by Gazfunk

The Dodge Brothers

+ support Dan Donnelly (The Levellers)

Firm festival favourites, The Dodge Brothers have sold out the Black Box on all past visits so we’re delighted to welcome the band to CQAF’s biggest stage for a perfect Bank Holiday Sunday afternoon hoe-down.

The Dodge Brothers are a skiffle-and-blues band producing ‘tunes of proven merit’ – new songs written and performed in the old style, harking back to the days of jug-band blues and early rock’n’roll.

The band are: Mike Hammond (guitars, lead vocals, banjo); Aly Hirji (guitars, mandolin, vocals); Mark Kermode (bass, harmonica, vocals), and Alex Hammond (washboard, snare drum, percussion). The music has an authentically American tang – lead guitarist/vocalist Mike Hammond was raised in Alabama and his youthful musical travels took him all over the southern and western USA – but with a strong British perspective.

The Dodge Brothers’ first album Louisa and the Devil showcased songs about transport, heartbreak and homicide, with tales of strong women, bad men and lonesome railroads. Their second album The Sun Set was recorded at Sun Studio in Memphis, using authentically old-fashioned recording techniques to recapture the spirit of a bygone age.

The Dodge Brothers’ more recent album Drive Train was released in 2018 and described as “Essential listening” by Whispering Bob Harris on BBC Radio 2’s Country Show.

As a live act The Dodge Brothers have played everywhere from The Roundhouse to the Royal Albert Hall, from the 100 Club to the Cropredy festival.  At the Jazz Café, they played with rockabilly legend Wanda Jackson, and they regularly sell-out gigs at the Borderline and the Blues Kitchen in London.


Harvest are an 8-piece band who have been thrilling audiences and fans of Neil Young for 15 years.

Formed in 2009, the band have played sell-out shows all over Ireland, including a performance of arguably Young’s greatest album Harvest in full at Vicar Street in Dublin in 2018. The band have also played numerous festivals including Electric Picnic and appeared on national TV and radio.

The band embrace the mercurial Canadian’s multiple genres and styles, from the gentlest acoustic country/folk workouts to the noisiest ‘Crazy Horse’ rock epics, and everything in between.

A rare chance to celebrate Youngless peerless legacy through beautiful renditions of the timeless classics Heart of Gold, The Needle and the Damage Done, Old Man, Helpless and many others.

If you like Neil Young, you will love Harvest.

Conchúr White

A singer-songwriter from County Armagh, Conchúr White navigates the dreamlike and the grounded with blissful fluency on his beautiful debut album Swirling Violets.

Released through Bella Union in January, Swirling Violets is allusive and intimate, unearthly yet instantly accessible: touching on fully felt themes with grace and lightness, its a richly imagined album of multitudes from an instinctive talent.“I like surreal settings, but with tangible messages,” says White.

As White explains it, “There wasn’t a conscious theme, though the songs operate in the same sort of space, that sense of surrealism. There’s ghosts, there’s other worlds. There’s a cosmic feeling, questions about the beginning and the end and dreams. And then there’s simpler songs, love songs about the feelings of infatuation you have when you’re young”

A music graduate who has also worked alongside young people with mental health issues, White’s story began in bands. He played in atmospheric indie-rockers Silences before their split allowed Conchúr to develop his solo voice at his own pace.

With praise from SPIN, The Line of Best Fit, Under the Radar, Steve Lamacq, Radio 6 and others under his belt, he has also notched up touring slots with The Magnetic Fields, Villagers, Billie Marten and John Grant, who complemented White’s work warmly.

Mr Scruff

Manchester based Mr Scruff is a producer, cartoonist and cross-genre selector who loves to play long DJ sets and occasionally B2B sets with similarly wide-eared and excitable DJs.

He has been DJing since 1984, and has been getting paid for it since 1994. His DJ sets can range from deep soul/funk/reggae/afro/jazz/latin/hip-hop to harder edge electro/house/new wave/techno/electronic, often all in the same night.

A sound obsessive who likes to get in the venue early to set up and sound check, he brings his mixer, effects, vinyl, cables, a sound engineer and some boiled eggs.

Sometimes he brings VJ Jim or MC Kwasi. He usually brings socks, but occasionally forgets.

Willy Mason

Willy Mason is a songwriter who has become harder to define as the years go on.

Often outside of time musically, his lyrics reflect the humanness of now and our steps toward transcendence.

Willy’s music has traveled great lengths over the years but it’s always been from the heart and for the sake of love and its mysterious mission.

His voice and performances have only improved with age. Today’s shows are tight and powerful; full of passion and conviction, humor and love.

Nadine Shah

Nadine Shah worries that too much time might have elapsed between her last album, 2020’s universally acclaimed Kitchen Sink and its extraordinary successor Filthy Underneath.

Three years might seem like a prolonged absence to some people, but it’s also a period of time in which the apparatus that holds your world in place can be dismantled and reassembled so that you can keep living, keep creating. And the more Nadine tells you about the last three years of her life – losing her mother to cancer at the height of lockdown; the suicide attempt that ended her marriage (not, thankfully, her life); the subsequent period in rehab that slowly endowed her with the tools to outwit the pernicious voices that once overwhelmed her – the more incredible it is that she has returned as soon as she has done.

Filthy Underneath chronicles a period of unprecedented turbulence in Nadine Shah’s life. And yet, the experience of listening to it is oddly life-affirming – a parade of ghosts spanning the entirety of Nadine’s thirty-seven years, moving with balletic beauty to the music that Nadine and long-time collaborator and producer Ben Hillier have created around them.

Jack Docherty: David Bowie & Me – Parallel Lives

In his critically-acclaimed show devoted to the Star Man, Jack Docherty, the BAFTA award-winning star of Scot Squad and Absolutely, takes audiences on a journey through topics of first love, hedonism, mortality and why you should always meet your heroes.

Following rave reviews and a sell-out run at Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Jack Docherty, the BAFTA award-winning star of Scot Squad and Absolutely, is taking his critically-acclaimed show David Bowie & Me on tour. 

The comic, author, actor and writer uses his time spent with Bowie on The Jack Docherty Show in 1997 as a jumping off point to take audiences through topics from first love, hedonism, mortality and why you should always meet your heroes. From AI to culture wars, families to teenage years, David Bowie and Me – Parallel Lives is a journey of comedy and storytelling, taking fans on a trip through the inner workings of his masterful mind.

“It is simply impossible not to love what he does on a stage’ – The Scotsman

“Extremely enjoyable piece about his connection with late, great starman” – The Evening Standard

“This show truly showcases Jack’s ability as a performer and story-teller, engaging with his audience from start to finish” – Edinburgh Evening News

“Docherty’s mighty presence fills the room… a superbly delivered, autobiographical coming-of-age story” – Three Weeks

“A love letter to creativity, to music and to the teenagers we all once were” – Entertainment Now

Duration – 75 mins no interval

Age Rating – 18 

C Duncan

Born and raised in Glasgow by two classical musicians, Chris studied piano and viola before taking up guitar, bass, and drums in his teens, eventually studying music composition at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. After graduating he began work on his first album, writing and recording everything from home.

His Mercury nominated debut ‘Architect’ was released in 2015 and after a spell of touring the UK and Europe he returned to his home studio and began work on his Twilight Zone inspired second album ‘The Midnight Sun’ which was released in 2016 and shortlisted for Scottish Album of the Year.

He supported Elbow on their UK and North American tour which led him to record his third album ‘Health’ at their studio in Salford with Craig Potter, which was released in 2019 and also shortlisted for Scottish Album of the Year. Now back in his “new and improved” home studio, Chris recorded and released his fourth album ‘Alluvium’ in May 2022 on Bella Union. He is also a keen artist, and paints all his own album artwork.

Chasing Amy: A Celebration of the Life and Songs of Amy Winehouse

Fresh from the success of her last Festival show -‘Feeling Good ‘, which honoured Nina Simone, acclaimed vocalist Victoria Geelan returns to Belfast to celebrate the life and music of another of her greatest artistic influences: Amy Winehouse.

Both born in 1983, Victoria immediately fell in love with Amy’s vocal artistry and witty lyrics, closely following her musical career and her dramatic rise to fame in the early 2000s, which was cut tragically short with Amy’s untimely death in 2011.

Chasing Amy is a compassionate exploration of the creative influences and development of the celebrated vocalist and songwriter.

Complemented by her band of in-demand virtuoso musicians, Victoria will take the audience on a thrilling and joyful musical journey, from jazz beginnings, through soul, reggae and hip-hop to the creation of one of the definitive albums of the 21st century: Back To Black.

This show will not just feature the songs of Amy Winehouse, but also those of her artistic influences, which she regularly included in her live sets.  It will explore the stories behind the songs, the treatment of her and her private life by the media, her struggles with bulimia and depression and how trailblazing she was for her generation, as a woman and artist.

Amy broke the mould of what a female popular singer sounded and looked like but, more importantly, what she sang about: female sexuality, friendship, addictions, depression, family and the art of songwriting itself.  This is one show that will stay with you long after the music has ended.

Due to some explicit lyrical content and adult themes, this show is recommended for those aged 14+.

Oisin Leech

Uncut Magazine have described Oisin’s solo debut album as “a stunning album of clear blue reflection’ while Shindig Magazine said “Oisin has reached a new pinnacle.”

Songwriter Oisin Leech grew up in Meath but spent a lot of his youth near Buncranna in Co. Donegal from where his family hail and from where his solo debut album has arrived. Enlisting Brooklyn artist Steve Gunn as producer was the first stop on the road to creating ‘Cold Sea’ ; the first solo offering from Oisin.

Recording took place near Malin in an old sea-facing schoolhouse which Leech and Gunn transformed into a working studio for four days. The end result is a spellbinding album of minimalist serene beauty. M Ward, Dónal Lunny, Roisin McGrory and Tony Garnier all make an appearance across the nine cathartic and crafted songs.

Oisin has toured recently with M Ward, Lisa O’Neill and will tour with Gaz Coombes in 2024 also. While he has graced the Belfast stages many times with his acclaimed and revered musical duo The Lost Brothers, Oisin is delighted to play his Belfast solo debut gig at The Deers Head on May 7 as part of Cathedral Arts Festival.

Muireann Bradley

Muireann Bradley is a 17 year old finger picking guitarist & singer who grew up in the hills overlooking the Finn Valley outside the town of Ballybofey in County Donegal. Muireann performs primarily Country, Ragtime & Piedmont style blues from the 1920s & 1930s.

Her influences include Rev Gary Davis, Blind Blake, Mississippi John Hurt, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Robert Johnson, Elizabeth Cotten, and Memphis Minnie to name just a few. She delights in interpreting & performing the music of these early blues masters, always putting her own unique stamp on the tunes.

Muireann grew up surrounded by guitars & old blues & began playing at the age of nine when she convinced her father to buy her first guitar and teach her. She worked hard and learned to finger pick in various old blues styles. However as she got older she began to invest more time in the sports of boxing and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu which she trained and competed in successfully from a young age. This led to the guitar and music beginning to take something of a back seat.

Then in March 2020 when the first COVID lock downs happened all contact sports were shut down. Muireann felt lost for a while but she soon rediscovered her love for the guitar and the old Blues that she had grown up with. She was now listening and practicing with a new intensity and focus.

She decided to start posting videos on You Tube, the first of which was her rendition of Blind Blake’s “Police Dog Blues”. It received a lot of attention, and has now had 80,000+ views. She was then contacted by Josh Rosenthal of Tompkins Square Records in San Francisco who suggested she record an album.

The songs and instrumentals were all recorded live in the studio in one or two takes in an attempt to make the process as similar as possible to that of the original classic country blues artists of the 1920s and 30s. These recordings would become the album “I kept these old blues” which has just been released.

Ben Glover: Album Launch

Ben Glover returns home to Belfast for a special performance, marking his first solo show since 2018. The occasion is set to celebrate the launch of his upcoming album, And The Sun Breaks Through The Sky, scheduled for release in April ’24.

While Glenarm, County Antrim remains close to his heart, Glover has called Nashville home since 2009, establishing himself as a respected collaborator with some of the city’s finest artists, including Mary Gauthier and Gretchen Peters.

In 2018, Glover’s album Shorebound clinched the Album Of The Year title at the Americana UK Awards. This recognition followed his previous success with Gretchen Peters in 2016, winning Song of The Year for Blackbirds.

The highly anticipated And The Sun Breaks Through The Sky embodies a unique creative process, allowing a body of work to organically evolve through writing and recording sessions that commenced in 2019.

No stranger to the Black Box stage, where he has delivered countless memorable performances over the last decade, Ben Glover is excited to make a return and be part of the CQAF.


Drawing from circus, stand-up and live art, Contra is a solo-cabaret of contradictions. Fierce, witty and uncompromising, this highly physical show interrogates personal, social and historical occupations of the female body and explores, literally, where such bodies are positioned and how we are meant to look at them. Expect scenes of nudity, aerial acrobatics, and explicit references to mythical reptiles and female sexuality.

Laura Murphy is a genre-defying queer performance maker from Bristol who makes dynamic, cross-disciplinary physical work about things that she thinks need to be talked about. Contra was directed by alt cabaret legend Ursula Martinez.

Laura Murphy is a circusnext Laureate, circusnext is a platform for circus creation supported by the European Union.

Age Guidance: 16+ Contains nudity, strong language and frank discussions of sex and the body

Hollie McNish: The Lobster Tour with Michael Pedersen

After a run of sold out shows up and down the UK, Hollie McNish is back with a brand new book, Lobster and other things I’m learning to love. A Sunday Times bestselling writer whose live readings are not to be missed, expect strong language and adult content, gift-wrapped in gorgeously crafted poetry.

In Lobster, Hollie brings her much-loved style to questions offriendship, flags and newborns, clocks, cocks and volvos, shining a ridiculous and beautifully poetic lens upon all those things we have been taught to hate, and which we might just learn to love again. Here, she will be joined by fellow poet Michael Pedersen reading from his latest brilliant books The Cat Prince and Boy Friends.

Adult content warning 14+ / Book signing after the gig

“Makes me cry and howl with laughter” – Paapa Essiedu

“Her writing is sublime” – Ellie Taylor

“like Pam Ayres on acid” – Lemn Sissay

“One of the best poets we have”. – Matt Haig

“Rubbish” – The Telegraph

About the Author
Hollie McNish is a poet and author based between Glasgow and Cambridge. She was the first poet to record at Abbey Road Studios, London and won the Ted Hughes Award for New Work in Poetry for her poetic parenting memoir – Nobody Told Me -of which The Scotsman stated ‘The World Needs this Book’.

She has published four further collections of poetry – Papers, Cherry Pie, Plum and Slug, which was a Sunday Times bestseller.Her new book, Lobster, and other things I’m learning to love is out now. She loves writing.


“It’s like someone took Spiritualized to the club!” — Lauren Laverne, BBC 6 Music

TVAM self-released his much-acclaimed debut ‘Psychic Data’ in the autumn of 2018, something of a cult-classic, the album joined the dots between Suicide’s deconstructed rock ’n’ roll, Boards of Canada’s irresistible nostalgia and My Bloody Valentine’s infinite noise. Psychic Data spawned an ‘Album Of The Day’ and two daytime playlists at BBC 6Music whilst signature tune ‘Porsche Majeure’ featured in HBO’s smash-hit ‘Succession’.

Fast-forward to 2022, TVAM appeared from his studio blinking in the crisp Spring sunshine to sign with Invada Records. The resultant‘High Art Lite’ took a different tilt to its predecessor by emphasising the immediate and the personal, the colours blown-out and the brightness cranked up.

A heady mix of Black Mirror’s modern fables, JG Ballard’s gated communities of sun-drenched wealth, and Mulholland Drive’s boulevard of broken daydreams, ‘High Art Lite’ offers an all-inclusive package of redemption.

TVAM is both visceral and melancholic, drifting wonderfully across dream pop, shoegaze and synth-pop without ever permanently calling one camp its home

As well as his own regular headline shows in the UK TVAM has enjoyed the attentions of Blue Dot, End Of the Road, Green Man, Liverpool / Manchester and Edinburgh Psych Fests, and headlined Lewes Psych Fest.

Praise for ‘High Art Lite’:

‘Album Of The Week’ – Amazing Radio

Album Of The Week’ – Louder Than War

‘Album Of The Week’ –

[TVAM] has created an album that is much better than its predecessor. Majestic on all counts and a major effort at stealing the crown from Jason Pierce” – Louder Than War

As if Spiritualized had swallowed an upper instead of a downer. The euphoria with which TVAM play in rage on the second album is definitely contagious. Everything about this album bubbles, fizzes, shines and dazzles.” – Visions

“An influx of technicolour and imagery that occasionally fades briefly into darkness…a magnetic disc” – Plugged

Joe Oxley aka TVAM has lost none of his brilliance. [High Art Lite]

launches the listener into the wonderful world of the artist’s neo-psychedelia”

La Vague Paralléle

Always oscillating between shoegaze, industrial and synth pop, TVAM bathes its compositions in a captivating, disinhibiting electric mist.” – MOWNO

“[TVAM] channels Spacemen 3 and first wave shoegazes addiction to smudged, distorted looping riffs, pushing into psychedelia” – The Arts Desk

Praise for ‘Psychic Data’:

“Quite simply, this is one of the best debuts in recent times. Utterly and unashamedly brilliant.” – Electronic Sound

“An industrialised pop record that throbs and pulses with an infectious, entrancing haze that’s instantly addictive … roaring great fun” – Loud & Quiet

“A Ballardian synthesis of rock grind, mechanoid tension and ether-gazing vocals which variously recalls The Normal, Suicide and Add N to (X)” –Mojo

“ Indulge in the disaffected rage that beats through this darkly glittering experimental masterpiece” – Gigwise

Luke Haines Freaks Out! Weirdos, Misfits and Deviants – The Rise and Fall of Righteous Rock ’n’ Roll

Join Luke Haines for this in-conversation talk about his new book.

The outsider artist par excellence turns his caustic eye to the rise and fall of alternative rock ’n’ roll heroes.

In his first book for thirteen years, author Luke Haines – visual artist, writer and musician most famed as the founder member of the Auteurs and Black Box Recorder – chronologically explains how ‘freaks’ infiltrated modern culture, and almost won the rock ’n’ roll wars, only to lose to the rise of Cool Britannia and TV ‘talent’ shows that turned the strange and the outsiders into fodder for laughter.

Freaks Out! tells the story of pivotal freaks such as Johnnie Ray, Gene Vincent, Hank Marvin, Syd Barrett, the Incredible String Band and Big Youth through the prism of rock ’n’ roll, as well as through wider culture – the Cathars, the Ranters, the Hells Angels and the Yippies. Haines’ writing is the perfect mix of in-depth music knowledge, personal anecdotes and fascinating memoir that makes for the ultimate celebration of freakdom.

Pete Selby, Publishing Director for Nine Eight Books who acquired the book directly from Haines said: “Whilst the reductivism of the labels might stick in his craw, Luke is one of our greatest pop culture writers, theorists and provocateurs. A defiantly solipsistic, sacred cow skewering agitator, you may not always agree with what he says, but he says it in such an eloquent and entertaining fashion it’s impossible not to grit your teeth and applaud. Freaks Out! – part memoir, part manifesto – is the most righteous alternate history of rock ’n’ roll that you will read in 2024.”

Luke Haines is a London-based writer, visual artist, singer-songwriter and founder member of the Auteurs and Black Box Recorder. In 1993, the debut Auteurs album, New Wave lost the Mercury Music Prize by one vote to Suede. A prolific artist, he has released nineteen albums in the twenty-first century, most recently his 2022 collaboration with REM’s Peter Buck – All the Kids Are Super Bummed Out.

He writes a regular monthly column for Record Collector and is the author of two critically acclaimed autobiographical books: Bad Vibes (2009) and Post Everything (2011).

Muireann Bradley

Tickets for Festival Marquee, Tuesday 7th May available here

Muireann Bradley is a 17 year old finger picking guitarist & singer who grew up in the hills overlooking the Finn Valley outside the town of Ballybofey in County Donegal. Muireann performs primarily Country, Ragtime & Piedmont style blues from the 1920s & 1930s.

Her influences include Rev Gary Davis, Blind Blake, Mississippi John Hurt, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Robert Johnson, Elizabeth Cotten, and Memphis Minnie to name just a few. She delights in interpreting & performing the music of these early blues masters, always putting her own unique stamp on the tunes.

Muireann grew up surrounded by guitars & old blues & began playing at the age of nine when she convinced her father to buy her first guitar and teach her. She worked hard and learned to finger pick in various old blues styles. However as she got older she began to invest more time in the sports of boxing and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu which she trained and competed in successfully from a young age. This led to the guitar and music beginning to take something of a back seat.

Then in March 2020 when the first COVID lock downs happened all contact sports were shut down. Muireann felt lost for a while but she soon rediscovered her love for the guitar and the old Blues that she had grown up with. She was now listening and practicing with a new intensity and focus.

She decided to start posting videos on You Tube, the first of which was her rendition of Blind Blake’s “Police Dog Blues”. It received a lot of attention, and has now had 80,000+ views. She was then contacted by Josh Rosenthal of Tompkins Square Records in San Francisco who suggested she record an album.

The songs and instrumentals were all recorded live in the studio in one or two takes in an attempt to make the process as similar as possible to that of the original classic country blues artists of the 1920s and 30s. These recordings would become the album “I kept these old blues” which has just been released.


There is a rare alchemy that occurs when Lemoncello sing together, cutting through a minimal yet dramatic soundscape driven by cyclical, finger-picked guitar and earthy, gritty cello playing.

Laura Quirke and Claire Kinsella – A.K.A. Lemoncello – say: “We are honoured to be releasing our first album on a roster of artists that we love, and to be part of the revival of a label that has such a strong history of great Irish music.”

Audiences are charmed into a world of intimate observations and uncomfortable questions with irresistible chemistry, charisma, and humour, while blanketed in their unique sound – embedded in Irish folk roots and off-kilter-indie pop influences.

Previously nominated for Best Folk Song and Best Emerging Folk Act at the RTÉ Radio 1 Folk Awards, the duo’s enrapturing performances have also led them to play in Dublin’s legendary Vicar Street, The Irish Arts Centre NYC, London’s Bush Hall, and to open for esteemed artists such as Lisa O’Neill, Sam Amidon, Glen Hansard and Cormac Begley.

Baxter Dury

CQAF is delighted to welcome Baxter Dury our Festival Marquee as part of his I Thought I Was Better Than You tour. I Thought I Was Better Than You is an album that makes the start of a new character for Dury that he describes as “faux-confrontational.”

The album is a recounting and reckoning of his childhood. Drury breaks down the struggle he faced being born into a fortunate life but not wanting that to be the reason for his success.

“Really it’s about being trapped in an awkward place between something you’re actually quite good at, and somebody else’s success,” Dury says, referencing his father, singer-songwriter Ian Dury.

I Thought I Was Better Than You takes influence from the likes of Frank Ocean, Tyler the Creator and Vegyn.

The album’s lead single ‘Celebrate Me’ starts with Dury narrating his life and speaking directly to the audience. It also features an array of high-pitched female voices including Eska Mtungwazi, JGrrey and Madeline Hart that stand out compared to Dury’s lower pitch speech in the song.

“It may sound corny, he says, “but men can be predictable – so I tried to step away from the male artistic trope of everything revolving around you.”

The track ‘Crowded Rooms’ on the album describes how Dury feels trapped in Bohemia and its small-mindedness in the upper-middle-class. Dury sings, questioning “Why am I condemned because I’m the son of a musician?/ Because I don’t wash or you think I’m too posh?”

The album is an acknowledgement of the nepotism that he has in his life and how even is both high and low art. Dury wants people to see that he is no better than anyone else.

Kimmie Rhodes

Kimmie Rhodes from Austin, Texas returns with a rare and intimate solo performance to celebrate the release of newly-penned songs, tell stories both poignant and hilarious from her four decades of making music and sing the songs those years inspired!

She says, “I can’t wait to visit friends and fans… fun promised!”

“Kimmie Rhodes: The soul of a poet and the voice of an angel.” – Rodney Crowell

“Kimmie has the voice of a beautiful child coming from an old soul. She touches us where the better angels of our nature dwell, and I believe we need that now more than ever. If you haven’t before, do yourself a favor and bring her into your listening life.” – Emmylou Harris

DJ Format

Support by Pete Brady and Chris Caul

DJ Format will blend his favourite funk, soul, and even elements of hip hop for an unforgettable experience that will keep you dancing.

The title of his 2003 debut album says it all:Music For The Mature B-Boy. That’s DJ Format for you, boiled down to the essence. He’s the grown up producer/beatmaker who, admittedly, spends far too long digging for bafflingly scarce records to sample and play in clubs.

His six artist albums, featuring rap heavyweights likeJurassic 5EdanMr LifPhill Most Chill and of course long-time collaborator, Abdominal, have been called some of the highpoints in UK hip hop. His skill in compiling albums and crafting mixtapes have seen him enlisted by the good people at Fabric LiveFaniaBBE and Mr Bongo for his unique selections of funk, Latin soul, heavy psych, and Brazilian Tropicalia respectively.

More recently a string of cut ‘n’ paste 45s have kept his name in DJs’ boxes. These tributes to the likes of James Brown, Kool & The Gang, and The Meters, are as funky as they were labour-intensive to put together.

His latest artist album was something of a departure from his previous releases. An instrumental album swirling with psychedelic samples, “Devil’s Workshop” proved to be an instant hit with fans and critics alike.

Format’s DJ sets are like long form versions of these productions – meticulous on the execution and built on the deep crates he’s spent years building.

Catch him behind the decks at a spot near you. His high-octane sets of soul, funk, Latin, and feel-good hip hop, have rocked spots the world over. And he’s never happier than when he gets the chance to share his music with people just like you.

Sara Pascoe- Weirdo

The debut novel from the bestselling and award-winning comedian, in conversation with Kathy Clugston.

We are delighted to be welcoming Sara Pascoe to CQAF. Best known as a comedian, Sara has also written for television and is the host of The Great British Sewing Bee. Sara has already written two books – both non-fiction,  her first novel is Weirdo. 

It follows Sophie, who is feverishly anxious and working hard to be happy in her own skin – if only life wouldn’t make that so hard. Deep in Essex and her own thoughts, Sophie had a feeling something was going to happen, and then it did! Sara will be talking about her book and her writing and the interview will be followed by a Q and A.

The event will be followed by a book signing.

‘Funny, sad, engaging, Pascoe nails everything that confronts women today.’ Stylist

Ibibio Sound Machine

Pull the Rope, the new record by Ibibio Sound Machine, casts the Eno Williams and Max Grunhard-led outfit in a new light.The hope, joy, and sexiness of their music remains, but, further honing the edge of their acclaimed 2022 album Electricity, the connection they aim to foster has shifted venues, from the sunny buoyancy of a sunlit festival to a sweat-soaked, all-night dance club. The atmosphere has changed, but you’re still having the time of your life.

Williams and Grunhard attribute this shift to a matter of collaborators, recording Pull the Rope with Sheffield-based producer Ross Orton (Arctic Monkeys, M.I.A.) over the course of two weeks. The way the pair wrote songs changed significantly — rather than Eno penning lyrics to music generated by Max and company’s jamming, Orton started with Eno and Max writing together before adding the band. With less time in the studio and a new way of considering how they built songs, the duo found making decisions about Pull the Rope’s sound quicker and more instinctually than before.

In melding their songwriting process, Grunhard and Williams have, impossibly, pulled the trick of making Ibibio Sound Machine a tighter band than ever before, building out from their core in a way that highlights the electrifying  group of musicians they play with. Rather than recording with the full band in the room, Pull the Rope was sculpted, elements added and shaped by Grunhard, Williams, and Orton along the way. As a result, Pull the Rope is a nimble, sleek machine that’s thrilling from the first note of the opening title track, Eno’s otherworldly voice and PK Ambrose’s throbbing bass driving through a kaleidoscopic array of house, post-punk, funk, Afrobeat and disco, bangers and ballads, making an argument for unity that begins on the dancefloor.

The sound of Pull the Rope, then, is hope in darkness, bliss in spite of bleakness. Once again, Ibibio Sound Machine are here to provide the soundtrack to the best night of your life, and the better world to come.

Katherine Priddy

Since emerging with her debut EP Wolf, UK singer-songwriter Katherine Priddy has quickly become one of the most exciting names on the British music scene.

Priddy’s haunting vocals and distinctive finger-picking guitar style have already seen her sell out a headline tour, perform at prestigious festivals around the UK and abroad, including Glastonbury where she featured on their BBC 2 coverage.

She has supported a number of world class artistsincluding Richard Thompson, Loudon Wainwright III and Vashti Bunyan, as well as a recent show with Guy Garvey at The Roundhouse. She also recently featured on a Double LP of Nick Drake coversreleased by Chrysalis Records with other artists such as Self Esteem, Aldous Harding and John Grant.

Her debut album, The Eternal Rocks Beneath was released in June 2021 to great acclaim. The album singles received 200+ plays across national radio including BBC Radio 6 Music and BBC Radio 2 and reached No.1 in the Official UK Folk Charts. Now, early 2024 sees the release of Priddy’s eagerly-awaited second album,The Pendulum Swing,on February 16th, via Cooking Vinyl. The LP explores themes of home, family, love and memory, as Priddy seeks to move forwards whilst acknowledging and honouring all that has gone before.

Her live performances are engaging, moving and amusing by turn, delivering original songs with emotional maturity, depth and particularly noteworthy lyrics. Despite the delicate nuances of her sound, Katherine Priddy is not a fragile wallflower, but a determined young woman making her mark.

Utterly brilliantone of my favourite voices in contemporary music– Guy Garvey, BBC 6 Music

An accomplished set of original songs delivered in a breathtaking voiceThe Observer

A voice of delicacy and poignancy with its own subtle strength underpinned by a skilled observer’s eye” –Mark Radcliffe, BBC Radio 2

Revolucion to Roxy, Phil Manzanera In Conversation

Phil Manzanera, one of the UK’s best-known musicians and record producers, having shot to prominence in the early ‘70’s as the lead guitarist with the seminal band, Roxy Music, has written his memoir, titled ‘Revólución to Roxy’.

He joins us in conversation with Joe Nawaz to discuss his new book, his family history and musical adventures.

The book, with over 100  colour and black and white photographs, does, of course, cover Manzanera’s life and times with Roxy Music, David Gilmour and many of the luminaries of popular music, but it’s his startling family history, dating back to the expulsion of the Sephardic Jews from Spain in 1492, via the 1959 revolution in Cuba and the discovery of a Neapolitan Opera musician grandfather, that grips the reader every bit as the tales of being part of one of the UK’s greatest bands.

Phil commented on the reason for writing the book:  “I’ve written this memoir for my English and Colombian family, dear friends and music fans, who have followed my musical twists and turns for over half a century.  It’s a memoir that spans my 50’s childhood in Cuba, Hawaii and Venezuela, when everything seemed in the brightest technicolor, to monochrome but very cool ‘60’s London and the start of a music career that continues to enrich my life.
Roxy Music is an important part of the story but I hope the reader will find my family history every bit as fascinating as my music adventures:  I’m proud to be related to the most famous 17th century Sephardic Jewish pirate of the Caribbean, a British spy and an Italian opera musician.”

Books will be on sale from No Alibi’s after the talk.

My Darling Clementine

A labour of love on multiple levels, My Darling Clementine – the sobriquet of spouses Michael Weston King and Lou Dalgleish – began as a homage to classic country duets of the 60’s and 70’s á la George & Tammy and Johnny & June.

The 2011 debut “How Do You Plead?” was produced by Neil Brockbank (Nick Lowe) and featured some of London’s finest musicians from the 70’s pub rock era. Released in 2011, it was immediately acclaimed on both sides of the Atlantic. Country Music People called it; The greatest British country record ever made

The follow-up, The Reconciliation, featuring guest appearances from Kinky Freidman and The Brodsky Quartet only enhanced the bands growing reputation and received a similar critical response with the New York Daily News choosing it as ‘album of the month’ while Popmatters put it in their Top 10 Country Albums of 2013.

Their next move was a slight departure as they the collaborated with best-selling crime writer, and avowed country music fan, Mark Billingham on the story and song project The Other Half.Billingham wrote a dark, nourish tale of murder, lust and revenge around eight of King & Dalgleish songs. The Other Half became an album, an audio book, and a stage show and featured contributions from actor David Morrisey and singer songwriter Graham Parker

After 18 months of touring The Other Half, including a run at The Edinburgh Festival Michael and Lou returned to the studio for album no. 4.Re-uniting with producer Neil Brockbank,Still Testifying was released in the summer 2017. Stylistically, it was a further shifting away from classic country to embrace gospel and country soul and was widely acclaimed with many writers praising the new direction.

Their latest album is called “Country Darkness” – a collaboration with keyboard genius Steve Nieve (The Attractions / The Imposters), which sees them reinterpreting the country songs of Elvis Costello. Released in November 2020 it charted in both the UK and European Americana charts receiving unanimous praise along the way

During the past 9 years they have played over 800 shows around the world, won numerous awards and have more than earned their own bona fides, with their wry yet heart-on-sleeve song-craft spotlighting the vagaries of romance and the human condition, and their match-made-in-heaven harmonies

King and Dalgleish have earned their place in the roll call of great country duettists” – UNCUT

“MDC mix country gloom with excellent musicianship and very fine songs.” The Guardian

“King and Dalgleish have re-invented the country duet” – The mingling of these two voices is just heavenly” Mojo

“One of the most exquisitely pained country albums of the year comes from England” New York Daily News

Marian Keyes In Conversation with Tara Flynn

Marian Keyes is a phenomenon. The multimillion copy, internationally bestselling author of some of the most widely loved, genre-defying novels of the past thirty years – including Rachel’s Holiday, Anybody Out There and Grown Ups – has millions of devoted readers around the world.

My Favourite Mistake is her sixteenth novel. In addition to her fifteen previous novels, Marian has also written three collections of journalism, upon which popular BBC Radio 4 show Between Ourselves was based.

Marian co-hosts the hit podcast Now You’re Asking with actress Tara Flynn for BBC Sounds and Radio 4, now on its third series. In 2022, she was named the British Book Awards Author of the Year.  Marian lives in Dublin.

In today’s event, Marian will be interviewed on stage by her Now You’re Talking Co-host Tara Flynn.

Please note – Marian is unable to sign books at this event. 

Niall McCabe

With self-effacing humour and stories told of growing up on a remote Irish Island Niall McCabe possess an effortless charm which both captivates and liberates his audience.

Like the wild Atlantic landscape of his home McCabe’s songs feel timeless and natural yet belie the dense shaping of a dynamic creative force. Deft, intricate guitar work brings a lightness to the weight of Island isolation yet the sound, soul and stories of McCabe’s life and experiences breathe a deep cultured sense of discernment through his vocals.

His natural distinct voice is earning him a growing loyal fanbase, discovering his music as he travels extensively, with his recent album tour schedule bringing him to venture off the Island, across Ireland, UK, Europe and North America.

As well as becoming an accomplished finger-style guitar player, Niall has been lending his unique voice to Irish trad-fusion band Beoga, touring Ireland, Europe and the USA while also playing support for Ed Sheeran, Foy Vance and Johnny Swim and more recently opening for Chris Issak on his UK Tour, to two sold out audiences at Eventim Apollo London and Wolverhampton Civic Halls.

McCabe’s eagerly anticipated ‘Rituals’ album was released in February 2023 to critical acclaim and featured as RTE Album of the Week, while the song Rituals topped the RTE Radio airplay charts for five consecutive weeks.

Jane Weaver

Reclaiming her universe, Jane Weaver returns with brand new single ‘Love In Constant Spectacle’, evoking spectacular images perhaps impossible to capture with the human eye, nor aperture.

Taking measured steps that lead you to something very special, our protagonist pours all her creative resources before the needle drops. Secretly, this might be more conceptual in its execution, than initially meets the eye.

“It’s about searching for joy, wanting to love and feel loved, then uncovering it in unusual places and in the smallest, hidden things in life. Magnified under rocks and stones, it explores connecting with nature and your surroundings as opposed to other people – focusing on autonomy, new beginnings and feeling bewitched” adds Jane Weaver.

This is the poetic vision of one woman only, turning a new chapter, erecting a new scaffold, drawing empty landscapes as we slowly watch new colours, codes shapes and languages fill the frame. Produced by John Parish (PJ Harvey, Dry Cleaning), this is evidently a new awakening.

Accompanied by a new video animated by Kamran Kaur she describes “The woman here is always moving forward in pursuit of something but constantly finding herself succumbing to nature’s spell. Nature leads her back to herself, as that which she was searching for was there all along.”

From a long-standing pillar of the UK’s independent pop landscape, this is Jane Weaver’s first single since her unanimously lorded top 40 album ‘Flock’ and one-off single ‘Oblique Fantasy’.

“Genuinely different and exhilarating”★★★★ The Guardian

Jane Weaver continues to enrapture and expand her legacy into 2024 with a freshly announced tour… and more new music imminently.

Grace Petrie: Build Something Better Tour

It’s two years since CONNECTIVITY (2021) smashed into the top 40 and debuted at #1 in the UK download chart, propelling the fiercely independent voice of GRACE PETRIE from critics’ choice to the main stages of major festivals across Britain, Australia and Canada.

For a seasoned road dog who spent almost 15 years clocking up tours with the likes of Billy Bragg, Frank Turner and Hannah Gadsby, the COVID lockdowns were like a cage for Petrie and when restrictions lifted, she hit the road harder than ever, armed with her most searing and successful record to date, and determined to make up for lost time.

Sell-out headline tours across the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand followed, with audiences from Melbourne to Toronto mesmerised by the ferocity of her socially urgent lyricism and the barnstorming power of her live show. But travelling the globe hasn’t diminished her laser focus on the political issues plaguing the UK, with two more Prime Ministers, endless blunders and evermore division seen since she last swapped microphone for pen and paper.

Now the songwriter is back – stronger, older and a whole lot angrier than ever before. As rightwing ideologues trade in suspicion and cynicism, tearing communities apart against a backdrop of crumbling public services, the ordinary folk of Britain continue to suffer the consequences of corruption and individualism.

From within this maelstrom of despair comes BUILD SOMETHING BETTER – the new, uncontainable album from Grace Petrie.

Recorded raw and unflinchingly with folk-punk legend Frank Turner in the producer’s seat, BUILD SOMETHING BETTER is a return to blistering protest form for Britain’s most relevant political songwriter, a decade after being hailed as “a powerful new voice”, (The Guardian) and “a millennial’s Billy Bragg” (Huffington Post). In a world that seems to make less sense than ever, these are songs made to both holler along to from the crowd barrier and to tear up with on a lonely light night train. A record for everyone whose broken heart beats for, and whose boots stomp in time with, the hope a brighter tomorrow.

“An effervescent charm-bomb of a performer” – The New Yorker

Acid Mothers Temple

Formed in 1995 by Makoto Kawabata at the same time as the Acid Mothers Temple Soul Collective. The group released its debut album in 1997 on PSF Records (Japan), and it was selected as one of the year’s best albums in the The Wire magazine (UK). In 1998 the group played their first tours of the US and Europe. Since then the group has released a huge number of albums on labels from many different countries. As of 2017, the group has released around 100 albums. Every year since 1998, they have toured extensively in the US and Europe, and more recently have started performing around Oceania, South America, Asia and in Japan too.
The group has performed in collaboration with many musicians including psychedelic originators Gong and Guru Guru, Damo Suzuki (ex. Can), Simeon (Silver Apples), Nik Turner (Hawkwind), Geoff Leigh (ex. Henry Cow) and the Occitanian trad sinder Rosina de Peira. Japanese collaborators have included Afrirampo, Tatsuya Yoshida (Ruins), Maso Yamazaki (Masonna), Seiichi Yamamoto (Boredoms), Jun Kuriyama (ex.The Ox), Tenniscoats and many others.

To begin with the group had a floating line-up with contributions from many members of the AMT Soul Collective. But as tours became more frequent, the group began to coalesce around a core touring line-up. Other bands were created with Acid Mothers Temple as part of their name (AMT & The Cosmic Inferno, AMT SWR, AMT & The Space Paranoid, Acid Mothers Gong, Acid Mothers Guru Guru, etc.), but AMT & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. has continued to function as the mothership and main lineage for all our activities.

In 2016, 21 years since the group’s founding, there was a major shift in the line-up and “Next Generation” was added to the name. We now view the first 20 years as chapter one in our story, and we are now turning the page to start chapter two. The current touring line-up is: Makoto Kawabata, Hiroshi Higashi, Nani Satoshima, Wolf and Jyonson Tsu since 2018.

Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. :

Kawabata Makoto : guitar, synthesizer, speed guru

Higashi Hiroshi : synthesizer, theremin, harp, fishing rod

Jyonson Tsu : vocal, guitar, bouzouki, midnight whistler

Satoshima Nani : drums, another dimension

Wolf : bass, space & time

The Henry Girls

The Henry Girls are sisters Karen, Lorna and Joleen McLaughlin from the Inishowen peninsula in Donegal. Their musical sound, described as “full bodied and powerfully dynamic”, is infused with the rich cultural heritage of their native county with a transatlantic flavour.

Their ability to interweave traditional elements with contemporary influences has gained them critical acclaim and their signature three part harmony sets them apart.

The Henry Girls tour regularly and have performed at some major festivals and venues such as Glastonbury; Celtic Connections and Milwaukee Irish Festival.

They remain deeply connected to their roots and continue to draw inspiration from the natural beauty of the area they grew up in.

Luisa Omielan: God Is A Woman – The Musical

Do you ever wish you were in the room when magic happens? In the room for when Beethoven wrote his symphonies. when Shakespeare wrote his classics, When Cher sings anything. Well now is your chance (kinda) I gave you Politics for Bitches and What Would Beyonce Do?!

Now brace yourself for my female Book of Mormon. I can’t sing or play music. But I did grow up on Sister Act 1 and 2. This is a rough and ready idea, a pitch for a musical, and you can help me develop it! It’s all about Mary Magdalene. An epic one-woman experiment.

She should be a household name’ **** (Evening Standard). 

‘She wrote the stand-up hit of the decade’ (Guardian). 

‘A trailblazer’ (Scotsman).

Aja – The Music of Steely Dan

Never has the phrase ‘back by popular demand been so apt...

Aja, taken from the classic and iconic Steely Dan album, is an 8-piece musical powerhouse of a band whose members have over 40 years’ experience in the business.

They replicate in incredible detail the original recordings of the legendary Steely Dan.  Aja have been performing these classic songs for 15 years and have grown accustomed to packed houses of music lovers of all ages and genres.

Original guitar, brass, keyboard solos and vocal harmonies are as true as can be to the original album recordings.  Their 2-hour set generally consists of the entire Aja album in the first half and is a sight and sound to behold.

Aja are: Gerard Farrelly – Keyboards, Alan Cunningham – Drums and Percussion, Colm Lindsey – Guitars, Mark Wilde – Saxes, Serge Stavilla – Saxes, Tommy Moore – Bass and Vocals, Sinead Stone – Vocals, John Graham – Lead Vocals.

Historic Pubs of the Cathedral Quarter

Take a leisurely stroll on a Sunday afternoon to find out a little more about some of the historic pubs of the Cathedral Quarter area of Belfast.

Each pub, from Kelly’s Cellars to the Dirty Onion, The Duke of York to White’s Tavern, and The Morning Star to McHugh’s has fascinating tales and links to our city’s history that will be teased out. You’ll learn why several establishments claim the city’s ‘oldest pub’ title, which of them is in fact the oldest tavern, and what precisely the ‘oldest’ claims of some of the others relate to!

Exploring the oldest part of Belfast town before it became a city in 1888, you’ll hear about early merchants and importers, where secret societies met, the pick-up points for mail coaches, old jails, former whiskey warehouses, newspapers of long ago, and more.

The tour will start from outside Kelly’s Cellars at 2.00pm. The tour will end at 3.30pm outside McHugh’s, where you may choose to stay on to enjoy a drink or coffee and perhaps an afternoon traditional music session.

The tour will cover up to 1.5 miles and will take place whatever the weather, so please come prepared. No refreshments are included as part of the tour ticket.

The Sailortown Sessions feat. King Cedar, Ferna & Ciaran Lavery


Due to illness King Cedar won’t be well enough to perform on Sunday.  Wilfie will perform instead.


(MC Joe Lindsay plus spoken word)

Today’s show is the launch of The Sailortown Sessions ‘In the Round’ on the 1st Sunday of every month. 

On a mission to amplify quiet sentiments and shift focus to background characters, ferna delivers a remarkable sound that merges the organic and the electronic, filled with mixed emotions, fragile beauty and powerful hooks.

The musical alias of composer & singer-songwriter Hannah McPhillimy, ferna took home the NI Music Prize for Single of the year 2022 for her first official release Wasting and has already performed alongside Saint Sister, JC Stewart and Foy Vance.

Her debut album understudy was released in May 2023 to a packed-out Belfast Empire Music Hall and has received multiple rave reviews including four stars in The Irish Times.

‘10 songs that blend indie sensibilities, confident pop music and tender folksiness.’ – THE IRISH TIMES *****

‘Understudy is nothing less than a hugely impressive debut album…as Ferna, Hannah McPhillimy is now displaying the confidence & poise of a bona fide star.’ – THE IRISH NEWS

Ciaran Lavery 
Ciaran Lavery is an Irish award winning & multi-nominated singer-songwriter and musician that has released four albums with over 150 million streams to date.  He is currently signed to Nettwerk Music Group and has previously released music with All Points Records (formally Believe Records) and Kartel Music Group.

Lavery’s music has been nominated four times at the NI Music Prize, winning album of the year in 2016, as well as being nominated for the Hot Press Magazine ‘album of the year’ and ‘single of the year’.  Previously, he has been named as the Hot Press magazine ‘One to Watch’.

He has toured extensively worldwide, with performances at festivals such as Glastonbury, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, Zermatt Unplugged, SXSW, M for Montreal, with a particular highlight of being handpicked to play Willie Nelson’s Luck Reunion Festival in Texas.

Super talented’ – CLIVE ANDERSON

The sound of a songwriter that is very comfortable in his own skin.’ – ZANE LOWE



‘Wilfie’s song writing and sense of melody makes you stop and pay attention. Add to that a voice that sounds like he’s been walking the road for a 1,000 years, it makes for an intoxicating combination’.  Alistar McMillan – U2
Hailing from Belfast, Wilfie has been around a corner or two bringing his music to faithful fans. The last three years have seen him release two EPs and his first full album, MINERS GOLD, produced by Gareth Dunlop. Having already performed in the Legendary Bluebird Cafe, Nashville, on the Music City Roots show, and played to packed houses throughout Ireland and Europe, he continues bringing his own brand of music and his gravelly voice invariably earns him comparisons with the late Joe Cocker.

Mark Watson: Search

Mark Watson’s 12-year-old son has just got a phone. His 70-year-old dad has been through the most frightening experience of his life. Both a dad and a kid himself, around the midpoint of his life, the Taskmaster star and multiple award-winner – now also famous as one-third of YouTube cult sensation No More Jockeys – returns.

He’ll consider the search for meaning that we’re all on, with or without Google. There’ll be a lot of jokes, and a show that’s different every night.

‘A genius-level comic doing what he does best… it’s magical to watch and just so funny’  ★★★★★ Time Out Melbourne 

‘Quite unlike anything else I’ve seen in almost 20 years of covering the Fringe…witty, warm, perfectly judged’ ★★★★★ Telegraph

‘An hour or two of our limited span on Earth in his uplifting, witty company is time excellently spent’ ★★★★ ½ Chortle

‘A master at letting us in on his vulnerability’ ★★★★ The Times

‘This is a stand-up operating at the very top of his game’ ★★★★ Independent

‘Feeling Good’: Victoria Geelan Sings the Songs of Nina Simone

Victoria and her band of superlative musicians perform a carefully-selected set of songs made famous by the ‘High Priestess of Soul’, Nina Simone. An award-winning artist, Victoria is best known for her passionate and powerful vocals, evinced by her most recent album, 2020’s Sophisticated Lady.

Victoria is complimented by the supremely talented pianist and composer Dr. Neil Burns, himself a classically-trained, genre-defying musician. The band is completed by in-demand virtuoso players Rohan Armstrong (double bass) and Andrew McCoubrey (drums) who, together, capture how exceptionally affecting this music is live, moving effortlessly through Jazz, Gospel, Blues, Soul, Classical, Folk and beyond.

Interweaving Nina Simone’s life story from classical pianist to ‘Freedom Singer’, Victoria celebrates and interprets how she used music to profoundly connect with her audiences, offering community and comfort to those fighting for their basic rights. Come and enjoy a musical celebration of an extraordinary life lived in song.


Niamh O’Reilly is still a ‘fridget’ – she’s never been kissed – and at 14, she’d want to hurry up.

Tonight at the local teenage disco, her friends are on a mission to change that – whether she wants to or not. Set in Dublin in 2007, Niamh takes you on her journey through the “innocence and discovery and fun – and mortification and terror” (★★★★, Irish Times) of Irish adolescence.

Fresh off a successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2023 and winner of Bewley’s Little Gem Award at the Dublin Fringe Festival 2022, Frigid is a coming of age comedy about frenemies, first times and figuring it out.

Written and performed by Rosa Bowden with live DJ Ciarán Gallagher and directed by Hildegard Ryan.

Tickets: 1.00pm – £10.00 (Including Lunch), 8.00pm – £10.00

‘A funny, nostalgic ode to teenage girlhood and all its awkwardness” ★★★★★The Student

‘An amazing comedy, with heart wrenching and tender moments’ ★★★★★

‘A one woman performance of utter charm’ ★★★★The Arts Review

‘Packed with jokes, great storytelling, and a healthy dose of nostalgia’ ★★★★The Independent

‘A sharp picture of Dublin teen life’ Irish Independent

‘A blisteringly witty show’ Euronews

‘A first-class performance’ Fest Mag

Donal Ryan in Conversation

OTL is delighted to welcome Donal Ryan to the festival to talk about his work. Show includes Lunch.

Donal Ryan’s work has been published in over 20 languages to major critical acclaim.

The Spinning Heart won the Guardian First Book Award, the EU Prize for Literature and Book of the Year at the Irish Book Awards; it was shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, long-listed for the Man Booker Prize and the Desmond Elliott Prize, and was voted ‘Irish Book of the Decade’. His fourth novel, From a Low and Quiet Sea, was longl-isted for the Man Booker Prize, shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award 2018, and won the Jean Monnet Prize for European Literature.

His novel, Strange Flowers, was voted Novel of the Year at the Irish Book Awards, and was a number one bestseller.

His seventh book, The Queen of Dirt Island, was published by Doubleday in August 2022 and was an instant number one bestseller.It is an uplifting celebration of fierce, loyal family love and the powerful stories that last generations.

‘A life-enhancing talent’ – Sebastian Barry

Selena Mersey: Madonna/Whore

Musical comedian and professional overthinker Selena Mersey is in a long-term relationship for the first time in her life. Unfortunately, she’s also been reading about Freud. Can Selena’s straight-passing relationship survive the weight of anxiety, progressive politics, and an incredibly impactful psychology A Level?

Presenting Madonna/Whore: a filthy, Freudian, feminist odyssey into the desire to be both and neither a mother and a slut. After a sellout run at Brighton Fringe, Mersey returns with a souped-up redux of the psychodynamic sensation, featuring songs, stand-up, burlesque, and a live birth. Let this shambolic chanteuse enchant you out of your Freudian slip and show you what relationship counselling really looks like. Sex dolls go free.

WINNER: Lamb Queer Comedy Award 2023 | WINNER: Brighton Seagull ‘Best Concept’ 2023

“Heartfelt and hilarious […] Mersey is a star of the Fringe”★★★★★ (The Reviews Hub)

“She will dazzle and charm you” ★★★★ (Broadway Baby)

“A welcome jolt” (Bruce Dessau, Beyond The Joke)

Musical Comedy Awards finalist 2023 | Burlesque Idol semi-finalist 2022 3 million views on TikTok

The Swingtime Starlets

The Swingtime Starlets are an all-professional close harmony trio, who perform songs from the 40’s Wartime Era, Hollywood’s Golden Age and Retro Pop!

Get your toes tapping, your sweetheart swaying, your jitterbug jiving and become entranced in the romance as this dynamic trio transport you through the eras of Swing, Jazz and Blues.

Let their renditions of the Great American Songbook and Hollywood’s Golden Era transport you through the years with their beguiling voices, close harmonies & vintage style!

Ania Magliano: I Can’t Believe You’ve Done This

Nominated: Best Show – Edinburgh Comedy Awards 2023

To the hairdresser at [redacted] Salon: You can take my money. You can take my dignity. You can take too much off the ends. But you cannot take my right to talk about it on stage. This is a show about the worst haircut of Ania Magliano’s life. Winner of Best New Show at Leicester Comedy Festival 2022, Ania sold-out both runs of her critically acclaimed shows at the 2022 and 2023 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Her second show ‘I Can’t Believe You’ve Done This’ was ranked #1 in Time Out’s The 11 best comedy shows at Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2023 list.

Ania has previously supported Marc Maron, Cat Cohen and Ed Gamble on tour, and writes for Amelia Dimoldenberg’s Chicken Shop Date.

‘Will have you crying with laughter’ ★★★★ Guardian

★★★★ Times

★★★★ Time Out


John Francis Flynn

John Francis Flynn will release a new album Look Over the Wall, See the Sky on Nov. 10th, following on from his critically acclaimed debut album and accompanying live performances.

Look Over the Wall, See the Sky picks up where I Would Not Live Always left off. John masterfully unpicks traditional songs and rearranges them with an emotional force. They float in a surreal space between the past and the present, the analog and the digital, between love and tragedy.

The unconventional use of instruments and jagged arrangements gives the work a magnetism by drawing you into its curious orbit of experimental folk. Look Over The Wall, See The Sky is a re-imagining of traditional Irish music: powerful, hopeful and free.

John Francis Flynn is a singer and multi-instrumentalist who creates contemporary music using traditional and folk material. His debut album I Would Not Live Always was released on Rough Trade imprint River Lea Records in 2020, earning rave reviews and winning 2 awards at the RTE Folk Awards.

‘I Would Not Live Always offers a singular and striking clarity of vision.’ **** UNCUT

‘John Francis Flynn’s ‘My Son Tim’ Is An Extraordinary Piece Of Music’ CLASH

‘like a threatening thunderhead perforated with golden shafts of sunlight: lysergic synth lines, intermittent bursts of overdriven guitar, a clarinet saturated in tape delay and a treated tin whistle disrupt the atmosphere of these old songs without ever diminishing their power.’ **** THE GUARDIAN

Mary Dillon, Dónal O’Connor & Neil Martin

“When three traditional music comets collide, sparks will surely follow”

Together, Mary Dillon, Dónal O’Connor, and Neil Martin create a spellbinding fusion of traditional and contemporary sounds. Their collaborative efforts promise to breathe new life into timeless Ulster songs and tunes, marrying Mary’s evocative vocals with the expressive interplay of fiddle, cello, harmonium & uilleann pipes.

This musical union is not only a celebration of Ireland’s rich musical heritage but also a testament to the enduring vitality of traditional music in the hands of these critically acclaimed and visionary artists.

Few singers are as cherished and revered as Mary DillonWith a voice as pure as crystal and as deep as a spring well this two-time All-Ireland singing champion hails from Dungiven in County Derry. The ‘voice of Déanta’, she has captivated audiences with her emotive vocals and passionate delivery for decades.

Born into a family with a strong musical tradition, Mary’s voice possesses a timeless quality that effortlessly weaves together the past and present. Her ability to interpret traditional songs with authenticity and sensitivity has garnered her a dedicated following, making her a highly respected figure in the Irish folk & traditional music scene.

Dónal O’Connor comes from a long and distinguished line of Irish fiddlers and singers and his collaborations have variously included membership of Ulaid and At First Light, Lá Lugh and RTÉ Radio 1 Folk Singer Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh’s touring ensemble.

He has established himself as one of Ireland’s leading producers and musicians, having played and recorded with the likes of John McSherry, Liam Ó Maonlaí, Duke Special, Davy Spillane, Ríoghnach Connolly, Steve Cooney, Bob Brozman & Karen Matheson to name but a few! He has composed music for theatre, television and film and has presented music shows for BBC ALBA, BBC NI, TG4, BBC Radio Ulster and Raidió na Gaeltachta.

Hailing from Belfast, Neil Martin is a highly accomplished cellist and composer who has left an indelible mark on the world of classical and traditional music in Ireland. Born with a passion for both genres, Neil’s journey has been defined by his ability to seamlessly traverse the boundaries between them, creating a unique and captivating musical identity. His work has been performed across the world from Ground Zero to Mostar Bridge and the Royal Albert Hall, as well as being played on the International Space Station.

As a producer, arranger and musician, Neil has contributed to over 100 albums and has performed in international venues, such as Carnegie Hall and Palazzo Vecchio.

Audiences can expect a rich tapestry of sound that transcends genres and resonates with the soul-stirring essence of Irish folk & traditional music.

Dave Arcari

Slide guitarist and songwriter Dave Arcari’s alt.blues sound owes as much to trash country, punk and rockabilly as it does to pre-war Delta blues and has been showcased via seven internationally-acclaimed solo album releases on labels including Buzz (UK), Dixiefrog (France) and Blue North (Finland).

After a successful Kickstarter campaign his latest album Devil May Care is set for release on red vinyl in November 2023.

A top three finalist in UK Blues Federation’s UK Blues Awards 2023 Arcari’s music features in numerous BBC TV programmes as well as  popular USA series The Deadliest Catch. While continuing to build his audience in the USA with annual tours since 2013 – including official showcases at SxSW in Austin, Texas – Arcari maintains his presence on the UK and European touring and festival circuits with regular live shows throughout the year.

The ultimate validation for Arcari’s music and performance came in 2019 when National Reso-Phonic Guitars launched the ‘Dave Arcari signature model’ guitar. Arcari joins an elite and exclusive group of players who have signature models and is the first – and only – musician outside the USA to be honoured by the iconic instrument maker whose name is synonymous with the development of the blues genre.

Beyond Skin 20

‘We invite you to join us as we celebrate our 20th birthday with a kaleidoscopic casserole of music, art, dance, food, comedy and conversation reflecting over two decades of making and creating a difference in Northern Ireland and across the world with our global neighbours. Expect some surprise guests. Fabulous prizes to be won!’ – Beyond Skin

All ages welcome.


Northern Irish / Dutch duo Fräulein are one of the most exciting new live acts on the circuit. Cathartic 90’s flavoured alt-rock influenced by the likes of The Breeders, PJ Harvey and Big Thief, whilst incorporating cavernous grooves and sharply observational lyrics. 

The band’s early singles such as ‘Pretty People’, ‘Belly’ and ‘By The Water’ were championed by the likes of Spotify, CLASH, DIY Magazine, The Line Of Best Fit, KEXP, BBC Radio 1 & 6 Music.

The latest release ‘The Last Drop’ hears the fearsome pair double down on their shoegazed, grunge aesthetic which was deftly showcased earlier this year via their ‘Pedestal’ EP. Fräulein gathered top support from the likes of Clash, DIY Mag, The Line Of Best Fit, So Young, The Independent, Gigwise, Loud & Quiet, Radio 1 & 6 Music,all shining a light on the band.

Over 2023 the band toured with ARXX, Be Your Own Pet, Big Joanie and NovaTwins as well as their own debut headline tour – watch out for the debut album coming soon.

Smoove & Turrell DJ/PA Set

Superfly Funk & Soul Belfast are delighted to welcome Smoove & Turrell back to Belfast for rip-snorting DJ Set.

Smoove had met keyboardist Mike Porter through the local music scene in Newcastle and recruited him for his ‘Smoove Live’ project for the label Acid Jazz. Around Mike’s house one day they overheard a neighbour singing sublime melodies in his garage with friends which turned out to be none other than a young John Turrell practicing in a band called ‘The Stevies’. After a couple of further sessions ‘scouting’ him they finally knocked on the door and had a chat and hit it off straight away.

A man of many facets, John Turrell was a skilled carpenter, working and teaching the trade to apprentices at a local college as well as his musical endeavours. After the trio performed several gigs together with various other guest musicians it was agreed they would create some new material and so they started to write and arrange a clutch of tracks that Smoove would record and produce.

As always though with Smoove & Turrell the highs and the lows of life are represented and the hard times realism of some of the lyrics is tempered by the irrepressible dancefloor euphoria of others.

2018 saw the Georgie soul crew return with a stunning fifth album Mount Pleasant, after the success of Crown Posada, which gave the band multiple BBC Radio 2 playlists and 6 music spins.2019 then saw the band celebrating 10 years in the business with the release of “Solid Brass – 10 Years of Northern Funk” a retrospective of the biggest tracks from their blistering live shows with the added bonus of two new tracks – “I’m A Man” and “Give It Back”. A sell out Solid Brass tour saw them delivering a set of strictly the hits to rapturous reception.

The band returned in 2020 with “Stratos Bleu” their 6th studio album which went to No1 in the official U.K Dance Chart! Keyboard player Mike Porter’s collection of analogue synths came to the fore on the new album with a nod to the heady days of early 90’s clubbing which may be a surprise to some but in the context of this band as dancefloor favourites makes perfect sense.

The Magic of Terry Pratchett

Join author and comedian Marc Burrows on a journey through the life and work of Sir Terry Pratchett, based on his Locus Award-winning biography and officially endorsed by the author’s estate.

Explore Pratchett’s life, influences, impact, wit and wisdom, from his days as a school librarian to his time as a trainee journalist to his untimely death from Alzheimers in 2015.

Celebrate the 40th anniversary of Discworld and discover the joy, anger, and delicious cock‘n’ bull stories of one of the greatest storytellers of all time. Warning: includes bad puns and unnecessary footnotes.

“Burrows does a fantastic job of navigating both the super-fan and the novice through the story of Pratchett’s life, work and legacy. He also explores the impact of good storytelling, and how Pratchett – as a genius storyteller – used that to good effect. As does Burrows in this show.”
★★★★★ Three Weeks

“Funny, clever and profound, The Magic of Terry Pratchett is a strong and intelligent show for fans of fantasy, puns and good stories. Unmissable.”
★★★★★ Starburst Magazine

“The Magic of Terry Pratchett is a slam dunk must for any reader of Pratchett. Furthermore, you can and should bring your non-Pratchett-savvy friends. The show is surprisingly poignant, with difficult subjects tackled with sensitivity and controversial choices made for, I think, the better.”
★★★★★ (4.8) Edinburgh Reviews

Remembering Mairtin

For over 20 years until his untimely death in January 2004, Mairtin Crawford was at the centre of a Belfast literary culture that was passionate, provocative and politically engaged.

Lyrically gifted, his passing robbed us of a great talent who, as an editor and teacher, was also a great nurturer of talent in others.

Today’s event will mark Mairtin’s 20th anniversary and be an opportunity for friends to remember Mairtin in poetry and song.

Sooz Kempner: Y2K Woman

The award-winning, viral sensation returns with a brand-new hour following her sell-out 2022 run.

As the year 2000 approached, Sooz was about to turn 15 and the PlayStation 2 was about to launch… it was a new beginning for the world. But with the Millennium Bug, was the world also about to end!?

Now, almost a quarter of a century later, things feel eerily similar… New millennium, video games, Alanis Morissette… a show for anyone who remembers the year 2000 or had big dreams as a kid.

‘Kempner has funny bones’ **** (Scotsman). 

‘Brilliant’ (LA Times).

Classics for Lunch with The Ulster Orchestra

Mozart String Quartet No.23 Prussian

Elgar Sea Pictures

Danish trad. Peat Dance

Musicians from the Ulster Orchestra’s string section are joined by mezzo soprano Cicely Hé for a programme with emotional warmth and good humour – just what’s needed to transform a Tuesday lunchtime into something very special.

Mozart’s String Quartet No. 23 is full of wit, charm and almost operatic verve, it gives each instrument its time in the spotlight and it is famous for its strange silences and dissonance in the last movement, which invoke a premonition of an unknown future.

Elgar’s Sea Pictures tell an epic emotional story with the assurance that throughout life’s storms – and whatever lies ahead in that unknown future – love will win through. The composer specifically selected five poems written in response to the ocean, including one by his wife Alice, to inspire his ravishing and expressive writing.

The programme finishes with a Nordic ‘Peat Dance’, which is a type of Danish reel where men traditionally danced around pieces of peat. It is full of energy and originates from the Roskilde area of Denmark and nowadays, it is more common to see folks dance the ‘peat dance’ around their dance partners rather than turf… what better way to send you ‘reeling’ out into the afternoon?!

Hung Up on a Dream – The Zombies (Irish premiere)

In their first-ever feature documentary nearly sixty years after they met as teenagers before the British Invasion music scene, THE ZOMBIES tell their story of navigating the tumultuous music industry over the decades and making one of the most influential albums of all time, Odessey and Oracle. “She’s Not There” made them the first British band after The Beatles to reach #1 in the US.

After years of touring and many missteps in the 60s, sadly the band missed out on their biggest moment yet, when “Time of the Season” hit #1 and became a global success, inspiring new generations each year. The band looks back on their journey, where true friendship led them to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Dir. Robert Schwartzman, US, 2023, 116 mins


Bluegrass for Lunch feat. The Broken String Band

For 20 years, the Broken String Band have been our leading purveyors of great bluegrass, roots and string band music.

Local musicians Michael Ashe (banjo and vocals), Ivan Muirhead (guitar and vocals), Philip Steele (bass and vocals), John Fitzpatrick (fiddle) and Adrian Muirhead (mandolin) all play with a totally infectious  energy, enthusiasm and feeling.

The band have played at many major events and festivals, in Belfast and beyond, from private parties to ‘The One Show’. An eclectic repertoire – from Doc Watson to Aerosmith – keeps ears interested and feet tapping. An unmissable afternoon of great food and quality music.

Tenx9: In the Beginning

Tenx9 is teaming up with Out to Lunch Festival again for our first event of 2024 and our theme is In the Beginning.

Get in touch with your true stories at and join us in the Black Box on January 17 2024.

Tenx9 is a storytelling evening where nine people have up to ten minutes each to tell a true story from their own life. It was created in 2011 by Pádraig Ó Tuama & Paul Doran in the Black Box in Belfast. It aims to strip away the barriers that prevent people from sharing their experiences. It is always free of charge.

First come, first served!

Classic Country for Lunch featuring The Boondocks

Featuring Anthony Toner, Mark Crockard and Marcus McAuley.

Hank Williams, Glen Campbell, Don Gibson, Kris Kristofferson, Gram Parsons, Willie Nelson…

I’m so Lonesome I could Cry, Galveston, Sea of Heartbreak, Love Hurts, Always on my Mind, ….

Just some of the names and songs that have built the foundations of country music and the craft of great songwriting. Lyrics and music that have survived and will continue to survive because they speak to the heart.

Beautiful melodies, touching words, soaring harmonies and intricate solos are the core of great country music. Anthony Toner, Mark Crockard and Marcus McAuley have come together as ‘The Boondocks’ to play the old school country songs they love and hope you do too.

Why not join them as we go out to the Country for Lunch?

Louder Than You Think (N Irish Premiere)

(dir. Jed I. Rosenberg 2023)

Out to Lunch is thrilled to present the Irish premiere of Louder Than You Think (2023 SXSW Audience Award winner) about original Pavement drummer Gary Young.

When teenage guitarists Stephen Malkmus and Scott Kannberg approached the older Gary Young to record an album in his DIY recording studio (from which the film takes its name), Young helped them out and played drums for the recording.

Little did any of them know that the noise they made would end up defining the low-fi indie music scene for a generation. Louder Than You Think tells not only the story of Gary Young (who sadly died in August) but is a celebration of the band itself as well as a gripping rumination human frailty, creativity, and the sh*t life throws at us.

Mixing never before seen archival footage and audio with interviews and even stop-motion animation – plus marionette puppet reconstructions! – he recounts Young’s story from before, during and after Pavement. Prepare to be slanted and enchanted.

“A shattering exploration of destiny, creativity, and existence … Essential viewing.” – No Film School

Wild Child

Formed in Austin, Texas by main songwriters and lead vocalists Alexander Beggins and Kelsey Wilson, Wild Child emerged with their first album, Pillow Talk, in October 2011. The band quickly earned a reputation for spirited live shows and won multiple awards at the SXSW Festival in March of 2013.

Their second LP, October 2013’s The Runaround, featured the viral hit Crazy Bird, which led to U.S. television appearances on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and CBS This Morning.

Wild Child released their third album, Fools, in October 2015. It spent a week at number 14 on Billboard’s Heatseekers Albums chart. The following June, they drew a crowd of 25,000 at a local radio station’s outdoor music series.

Another album, Expectations, appeared in February 2018 and reached as high as number six on the Heatseekers chart as well as landing in the Top 20 of the Billboard Independent and Vinyl Albums charts.

During the five years between Expectations and their next album, End of the World, Wild Child were sidelined from touring with the rest of the music industry due to the pandemic, endured the Texas ice storm of 2021 (the inspiration for the title track) and established their own label, Reba’s Ranch Records.

End of the World arrived on the label in March 2023 and has been met with widespread critical acclaim. A live act not to be missed.


Got the January Blues?

Where else to come down after the rampant joys of late-capitalist consumer Christmas with an evening of hard-sell commercials?

Infomercials is a legendary, hilarious series of specials that aired on Adult Swim. Unlike actual infomercials, all Infomercials specials are factual and actually promote real products. For the most part, there’s no continuity between these specials.

Watch… A hot young tech wizard, Alan Resnick, takes you through his 4-step program for creating your own digital avatar. He shares his personal experiences of popularity, immortality, and having it all.

Check out…Icelandic Ultra Blue – Learn about a revolutionary new drug (not to mention Nazi gold and chest rashes) in this informative infomercial.

Inventor Kent Ross introduces his newest dietary supplement that increases muscle growth, sex drive and intelligence — in dogs!

Just some of the products on offer…

With added ‘Too many Cooks’ and some ‘Unedited Footage of a Bear’.

The Scott Flanigan Trio plays The Beatles

From the mid-1960s until the present day, the Beatles have held a fascination for jazz musicians, with jazz greats such as Count Basie, Herbie Hancock and Brad Mehldau all recording numerous songs by the Fab Four.

Belfast pianist Scott Flanigan continued this tradition in 2022 with a special one-off concert celebrating 60 years since the Beatles’ debut single, Love Me Do.

Scott is delighted to bring this concert to the Out to Lunch Festival, and has arranged an hour of great music by the Beatles for a piano trio, focusing on some of the well-known classics but the lesser-known songs as well. Scott will be joined by Andrew McCoubrey on drums and Rohan Armstrong on bass.

A Belfast native, Scott Flanigan is one of the foremost keyboard players on the Irish jazz scene. He performs regularly across the United Kingdom, Ireland, France and Germany, and has recently performed with Van Morrison, the Ulster Orchestra, Larry Coryell, Jean Toussaint, Jim Mullen and Linley Hamilton.

As a leader, Scott successfully tours his own contemporary piano trio, as well as a hard-swinging organ quartet and runs the popular Scott’s Jazz Club, an internationally-recognised jazz club in East Belfast bringing the best in national and international jazz to local audiences.

Scott is also in demand as a teacher of jazz harmony, improvisation and concert preparation, lecturing in jazz piano at Cork School of Music, Dublin City University and at Queens University Belfast, alongside a busy teaching schedule both online and at home in Belfast.

Mud Morganfield Band

Over the last few years, Mud Morganfield, eldest son of the undisputed king of the Blues Muddy Waters, has been delivering his charismatic Chicago blues of the highest order to audiences around the world.

Stunned audiences from Russia, Sweden, Australia, Denmark, Brazil, Argentina, Denmark Spain, Mexico and the UK have experienced the Mud effect. He looks and sounds strikingly like his old man, so much so the one of his dad’s former sidemen said “It’s like watching a ghost in the flesh!” Mud, however also has his own very individual mojo working and will be coming to the UK & Europe to tour with the UK’s very own top blues talent.

This son and proud heir of the King of Chicago blues is blessed with a big and powerful voice that can manage to convey deep emotional resonance on the slow numbers and good old fashioned testosterone laden strut on those classic shuffles.

He’s also blessed with a natural sense of showmanship that ensures that audiences fall right into the palm of his hand. He mixes up the sets with his dad’s classic songs and his own original material. As Mud puts it “I started to sing to show the world that dad left me here. I love and am proud to sing his songs just like I love and will always be proud of him. I’m not Muddy Waters and I’m certainly not trying to be Muddy Waters. I’m Mud Morganfield but when I’m up on stage I always feel pops is there with me and it means so much that I can get on stage and keep his music alive around the world.”

“More than a pastiche … a genuine artist who happens to sound like his daddy” – Blues and Rhythm Magazine

‘Mud Morganfield, son of the pioneering Muddy Waters, was clearly the main attraction for most London Blues Week attendees … He has a knack of communicating the most sorrowful of lyrics, while still showing his infectious excitement to be on stage. He uncannily channels his father’s prowess.’ – Editor The House that Soul Built

“All the way from Chicago, Mud Morganfield! All eyes went to the stairs from the balcony, as Mud made his triumphal entrance, got up on stage and began to sing. Instantly, you were transported back to the Electric Blues of Chicago, maybe 40 years ago and the sound, reminiscent of all the classic Electric Blues greats.” – Paul Stewart, Daily Express

Dreamgun Film Reads present: Titanic

The Titanic was the ship of dreams but it was also a nightmare ship where everyone died. Dreaming presents their parody Film Read of James Cameron’s Titanic the film based on Titanic the boat. With Gavin Drea, Stephen Colfer, Hannah Mamalis, Ronan Carey and guests!

Rewritten by Dreamgun and performed by actors and comedians who haven’t rehearsed but have seen the movie at least once. “Hilarious live read-throughs of brilliantly rewritten film classics, a joy” – Dara Ó Briain

★★★★★- “Merciless, hilarious. Consistently sharp, rapid-fire funny writing and crackling performances” – The Irish Times

★★★★★- “Kept us in stitches and potentially destroyed a host of childhood memories.” – Broadway Baby

★★★★★ – The Wee Review

★★★★★ – Rule of Three

★★★★★ -FreshAir

Tom Holland In Conversation

Tom Holland joins us to talk about his latest book ‘PAX: War and Peace in Rome’s Golden Age’. From the award-winning, bestselling historian, and co-presenter of the podcast The Rest is History.

‘Pax’ is the definitive history of Rome’s golden age, antiquity’s ultimate superpower at the pinnacle of its greatness, and the third in the epic trilogy narrating the history of the Roman Empire that began with Rubicon, continued with Dynasty, and now arrives at the period which marks the apogée of the pax Romana.

At its peak, the Roman Empire stretched from Scotland to Arabia, and contained perhaps a quarter of humanity. It was the wealthiest and most formidable state the world had yet seen.

Beginning in 69AD, a year that saw four Caesars in succession rule the empire, and ending some seven decades later with the death of Hadrian, Pax presents a dazzling history of Rome at the height of its power, covering events such as the destruction of Jerusalem and Pompeii, the building of the Colosseum and Hadrian’s Wall, and the conquests of Trajan. Vividly sketching the lives of Romans both ordinary and spectacular, from slaves to emperors, Holland demonstrates how Roman peace was the fruit of unprecedented military violence.

Tom Holland is an award-winning historian, author and broadcaster. His bestselling books include Rubicon which won the Hessell-Tiltman Prize for History; Persian Fire, which won the Anglo-Hellenic League’s Runciman Award; Millennium; In the Shadow of the Sword; Dynasty and Dominion. Holland co-hosts the hugely popular podcast, The Rest is History. In 2007, he was the winner of the Classical Association prize, awarded to ‘the individual who has done most to promote the study of the language, literature and civilisation of Ancient Greece and Rome’.

He has written and presented a number of TV documentaries for the BBC and Channel 4, on subjects ranging from religion to dinosaurs. He served two years as the Chair of the Society of Authors; as Chair of the PLR Advisory Committee and was on the committee of the Classical Association.

In The Bad Books. Vol 2

In the Bad Books – S.E.X. edition

Welcome to another edition of In The Bad Books – the evening that celebrates the worst of the printed word from the best among us – celebrities.
For this one, we’re bringing Sexy (paper)back – as we lustily grapple with some of the bluest purple prose ever committed to the page.
Exhibit A: Shire Hell by Rachel Johnson
“As he nibbles and pulls with his mouth, his hands find my bush, and with light fingers he flutters about there, as if he is a moth caught inside a lampshade. Almost screaming after five agonizingly pleasurable minutes, I make a grab, to put him, now angrily slapping against both our bellies, inside, but he holds both my arms down, and puts his tongue to my core, like a cat lapping up a dish of cream so as not to miss a single drop.”
The prosecution rests, m’lud…

This Flight Tonight: The Songs of Joni Mitchell by Zervas and Pepper

An intimate acoustic Tribute to the music of JONI MITCHELL. Featuring songs ‘California’, ‘Blue’, ‘Woodstock’ ‘Both Sides Now’, ‘Coyote’, ‘Big Yellow Taxi’, ‘A Case Of You’.

UK singer/songwriters Zervas & Pepper present what they consider to be the nucleus of Mitchell’s work, that pivotal break-out period 1968-1976 with the voice, guitar and piano front and centre.

An intimate acoustic evening that should feel like the audience is having a private listening session at Joni’s house in Laurel Canyon during the summer of love.

Zervas & Pepper are Welsh Singer/Songwriters Paul Zervas and Kathryn Pepper that have been creating and performing original music for over a decade professionally.

The duo and their recording/touring band enjoy cult success on the UK and European Folk/Americana scene and have released five critically-acclaimed studio albums and undertaken countless live headline and support tours, receiving strong national and international network radio support throughout their career and their original music garnering praise and accolades from the likes of CSN&Y legend David Crosby, BBC DJ’s Mark Radcliffe, Bob Harris, Lauren Laverne and Don Letts.

‘This Flight Tonight’ is a celebration of Joni Mitchell’s music that the duo have had in the making for many years, and now 2023 will see them finally take this show on the road for the first time. The carefully-crafted set list will feature songs from Joni’s million-selling albums such as Clouds, Ladies of the Canyon, For The Roses, Court and Spark, featuring many cuts from her 1972 landmark release ‘Blue’.

Band Line up – Kathryn Pepper – Lead Vocals/ Dulcimer/ Percussion, Paul Zervas – Acoustic Guitar, Andrew Brown – Bass Guitar, Laurie Rich/Charlie Herbert– Piano, Sam Andrews – Electric guitar/ Congas, Percussion.



We want to do Nothing

Nothing as pause and possibility.

And Possibly Protest.

We want to create a space where Nothing happens.

Curate a conversation about Nothing.

We will advertise and invite

See if anyone shows up

And then see what happens…

We are serious and playful about doing Nothing.

Nothing really matters.

Nothing will happen at the Black Box

you’d be very welcome

unless you have nothing better to do

A Daisy Chain Inc production

Opera For Lunch – Cabaret de la Boîte Noire

Northern Ireland Opera presents ‘ Cabaret de la Boîte Noire’.   After a sold-out presentation last year we return to the Black Box for another fabulous hour of glamour and sparkle, taking you into the worlds of Bernstein, Sondheim, Weill and Kander and Ebb.

Join us as part of the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival’s ‘Out To Lunch’ programme, with captivating performances featuring cabaret classics staged by Northern Ireland’s award-winning national opera company. Lunch is included in the ticket price.

Art is Long…Life is Short: An Evening of the Music of Ryuichi Sakamoto by Ruth McGinley

“As a music maker and curious explorer of the inner human experience, Sakamoto’s life and work offers the gift of limitless inspiration. Playing his music is like looking deeply into your own soul…a profound experience.”

Contemplating his mortality in 2017, Sakamoto said he wanted to make “music I won’t be ashamed to leave behind – meaningful work”. By any metric, he already had. His view of himself was perpetually in flux. He had become interested in human playing through this circuitous route of the sampler: “I discovered something new about the piano.”

The significance of this return to the piano became increasingly apparent as his career moved from youthful pop star to chameleonic mature artist; the piano became an instrument at the centre of personal freedom, rather than an archaic evolutionary stage leading to the synthesiser.

And now, what can we say, he showed us music is never really about certainty, only possibility, and in possibility there is a way to live, a positivity that Ryuichi Sakamoto never abandoned.

Derry-born Ruth McGinley is widely recognised as one of Ireland’s leading pianists. Her career has been wide-ranging and daring, collaborating with some of the most acclaimed musicians working today, and straying from the typical classical-pianist journey.

But it is perhaps the spaces between where Ruth’s interests really lie. A determination to walk her own path, Ruth’s love of music goes far beyond the classical world.

A highly sought-after collaborator, Ruth loves to cross musical boundaries and work with musicians from a diverse range of backgrounds including jazz, folk, electronic and film.

Becoming Marvellous by Cathy Carson

The story begins in 1970’s Belfast, where life for young Danielle is as troubled at home as it is on the streets.  Mistreated at home, expelled from school at fifteen and homeless at twenty, Danielle feels like she is drowning.

But there are lifeboats around her, people who will save her if only she can trust them enough to take their hand. Be prepared for a rollercoaster of emotion, a stunningly crafted script and a powerhouse performance.

About the Author
Cathy Carson is a writer and spoken word artist who combines poetry and storytelling to explore human connection and condition.  She has performed for radio, television, festivals, podcasts and theatre.  In 2022 Cathy was shortlisted for the Saboteur award for Best Spoken Word Artist and in the same year ‘ Becoming Marvellous’ won the Saboteur award for Best Spoken Word Show.

Sam Baker

Sam Baker is a lyric writer, artist, and survivor. His songs are stories of everyday people facing everyday challenges: a young Mennonite welder who finds love, a ditch digger supporting his family, a veteran grappling with post-war life, a single mother driving around with a car full of baby junk, a widower writing ‘her’ name in the sand, and a straight-haired orphan in a house full of curls. They are survivors. Like Sam.

In 1986 Sam was on a train for Machu Picchu when a bomb exploded in the carriage he was riding in. Seven died. Through a series of miracles, and the help of everyday people doing their best–his angels–he survived.

Physical recovery was hard.  Emotional recovery harder. Melody came to him–compelled him to turn an old guitar upside down so his gnarled hands could play.

Slowly, the words came–one true line–“Sitting on the train to Machu Picchu, the passenger car explodes.”  He made a record. Then another. There were glowing reviews, more records, awards in Rolling Stone; sold-out shows in Europe, Canada, and the US and songs in TV shows; and an hour with Terry Gross on Fresh Air.

Sam uses his art to tell his story–whether from a symphony in Oregon, an art gallery in Santa Fe, a large theatre in Kansas City, a small room in The Netherlands, or a song-writer retreat with soldiers. He travels the world sharing his songs, grateful for each day, helping us see the beauty in little things and hope for things to come.

Simultaneously beautiful and broken…Sam Baker is an artist worth waiting for.’ – NPR

‘The Bard of the Workaday World’ – WALL STREET JOURNAL

‘Maybe the most captivating songwriter in America.’ – LONE STAR MUSIC

Sam Baker is an island of warmth and hope in dangerous times.’ – NEON FILLER


In partnership with Out to Lunch, the 14th iteration of this popular, intimate event will be hosted by Belfast-born photographer Philip Arneill, and offers a unique opportunity to join an immersive listening experience inspired by the spirit of the incredible world of Japanese jazzkissa –coffee shops created as dedicated listening spaces for jazz records.

(Doors open at 7.00pm and close at 7.30pm so be on time please!)

Duke Special: Blood For Ghosts

Duke Special released his latest album, Blood for Ghosts, in November. This album is a unique and captivating interpretation of 10 song sheets dating back to 1850 – 1949, which were discovered in the Princess Grace Irish Library in Monaco.

Going beyond the traditional release, “Blood for Ghosts” is available as a book, complete with extended sleeve notes that delve into the journey of the songs, the recording process, and Duke’s perspective on translating these timeless pieces for a contemporary audience.

In a world where music is often undervalued, this innovative approach of presenting “the book is the album” is a significant response.

To celebrate this groundbreaking release, Out to Lunch audiences will be treated to live performances of selected tracks from Blood for Ghosts, accompanied by insightful discussions about the concept behind the album, the origins of the songs, and his creative process.

Join us for an extraordinary experience that combines music and literature, as Duke Special presents “Blood for Ghosts – The Book Is The Album.”

Jeremy Deller In Conversation ‘Art is Magic’

Jeremy Deller talks about his new publication ‘Art is Magic’

A holistic and revealing account of the inspirations, passions and practices of one of the country’s foremost contemporary artists.

In work that is playful, political and provocative, borrowing from many forms and produced over many mediums, Jeremy Deller enjoys critical acclaim in the UK and across the world.

Art is Magic is the first book in which the artist reflects on the entirety of his career, his life and his art. Published by Cheerio

About the author

Jeremy Deller studied Art History at the Courtauld Institute and at Sussex University. He won the Turner Prize in 2004 for his work Memory Bucket and represented Britain in the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013.

His projects over the past two decades, such as Battle of Orgreave (2001), We’re Here Because We’re Here (2016) as well as the documentary Everybody in the Place: An Incomplete History of Britain 1984-1992 (2019) have influenced the conventional map of contemporary art.


Alison Brown

One of the most multi-faceted minds in roots music, Alison Brown is a GRAMMY-winning musician, GRAMMY-nominated producer, former investment banker, and co-founder of The Compass Records Group which is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2023.

Although Alison began her musical career as a teenager in the Southern California bluegrass scene, she has built a reputation as one of today’s most forward thinking and innovative banjo players. She is known for taking the instrument far beyond its Appalachian roots by blending bluegrass and jazz influences into a sonic tapestry that has earned praise and recognition from a variety of national tastemakers including The Wall Street Journal, CBS Sunday Morning, NPR, and USA Today.

On her new release, aptly titled On Banjo, Alison continues her musical explorations on a set of original compositions that explore the range of the banjo.The album features an eclectic cast of collaborators including Steve Martin, Kronos Quartet, Sharon Isbin, Anat Cohen, Sierra Hull, Stuart Duncan and members of the Alison Brown Quintet.

Alison is the recipient of the USA Artists Fellowship in Music and the Distinguished Achievement Award from the International Bluegrass Music Association. In 2019, she was inducted into the American Banjo Museum Hall of Fame. Alison serves on the Board of Governors of the Recording Academy and as co-chair of the Steve Martin Banjo Prize.

“Like James Taylor’s voice or B.B. King’s guitar, Alison Brown’s banjo is an instrument possessed of a unique sonic signature and an inescapable beauty….an artist who never ceases to delight.” Billboard Magazine

“Alison Brown left a career in investment banking for a life as a banjo musician. Anyone who thinks this was a foolish move hasn’t heard her play.”The New Yorker

Brigid Mae Power

Recognised as a purveyor of dreamier pop with folky leanings, Brigid Mae Power is set to release her new album this summer.

‘Dream From The Deep Well’ is a departure; a unique marriage of traditional stylings and very modern melodies; a breathtaking soundtrack which underpins her gorgeous vocal.

“The Irish singer-songwriter flits between past and present; between traditional and modern forms; between the heaven in her voice and the earthbound epiphanies of her words.”  Pitchfork

Filled with personal tales of offspring and grandparents, the lovelorn and the lost, it’s the essence of re-imagined folk music. Brigid’s evocative vocals alongside strings, steel guitar, horns and mellotron adds to the baroque loveliness whilst waving back at her rootsy past, daubing new colours on a much-loved canvas.

Brigid’s fourth album is a new visionary beginning for the gifted songwriter and her most complete album to date. After two lauded albums for Tompkins Square, Power signed to Fire Records releasing her autobiographical, highly acclaimed album ‘Head Above The Water’ in 2020. Her last record was a coming of age opus that featured a ground-breaking amalgamation of traditional folk and country.

★★★★ Pitchfork ★★★★½ Uncut ★★★★ Mojo ★★★★ The Line Of Best Fit ★★★★ The Guardian ★★★★ Irish Times

Skilfully interpretating songs from ‘Didn’t It Rain’ (Songs: Ohia), Aretha Franklin and Patsy Cline on her 2021 EP ‘Burning Your Light’; Brigid brings hope and reverence to classic songs that unquestionably exhibit her love of the art of song writing which is perfectly illustrated. Politically primed and socially aware, the Irish musician has found power in her extraordinary voice and been able to embroider into a musical tapestry that’s melancholy and wonderfully consuming.

An Elvis Gospel Brunch

As our finale of our lunchtime shows, we’ve an extended 90 minute Elvis Gospel show and it’s going to be very special.

Before Elvis Presley was a rock and roller, he was a fan of gospel music, watching such groups as the Blackwood Brothers and the Stamps Quartet perform in Memphis churches.

Jim ‘The King’ Brown will pay tribute to Presley’s religious roots with a gospel brunch, accompanied by a full band, a modern incarnation of the group that inspired and sang with Elvis.


Cahiers du Cinéma called it “the worst film ever committed to celluloid”, while Movies Movies Movies described watching it as “akin to having a fever dream when consuming a full block of mature cheddar after a bad day”.It’s undeniable that 2019’s Cats (based on the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical of the same name), left an indelible mark on anyone who had cause to watch it the first time around.

Join us for a cinematic evening of confrontation therapy as we face this star-studded big-budget monstrosity together in the Black Box.

Roar as James Corden wobbles and chunters in a giant cat outfit, cheer as he falls into a bin, gasp as venerable puss Dame Judy Dench deftly attends to her intimate personal hygiene.

We’ll be having a drink every time Idris Elba flashes his rippling cat-abs, or Sir Ian McKellen gingerly licks his milk, and you can take part in our contented purring contest, if you’re feline groovy.

All together now: ”Memory, all alone in the moonlight…”.

“Wait..what?” Screen International

“ of those rare cinematic events that feels like a collective hallucination – improbable and entirely indescribable.”The Independent

John Craigie

Portland, OR-based singer, songwriter, and producer John Craigie adapts moments of solitude into stories perfectly suited for old Americana fiction anthologies.

Instead of leaving them on dog-eared pages, he projects them widescreen in flashes of simmering soul and folk eloquence. On his 2022 full-length album, Mermaid Salt, we witness revenge unfurled in flames, watch a landlocked mermaid’s escape, and fall asleep under a meteor shower.

After selling out shows consistently coast-to-coast and earning acclaim from Rolling Stone, Glide Magazine, No Depression, and many more, his unflinching honesty ties these ten tracks together.

The album comes from the solitude and loneliness of lockdown in the Northwest. Someone whose life was touring, traveling, and having lots of human interaction is faced with an undefinable amount of time without those things.

So, he began writing new songs and envisioning an album that was different from his past records. The sound of everyone playing live in a room together was traded for the sound of song construction with an unknown amount of instruments and musicians—a quiet symphony.

During this period, he explored the environment around him “from the Oregon coasts to the waterfalls” and read books about Levon Helm, Billie Holiday, and Ani DiFranco. “I got time to silence all the noise and chaos of touring and look inward,” he observes.

Craigie had reached a series of watershed moments in tandem with Mermaid Salt. Beyond headlining venues such as The Fillmore and gracing the stage of Red Rocks Amphitheater, his 2020 offering Asterisk The Universe earned unanimous tastemaker applause.

Rolling Stone noted, “tracks like ‘Don’t Deny’ and ‘Climb Up’ bridge a Sixties and Seventies songwriter vibe with the laid-back cool of Jack Johnson, an early supporter of Craigie,” while Glide Magazine hailed it as “one of his best records.”

Perhaps, No Depression put it best, “For many weary and heavy- listeners hearted, the album might be exactly what they need.” Along the way, he generated over 40 million total streams and counting, speaking to his unassuming impact. In the end, Craigie offers a sense of peace on Mermaid Salt.

Lumiere & The Wilderness Way Book Launch

The story and songs of Irish emigration & the American Civil War

Lumiere brought together two distinct voices cut from the same geographic cloth. One is Éilís Kennedy, whose sound has ready access to the soul without need for scaffolding or spotlights. The other is Pauline Scanlon, an award- winning singer from the same Kerry town of Dingle.

Since their debut launch, the duo has toured their distinctive sound from the cosy snugs of their native Dingle to international concert halls, and a worldwide audience has connected with their offering of real music, by real singers, communicating real emotions.

As a duo, Lumiere takes something that is sacred and age old and re-imagines it simply and beautifully, reclaiming beauty, truth and trust for the modern age. The big themes of love and loss, of place and people, of longing and lament, are present in both records Lumiere and My Dearest Dear.

The Duo’s immersion in the west Kerry singing tradition, and their ability to communicate it’s beauty remains a steadfast trait of their live performances. In the past decade both singers have produced a huge body of work in solo albums, but the draw to sing together has always been there. Lumiere are re-emerging in new light, with fresh stories to tell and old songs to reveal and awaken.

The Wilderness Way is a cross-Atlantic historical fiction set in Donegal and the US during the American Civil War. Inspired by true events, it tells the harrowing tale of a family evicted by Glenveagh landlord John Adair in 1861. To escape the workhouse two brothers emigrate to New York where they are drafted into the Union Army.

Set against the wild landscapes of Ireland and the battlefields of the American Civil War, this sweeping narrative takes us on an epic journey to understand the strength and endurance of the human spirit.

 Debut novelist Anne Madden, from Belfast, has teamed up with Lumiere to highlight through song the big themes of the book – eviction, emigration and the fate of so many Irish in the Civil War (1861-65).

 “I’m delighted to launch my novel with the tremendously talented Lumiere whose haunting harmonies and musical repertoire of this period will really bring the story to life. I think this will be a very special event for anyone interested in Ireland’s recent past and the eternal human struggle of emigration.”

The Wilderness Way, is published by HarperCollins, and will be available to buy along with Lumiere music at the event.


Presented by Ulster Orchestra, QFT, Oh Yeah Centre, Out To Lunch and Red Wolf Films.

We are delighted to welcome Director Maggie Contreras to Belfast to talk about her film.

Following the buzz of Tár, Maggie Contreras’ documentary Maestra follows several women from around the world as they compete in the only all-women competition for conductors. This ultra-competitive field is riddled with long-standing issues of sexism, and each participant is approaching the contest with fierce tenacity.

Through her efforts in profiling these women, Contreras reveals how childhood abuse, maternity discrimination, and gendered expectations have moulded them as individuals. These disparate experiences paradoxically unite them in a common cause while distinguishing their priorities. One woman wonders whether she should start having children, while another wants to prove herself after being fired for being pregnant.

In contrast to the wild gesticulations required of the competitors, Maestra is relatively laid back in its approach, taking time to familiarise us with each woman before the competition starts. Yet a palpable tension starts to build as the competitors are eliminated one by one, despite everyone being a champion.

While Maestra focuses on women conducting orchestras, the film speaks to a bigger issue about gender equality. – Danielle Solzman

Watching people dear to us not make it can be heartbreaking, but by the end, the movie proves a paean to the resilience and hard work of this vibrant collection of brilliant musicians. 

They all deserve a standing ovation. – Christopher Llewellyn Reed- Film Festival Today

Greensleeves Hi-Fi X Explosion Sound System

Greensleeves Records was founded in 1977 in Shepherd’s Bush, London, to release the latest dancehall and Reggae hits from Jamaica.

The label became synonymous with Caribbean-influenced black British music and defined a genre. Many artists and prominent producers released on the label, including Dr. Alimantado, Wailing Souls, and Shabba Ranks.

Greensleeves Hi-Fi has taken the music from the label directly to the people through a series of DJ sets from Geneva to London to Berlin and beyond.

Oxman is a legendary DJ who specializes in Rocksteady, Ska, and Roots. Adam Prescott has produced original songs featuring various artists and his productions are often heard on BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra, Rinse FM and Worldwide FM.

Kaia Kater

Montreal-born Grenadian-Canadian Kaia Kater’s jazz-fueled voice and deft songcraft have garnered acclaim from NPR’s Tiny DeskThe GuardianRolling Stone and No Depression.

Through her artful banjo playing and lush songwriting, Kaia draws on influences rooted in Quebec, the Caribbean, and Appalachia, all of which reflect the diversity of her background; her family’s deep ties to the Canadian folk music scene; her college years spent soaking up Appalachian music in West Virginia and her father’s experience growing up in Grenada, arriving in Canada in 1986, after the U.S. invasion.

Kaia released her first EP Old Soul (2013) when she was just out of high school. Since then, she’s gone on to release three more albums, Sorrow Bound (2015), Nine Pin (2016) and Grenades (2018).

For the JUNO-nominated and Polaris Music Prize long-listed Grenades, Kaia leaned into a wide array of sounds and styles in order to convey a broad range of emotions and topics, most notably her Caribbean ancestry and her father’s experience as a refugee in Canada.

In 2020, Kaia took part in the Slaight Music Residency at the Canadian Film Center, released a new single, and wrote original music for The Porter (BET+ 2022), for which she garnered a Canadian Screen Award for Best Original Song in a Drama Series.  Her next album, recorded in Montreal with Joe Grass as co-producer, will land in late 2023.

…plaintive, mesmerizing…writes and performs with the skill of a folk-circuit veteran…”-Rolling Stone

“You want some authenticity in your folk music or bluegrass – I give you Kaia Kater.” No Depression

A star in the making...Folk Alley

Sign Crushes Motorist

Sign Crushes Motorist is a slowcore-influenced project of artist Liam McCay, who is 18 years-old and just finished secondary school.

The music is inspired by slacker and lo-fi alt-rock music with a particular nod to Duster, the San Jose, California band who released three main albums in the slowcore genre in the 90s before taking a near 20 year hiatus that they ended in 2019 to release once more. The project name, Sign Crushes Motorist, is the title of a Duster song. McCay has also cited the late Apistat Commander as an influence.

Sign Crushes Motorist is just one of McCay’s pseudonyms which also includes Take CareBirth Day, Make His Ribs ShowMantaHoldMiserable Teens ClubRoamingDeath TrapMoon Water to name some.

Sign Crushes Motorist is the McCay’s main project and has garnered over 1.4 million monthly listeners on Spotify, though his other aliases like Birth Day and Take Care are also doing good listening numbers on various platforms.

Sign Crushes Motorist has two albums to date – 2022’s I’ll Be Ok and the most recently album releases last month – Hurting.

Campbell Jensen

Ashley Campbell and Thor Jensen form a unique meeting of musical genres as the duo Campbell/Jensen. With Ashley coming from the world of country and Americana and Thor having a diverse background from rock to gypsy jazz, they create a fresh sound as a duo.

Ashley Campbell, daughter of country legend Glen Campbell, began her career playing in her father’s band on several world tours and has found success as a solo artist in the country music scene; most notably with her debut single “Remembering” which she wrote for her father.

Her original music has taken her all over the world, from China to Japan, to the mainstage at London’s O2 Arena to opening for Kris Kristofferson and the Bellamy Brothers. She has also been spotlighted for her banjo playing with Rascal Flatts in the music video for their hit single “Banjo”.

Thor Jensen, a virtuoso guitarist and songwriter from New York has travelled many different roads. From touring the world with Hazmat Modine, playing Americana with Quiet Life opening for the likes of Dr. Dog and Shovels and Rope, then onto joining the Stephane Wrembel Band, playing the music of Django Reinhardt and performing at Carnegie Hall and all over the world.

Ashley and Thor met in late 2021 and have been playing music together ever since. Both being strong instrumentalists in addition to the combination of Thor’s deep baritone and Ashley’s clear as a bell vocals, together they make a one of a kind blend. Ashley and Thor released a cover of the Tom Waits song ‘Long Way Home’ in June 2022.

In January 2023 Campbell/Jensen hired a cottage off the Northern Irish coast, Turtle Cottage. There they brought in a portable Studio and engineers and recorded the Campbell/Jensen debut album which is due to be released 2023.

Mark O Connell : A Thread of Violence

Mark O’Connell in conversation with Joe Nawaz

From the award-winning author comes the gripping tale of one of the most scandalous murderers in modern Irish history, at once a propulsive work of true crime and an act of literary subversion.

Malcolm Macarthur was a well-known Dublin socialite and heir.  Suave and urbane, he passed his days mingling with artists and aristocrats, reading philosophy, and living a life of the mind. But by 1982, his inheritance had dwindled to almost nothing, a desperate threat to his lifestyle.

Macarthur hastily conceived a plan: He would commit bank robbery, of the kind that had become frightfully common in Dublin at the time. But his plan spun swiftly out of control, and he needlessly killed two innocent people. The ensuing manhunt, arrest, and conviction amounted to one of the most infamous political scandals in modern Irish history, contributing to the eventual collapse of the government.

Mark O’Connell is a writer from Dublin. He is the author of Notes from an Apocalypse (2020) and To Be a Machine (2017), which was awarded the 2018 Wellcome Book Prize, the 2019 Rooney Prize for Irish Literature, and was shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction. He is a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books, and his work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Slate, and The Guardian.

“A masterpiece”— The Observer

“Disturbing [and] compelling”— Colm Toíbín

“Superb and unforgettable”— Sally Rooney 

“A masterly work”— John Banville 

“Morally complex and mesmerizing”— Fintan O’Toole

Michael & Michelle

‘Michael and Michelle’ is actor and musician duo Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey, Anatomy of a Scandal, The Gentlemen) and Michael Fox (Downton Abbey, Dunkirk.)

It took a single evening for the pair to bond over a shared passion. What started as a casual jam – in between shooting scenes and encouraged by a friend – quickly turned into something distinct. Until then, Michael and Michelle had been preoccupied by various professional distractions – most notably the hugely popular TV show Downton Abbey, which brought them together.

Both were looking for a new way of expressing themselves – and music runs in their blood. Growing up, Michael had always been in bands, cutting his teeth through a range of styles from indie to folktronica while writing his own songs.

Michelle grew up in a noisy household on a diet of Joni Mitchell, Alison Krauss and Indigo Girls – she sang on various London stages including Ronnie Scott’s before acting took the front seat. After that first jam, they hustled a recording studio in Downtown LA and got to work.

Now, six years later, they are exclusively signed to Decca UMG and in May 2022 released their first EP, The Watching Silence – four self-penned songs produced by Iain Grimble (Mumford and Sons, Daughter, Catfish And The Bottlemen) recorded last year in Crouch End’s Church Studios.

The tracks were mixed by Danton Supple (Coldplay, Elbow, Morrissey) and the duo are joined across the EP by Chris Mass (Mumford and Sons) on percussion and Tommy Heap (Willy Mason) on piano and bass. Critical acclaim and media support include The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, The Today Show, BBC Radio 2 and BBC local playlisting.

Have You Got It Yet? The Story of Syd Barrett and Pink Floyd (N Irish Premiere)

We’re teaming up with our partners at The Avenue Cinema for a series of N Irish premieres at Now Press Play.  Enjoy our films in the luxurious art deco surroundings of the Avenue Cinema, with big comfy chairs and food and drink service to seat!
Directed by award-winning filmmaker Roddy Bogawa and the late, acclaimed album cover designer Storm Thorgerson (Led Zeppelin, Paul McCartney, and Black Sabbath), the feature-length documentary lifts the lid on the relationship between Pink Floyd and founding member Syd Barrett, who left the group before they met stardom.

It was Syd who gave Pink Floyd their moniker by combining the names of two obscure blues players – Pink Anderson and Floyd Council.

Intimate interviews with band members David Gilmour, Nick Mason, and Roger Waters along with Pete Townsend and others, uncover Barrett’s ongoing impact on the group – markedly their sound and image – including his inspiration on worldwide hits The Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here, written in tribute to him. Syd’s music influenced a generation of musicians as his songs were covered by David Bowie among others.

“Syd Barrett was irresistibly charismatic, but this crazy diamond didn’t shine for long, as this comprehensive portrait shows.”— Glenn Kenny, The New York Times



This event is supported by Film Hub NI, awarding funds from the National Lottery through the BFI Film Audience Network.


ABBA in Studio 2 (1976)

The date is Saturday evening on 13 November 1976, the place is TVP Studio in Warsaw, Poland, the occasion is a television special by the greatest pop band on earth ABBA.

At the height of their powers, the fab four arrived in Warsaw to promote their new album Arrival behind the Iron Curtain on Polish television.

There’s a strange documentary about their trip, including a short in flight interview plus ABBA performing almost all new songs from the new album plus a few belters from the back catalogue.

Join us for this gloriously kitsch snapshot of a byegone era of broadcasting, peppered with rare footage and rarer outfits. Not to mention a cavalcade of the most enduring songs in the modern pop canon, or your Money, Money, Money back!

Afterwards join resident ABBAteurs – The Stalemates, for an audiovisual celebration of the music of Agnetha, Björn, Benny and Anni-Frid.


This event is supported by Film Hub NI, awarding funds from the National Lottery through the BFI Film Audience Network.

Say Amen, Somebody (N Irish Premiere)

An instant classic on its original release over 40 years ago, this is a powerful documentary about the men and women who pioneered African-American gospel music. And where better to show this classic than in the evocative surroundings of Rosemary Street Presbyterian Church?

Widely praised upon its release in 1982; the late Roger Ebert called it “One of the most joyful movies I’ve ever seen.”

A moving mix of concert film and documentary, this singular exploration follows the rich history of gospel music in America through the testimony of two towering figures who lived it, composer Thomas A. Dorsey and singer Willie Mae Ford Smith.

Add performances by such greats as Delois Barrett Campbell and The Barrett SistersZella Jackson Price, and The O’Neal Twins, and the result is an acclaimed, joy-filled celebration.

Tickets £8.00

Doors 7.30pm, Unreserved Seating


This event is supported by Film Hub NI, awarding funds from the National Lottery through the BFI Film Audience Network.


It’s a Fine Thing to Sing (N Irish Premiere)

We’re teaming up with our partners at The Avenue Cinema for a series of N Irish premieres at Now Press Play.  Enjoy our films in the luxurious art deco surroundings of the Avenue Cinema, with big comfy chairs and food and drink service to seat!   

(dir. Bob Gallagher 2023)

When singers Ian Lynch (Lankum), Ye Vagabonds and The Henry Girls were invited to create their own interpretations of songs from the Inishowen Song Project, they ended up arranging and singing six songs from Clonmany and Buncrana singers from the famed Inishowen Peninsula.

Captured in this beautiful film by award winning filmmaker Bob Gallagher, audiences are transported to a richly evocative world of local singers and song, documented over 40 years from within the community itself. Framed within the stunning landscape of the area, these new performances, atmospheric archival recordings, and interviews with key community figures, demonstrate how songs pass from singer to singer, while also examining the question of why we sing.

This event is supported by Film Hub NI, awarding funds from the National Lottery through the BFI Film Audience Network.



Dio: Dreamers Never Die (N Irish Premiere)

We’re teaming up with our partners at The Avenue Cinema for a series of N Irish premieres at Now Press Play.  Enjoy our films in the luxurious art deco surroundings of the Avenue Cinema, with big comfy chairs and food and drink service to seat!  


It’s not every day an acclaimed documentary about a heavy metal god gets made.

This much-celebrated career-spanning film follows one of rock and metal’s greatest all-time vocalists – Ronnie James Dio’s journey from his childhood days in upstate New York, through his iconic turns in Rainbow, Black Sabbath and Dio, to his death in 2010.

At turns familiar, illuminating and even laugh-out-loud funny (such as photographer Gene Kirkland’s account of shooting the band photo for the Holy Diver album), Dreamers Never Die is a well-paced and engaging ride from start-to-finish.

Condemned by religious groups and misunderstood by conservative parents, Dio emerges as a righteous messenger inspiring an entire generation of rockers to believe in themselves and chase their dreams. Their metal dreams…

“Illuminating, funny and occasionally brutally honest, Dio: Dreamers Never Die is an insightful portrait of one of metal’s most beloved figures” Louder Sound

This event is supported by Film Hub NI, awarding funds from the National Lottery through the BFI Film Audience Network.


Human Highway

We all love Devo, sure. And we all love Neil Young, mos def. But what about Devo and Neil Young performing “Hey Hey My My” together? Throw in David Lynch luminaries Dean Stockwell & Russ Tamblyn, a bit of Dennis Hopper at his most deranged and a large helping of hyper-real visual storytelling and you’ve got yourself Human Highway.

It’s a movie one critic described as “The Wizard of Oz on acid”. Directed and produced by Young himself (under the soubriquet Bernard Shakey) Human Highway has to be seen to be believed.

It’s the place were day-glo nightmares converge with pop trash and yet somehow, it all works. Did we also mention that it’s very very funny? Panned on its initial release, but subsequently critically reassessed, Human Highway is the missing link between John Waters and Tim Burton.

Featuring Devo as “Nuclear Garbagepersons”. Need we say more?

This event is supported by Film Hub NI, awarding funds from the National Lottery through the BFI Film Audience Network.


I am Weekender

Initially banned on its release, Weekender – the film of Flowered Up’s classic acid house cri de cœur – is today hailed as one of the most innovative music films ever made.

Now WIZ’s pioneering meditation on the British rave experience is celebrated in I Am Weekender, Chloé Raunet’s documentary about the film’s making, impact and legacy, with contributions from Irvine Welsh, Jeremy Deller, Lynne Ramsay, Bobby Gillespie, Clive Langer, Mark Moore, Róisín Murphy, Annie Nightingale, Shaun Ryder, David Holmes, Roy the Roach and more.

Once described as ‘the Citizen Kane of acid house’, Weekender, the film that started it all, is also included here in a brand new 2K restoration.

“Feels like a shot of the street”- Lou Reed

“Without Weekender there’d be no Trainspotting”-Danny Boyle

“Crazy, hedonistic, light and dark”- Lynne Ramsay


This event is supported by Film Hub NI, awarding funds from the National Lottery through the BFI Film Audience Network.

Double feature: Eno/ Roxette (aka The Life of Brian/ Bryan)

Oh the thrill of it all! Join us for a double-bill of rare and glamorous archival glory, featuring Brian Eno and his former band Roxy Music, led by namesake and one-time nemesis Bryan Ferry.

ENO (30 MINS) is a short BBC documentary film from 1973, directed by Alfons Sinniger. It follows synth brat Brian Eno shortly after his departure from Roxy Music. The documentary features amazing footage of the man himself swaggering about London, plus recording sessions for Eno’s debut record and stone-cold classic “Here come the Warm Jets” that was recorded in twelve days at Majestic Studios in London during September 1973.

The fascinating ROXETTE (30 mins) is where fine art meets mod cool. It follows a group of students at Manchester Polytechnic in 1978, whose personal style and social lives were dedicated to the music of Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music. The art student ‘stars’ of the film – inhabitants of the new pop sensibility that Roxy created, are filmed in a manner that emphasizes the high glamour of their sub-cultural creation against the harsher backdrop of Salford.  All styles served here…

This event is supported by Film Hub NI, awarding funds from the National Lottery through the BFI Film Audience Network.

Talking Heads Day

What better way to celebrate the approaching 40th anniversary of Talking Head’s seminal Stop Making Sense concert movie than a screening of a concert from their (whisper it) EVEN BETTER Remain in Light tour of 1981?

David Byrne, Tina Weymouth, Chris Frantz and Jerry Harrison were at the peak of their powers when they entered the studio with Brian Eno in 1980 to record Remain in Light; an album that’s on most people’s greatest-ever list.

The ensuing tour featuring some of the best session players in tow is the stuff of legend now. Join us for scintillating footage of the European leg of that tour, plus a rare screening of the excellent documentary made at the same time. Book early to avoid disappointment, or you just might end up asking yourself, “My God, what have I done?”.


This event is supported by Film Hub NI, awarding funds from the National Lottery through the BFI Film Audience Network.


Heavy Metal Parking Lot / In Bed with…Chris Needham

Heavy Metal Parking Lot

Short and oh so sweet.

John Heyn and Jeff Krulik filmed Judas Priest fans in a concert arena parking lot in suburban Maryland. Thirty years later, Heavy Metal Parking Lot is hailed as one the greatest rock documentaries ever. It’s a definitive cultural touchstone for the 1980s metal scene: spandex, big hair, denim, mullets, muscle cars, and beer.

Welcome to the World of Heavy Metal Parking Lot. Hell Yeah!

In Bed with Chris Needham.

Quite simply the greatest documentary video diary ever made…

In 1992, Chris Needham was a bored 17-year-old thrash metal freak with a mullet, a bumfluff moustache, lots of spots, the most awkward girlfriend of all time and a bedroom in his parents’ house in Loughborough.

During the twenty years since it was made for the BBC’s Video Diaries strand, In Bed With Chris Needham has become the stuff of legend; not just for its wealth of quotable lines, but because it plugs you straight into the sensation of being a teenager at battle with the world.

“Chris has been absolutely lacerated by the puberty stick, and is about to play his first gig with his band, Manslaughter. The problem is, they’re complete rammel.Between their first painful attempts to stand musically upright and their debut gig, Chris takes the time to defend Metal and Youth, unleashes torrents of adolescent venom upon ‘old bastards’, ‘Chart Music’, teachers, and Neighbours, conducts a relationship with his girlfriend in excruciating silence, gets hassled by Mr Taggart and His Amazing Shirt, and goes fishing.”   – Al Needham (no relation), Leftlion


This event is supported by Film Hub NI, awarding funds from the National Lottery through the BFI Film Audience Network.



Max Roach: The Drum Also Waltzes

A celebratory showcase of the life, music and activism of a trailblazing artist who employed his talents to challenge the status quo and inspire change.

Max Roach was one of the towering figures of jazz, whose collaborations, as both drummer and composer, chart the history of the form, from his work with Duke Ellington, Coleman Hawkins, Charlie Parker and Miles Davis, to his own pioneering 1950s quintet with Clifford Brown.

Samuel Pollard and Ben Shapiro’s insightful film highlights Roach’s innovative approach to music – viewing it as part of a broader concept of sound – alongside his ability to remain ahead of his time, often at the risk of commercial failure.

It features interviews with notable figures, including Sonny Rollins, Questlove, Harry Belafonte, as well as his family and many others, shedding light and offering diverse perspectives on Roach’s life, his career, legacy and enduring influence.

This event is supported by Film Hub NI, awarding funds from the National Lottery through the BFI Film Audience Network.



Clifton House Tour: Experience The Belfast Poor House

The history of Belfast begins at Clifton House. From the moment you step through our door you will be transported back in time to the Belfast Poor House – opened in 1774 – which provided sanctuary to thousands of people, from the young and old, to local citizens and passing sailors, throughout the years.

With our augmented reality, visitors can now fully immerse themselves in what life was like in the late eighteenth century. Staff and volunteers from Clifton House will share the history of this fantastic building and its people, while they come to life right before your eyes. See how the children learned in the nursery school, experience the ‘Black Hole’ – the punishment room for those who misbehaved. Feel and hear how it was to work in the first cotton mill of the town and how Belfast influenced the rest of the world.

Set up by the philanthropic merchants of the town, the Belfast Charitable Society and its home in Clifton House, has survived rebellions and revolutions, while looking after the welfare of the people of the city. Today, 270 years later, the Belfast Charitable Society continues to address disadvantage and support those in greatest need, through the proceeds from our tours.

Hit the North

On Sunday 30 April, Seedhead Arts (supported by Hennessy) are proud to bring the Hit the North Street Art Festival back for its 11th edition.

Hit the North brings some of the world’s finest artists to Belfast for a unique gathering on Union Street and Kent Street.

This year’s event will feature 50 local, national and international artists with an array of styles and techniques on show as onlookers watch the artwork develop throughout the day and with refreshments available from nearby Sunflower Bar.

Admission Free

Belfast Before Flood – Guided Tour- CANCELLED




Belfast Before Floodis a new location-activated audio walk that looks at present-day Belfast from the vantage point of 200 years in the future.

Throughout the festival you can download the audio walk to your smartphone and explore at your own time.

On Saturday 29th April, join the artists for a guided walk to experience the interactive audio-walk ‘Belfast Before Flood’ at the locations around Cathedral Quarter and hear some insight behind the production of this speculative fiction.

Please bring your phone smartphone and headphones to the guided tour.

Please download ‘Echoes’ app in advance of the guided tour (search ‘Echoes spatial audio’ in your app store).

Full information and download instructions here:

Produced by Una Lee and John D’Arcy.

CQ Bazaar

Admission Free

CQ Bazaar returns to Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival with a feast of delights in (where else?!) the Common Market.

An eclectic mix of DJs, Independent record labels, second-hand vinyl, Vintage clothes, antiques and Retro furniture. The best art, design and crafts.

Common Market Bar and food vendors are open during the market hours.

Come and treat your eyes, ears, mouth and pockets.

Brought to you by CQAF, Little Fox Events and CQ Bid.

Congregation by Ray Lee

Let a magical sphere take you on an outdoor sonic adventure to a secret location, guiding you by sound alone. Seemingly possessed of its own mind it guides you through familiar and unfamiliar terrain. Can you keep the sphere ‘happy’ by going in the right direction? In return the orb will lead you on a listening voyage to the mysterious final destination where you will encounter a meeting of the spheres, a chiming, pulsing web of electronic sound.

In Congregation the audience are invited in small groups to discrete locations in a city where they are given a silver sphere. They are instructed that the sphere will guide them to a location by emitting sounds, one sound for the correct direction and another for the wrong direction.

Dumbworld commissions Congregation for it’s Irish premiere as part of their Ambulatory Arts programme- a series of immersive artistic interventions experienced on foot across the city.

Generously hosted by The Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival

Commissioned by Norwich and Norfolk Festival and Out There Festival Great Yarmouth with financial support from Without Walls, OCM, Oxford Brookes University and 101 Outdoor Arts, Newbury.

Booking essential here:

Price £5

Dates : Sat 6th May 11am & 3pm/ Sunday 7th May 1pm & 4pm

Congregation headlines Dumbworld’s Ambulatory Arts programme- a series of immersive artistic interventions experienced on foot across the city.

Commissioned by Norwich and Norfolk Festival and Out There Festival Great Yarmouth with financial support from Without Walls, OCM, Oxford Brookes University and 101 Outdoor Arts, Newbury.

‘The Lie of the Land’ Joanne Coates

The Lie of the Land‘ – Joanne Coates

Joanne Coates is a visual artist and documentary photographer working in the North East of England. Her new work The Lie of the Land, addresses the erasure of contemporary working-class histories and culture in the countryside.

Coates works at the intersection of socially engaged practice and traditional British documentary photography. The Lie of the Land explores the erasure of contemporary working-class histories and culture in rural communities. Based on 12 months of socially engaged work with twelve women living and working in rural or agricultural settings in the North East of England, and who identify as working class, The Lie of the Land tells the long-ignored social history of gender and class in these settings. Images, objects and spoken word testimony are combined to give an insight into the lives of these women that is both honest and revealing, as well as being tied to the artist’s own personal experiences of being a part of the communities she documents.

‘Our partnership with Photoworks has been further established through the Jerwood/Photoworks Awards 4 Exhibition coming to Belfast Exposed this year. Both organisations understand that investment and commitment in early career artists is required to give them the opportunity to hone their skills and realise their ambitions. Heather Agyepong’s work drawing attention to black mental health is impactful and aids our understanding of racism and associated mental health issues. Meanwhile,  Joanne Coates’ work focused on the female working class voice in a community context is thought provoking and relevant in contemporary terms. Both are artists of the future and the here and now. It is important to bring them to bring them to Northern Ireland audiences’.

– Deirdre Robb, Director, Belfast Exposed

Heather Agepong – Jerwood / Photoworks Awards

ego death‘ – Heather Agyepong

British Ghanaian visual artist Heather Agyepong has developed a new work for the Awards, entitled ‘ego death’, inspired by Carl Jung’s concept of ‘The Shadow’, it is a journey of discovery, exploration and acceptance of the self.

Seeking to unpick and discover the hidden aspects of her own personality, Agyepong’s work dissects issues of shame and repression through a series of double-exposed self-portraits and mixed media, to reveal hidden aspects of her true self. Exploring techniques including free writing/painting, observation, and self-reflection, Agyepong has produced twelve self-portraits using double exposure to create an arresting new visual language where her shadow characters are revealed.

ego death is a project about self-discovery, imperfection, compassion, and radical acceptance.

Tomas Monteiro

Tomas Monteiro is a ceramic artist based in Belfast. His practice examines the exploration of personal experience and his identity as a queer person. He approaches work as a syncretic experience of his life and expressions of his interests. He works with processes of mould-making, performance, sculpture, installation, and grounds his practice in ceramics. His recent work traverses the experience of a young queer artist who is self-examining ideas of queerness alongside simultaeneously trying to make sense of personal traumatic experiences he has experienced as a young queer artist including mental, physical and sexual abuse.

Bond of Memories
Bond of Memories‘ explores themes of connection in the context of the mind and queer sexuality. By way of ceramics, the show explores sexuality and love through the queer lens, questioning how connections occur and how queer people create and live with their chosen family. Central to Bond of Memories is the idea that experiences create inter-personal links and these links become a chain; as the chain gets larger it creates weaknesses.

“I think of memories and my mind as a chain, a chain of memories from the good ones to the bad ones. The show takes big inspiration from my childhood and core memories of it as it grabs inspiration from one of my first games; Kingdom Hearts.

When I started to think about this show I wanted it to represent my mind and how we as people have experiences that shape us. Using ceramics, audio and elements of multidisciplinary practice I was able to create this show to represent different experiences, good and bad while still pulling inspiration from core childhood memories.” – Tomas Monteiro

Niamh O’Malley’s Gather

The Golden Thread Gallery is excited to host Irish artist Niamh O’Malley in our main space after the hugely successful Gather; Ireland at Venice 2022. Gather was the national representation of Ireland at the 59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia by Niamh O’Malley, curated by the Temple Bar Gallery + Studios.

The exhibition for Golden Thread Gallery, opening in April 2023, is informed by her work for Gather and will explore the breadth of O’Malley’s current practice. O’Malley’s sculpture and moving image works are intended to hold us in the space for which they are made. She uses steel, limestone, wood, and glass, and shapes and assembles objects to create a purposeful landscape of forms in the gallery space. Her sculptures, tall and free-standing, ground-bearing and cantilevered, with paced and looped moving image, inhabit and animate the gallery.

Niamh O’Malley was born in Co. Mayo, and lives in Dublin, Ireland. She has made numerous major exhibitions in recent years including The Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin; John Hansard Gallery, Southampton; Bluecoat, Liverpool; RHA, Dublin; Lismore Castle Arts; Grazer Kunstverein. Niamh O’Malley studied in Belfast, lived there for over ten years and was part of the early days of Catalyst Arts. She returns to present a selection of her moving image and sculptural work in the large industrial spaces of The Golden Thread Gallery.

Dani Larkin – ‘Walking With Natives’ Tour

Pipped by RTE Radio 1, BBC Radio 2, Double J (Australia) and Folk Radio UK as a rising star on the Irish folk and alternative scene, the last few years have been a breakthrough for this emerging alt-folk artist, with 2023 shaping up to be an even bigger year with new music on the way and several debut global live tours.

Nominated for ‘Best Single’ (2022) ‘Best Album’ (2021) at Northern Ireland Music Prize, and ‘Best Emerging Artist‘ at RTE Folk Awards (2021), Dani Larkin has been an artist picking up speed with each release, and one that has been making her mark on the industry, in her own way.

An artist renowned for her unforgettable live performances, her magical songwriting with her vocal always taking centre stage, accompanied by her impressive guitar and banjo playing. Larkin has the ability to blend the old and new perfectly through her songwriting, delicately weaving themes of Celtic folklore with the more modern day landscape of her own experiences.


In 1994 hundreds of coal miners hung up their pit boots as Grimethorpe Colliery was destroyed, along with the tight-knit working-class community that surrounded it. WASTELAND, Gary Clarke’s sequel to COAL, looks at how two generations coped in this era of radical upheaval. As we see one generation grind to a halt, we follow the next into the 90s illegal rave scene, where derelict warehouses and abandoned work spaces became home for a new-found community of music and dance.

Bringing together Clarke’s vivid physical dance language performed by a company of exceptional dancers, a community cast of singers, brass musicians, archive film footage, a powerful rave soundtrack and unique artwork by Jimmy Cauty (co-founder of The KLF), WASTELAND dives headfirst into a gritty story of loss, hope, escapism, and survival.

Gary Clarke Company will recruit 2 brass musicians from a local championship brass band and 4 men from the community to perform as Pit Men Singers in the show. More details of the recruitment guidelines can be found here.

Ages 14+

Contains some strong language, strobe lighting, loud music, haze and smoke effects.

Christine Bovill – From Piaf to Pop

Christine Bovill’s award-winning Paris established her reputation as one of Europe’s finest interpreters of French song. In her new show, she travels into the 60s and the Americanisation of French music: le yé-yé. A time of great cultural change in France, would the high art of chanson survive…?

This new show – a smash-hit sell out at the 2022 Edinburgh Fringe – offers a sexy and delicious celebration of the Golden Age of French song and how it evolved during the Swinging Sixties. Singing in both French and English, she honours many stars including Edith Piaf, Jacques Brel, Serge Gainsbourg and Francoise Hardy.

Edinburgh Fringe reviews:

“Christine Bovill concocts a sublime evening of French pop classics in Paris: From Piaf to Pop, bringing a sense of warm charm, vocal prowess, and knowledgeable insight to the fold” ★★★★★ Culture Fix

“For a brief escape from the troubles of the world, there can be no finer prescription than a healthy dose of Paris” ★★★★★ Braw Theatre

Doors 7.30pm | Unreserved seating


Spencer Cullum’s Coin Collection

Spencer Cullum’s Coin Collection 2, sees the Nashville-based musician step further from the pedal steel and towards centrestage. Released on the evergreen Full Time Hobby label, this new collection of tracks is a kaleidoscopic collection of folk, jazz, and pop, cut through with immaculately-rendered songwriting.

Romford to Nashville is hardly the most well-trodden of paths, but for Spencer Cullum it was a way of getting to the essential heart of pedal steel, what was then and remains to this day his musical raison d’être.

Growing up in a large East London town brought him early exposure to classic pub rock by way of his father such as Dr. Feelgood and Thin Lizzy, and farther-flung music by way of his mother, such as Talking Heads and Lou Reed. However, it was learning pedal steel from legendary English player B. J. Cole that set him on the path he still walks today. 

After touring with Nashville-based groups and hearing tales of “seasoned Nashville steel players”, the young musician upped sticks and found a “nice little crowd of weirdos” in his chosen city. Cullum has always maintained a somewhat silent presence-even now saying “I still want to hide behind my pedal steel in fear”-but 2020 saw him release his debut solo effort, Spencer Cullum’s Coin Collection. Despite his project with Jeremy Fetzer, Steelism, showing off more of his talents, never before had he felt the limelight so firmly on him. 

Although…Coin Collection’s modus operandi was “a very quintessential English folk record, but with really good Nashville players”, Cullum says of…Coin Collection 2 that “I wanted to be different. I wanted to try and pull away from wearing my influences on my sleeve… I was trying to pick out ideas that were new to me. You can never escape your musical influences but I wanted them to be more hidden subconsciously than upfront.”Though you can pick out the odd similarity to other things here and there-The Beach Boys’Friends LP, perhaps, or The Incredible String Band, or Joni Mitchell-the thing is decidedly Cullum’s own. 

What’s also reassuring is that there hasn’t been some giant sonic leap from…Coin Collection, instead that the beautifully sun-kissed, English country garden, bees-buzzing-round-lager atmosphere has remained, but complicated, weirded, deepened. Much in the same way that the album doesn’t wear its influences (Amon Duul II, Skip Spence, Ennio Morricone, ChuKosaka, Michael Chapman) lightly but rather is steeped in them and toys with them, Cullum brought in a host of guests to turn…Coin Collection 2 loose from being a purely solo effort.

Rich Ruth
Rich Ruth – a.k.a. veteran Nashville-based musician Michael Ruth – took a break from touring with various bands in 2018 and dedicated himself to composing ambient music in his small home studio, focusing on the diverse traditions of ambient, new age, spiritual jazz, Kosmiche, and minimalist music. His ideas became fully realized with the inclusion of additional players, pairing his repetitive, droning synthesizer movements with spur-of-the-moment improvisation to transform the material into something much more lush and unpredictable.

One summer morning, Ruth was held up at gunpoint and carjacked by two people outside of his home. His music allowed him to work through this personal struggle, infusing his 2019 debut album, Calming Signals, with striking layers of angst and emotion. Where There’s Life followed in 2021, a collection of meditative pieces written in the early months of the pandemic manifesting the collective sense of uncertainty and solitude of the time.

Doors 7.30pm | Unreserved seating



Pye Corner Audio – Live set

Pye Corner Audio is a British electronic music project by Martin Jenkins. He deals in an eerie, fragile strain of electronic music mixing the Radiophonic/library music sound, sometimes with a post-punk influence that aligns him firmly with such seasoned hauntologists as Mordant Music, Belbury Poly and The Advisory Circle.

Jenkins refers to himself as the mysterious and nameless Head Technician in most of his online profiles, and extra detail is taken to make the audio and visual elements of his performances look and sound worn and vintage.

PCA first came to attention with 4 volumes of Black Mill Tapeson his own label Pye Corner Audio Transcription Services. Like his contemporaries Demdike Stare and Ghost Box, Martin seemed to be tapping into some hidden energy current, channelling spirits via electrical means. The pioneering transmissions of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop could be detected lurking within the music’s staticky swirl; so could the ominous throb of John Carpenter’s film soundtracks.

Since 2021 he has recorded three timeless LPs for Ghost Box and the 5th Black Mill Tapes volume for Barcelona label Lapsus, and has also contributed numerous singles and Eps that come across as mini-albums for labels including Death Waltz, Lapsus and Ecstatic.

The musical landscape has changed considerably in the past decade, but what is remarkable about Pye Corner Audio’s material is that it hasn’t aged a day; its retro-futurist transmissions sound just as mysteriously compelling as they did the first time around. While they purport to faithfully transcribe the sound of yesterday’s technology, they end up being something more: a record of what we wish the past sounded like –a rickety tape transfer of desire itself, spooled and boxed, just awaiting discovery.


Matthew and the Atlas (Solo)

Across Matt Hegarty’s first three LPs, and the four stripped back EPs that preceded and followed them, he has traversed a range of musical territories from classic acoustic folk, to dramatic synth-laden electronica, and urgent guitar led alt-rock.

The common thread in his Matthew and the Atlas project has been a songwriting style that marries a subtle melodic sensibility  with lyrics full of natural imagery and dark emotional heft – all delivered in his striking and  distinctive vocal. In the process Hegarty has quietly built a major cult following in Europe and and the US.

‘[Morning Dancer] weaves an emotional tapestry around you as you listen.’ (Thank Folk For That)


With support from Lemoncello


Doors 7.30pm | Unreserved Seating


Donovan Wylie

Bank Gallery (High Street)
Donovan Wylie

Belfast Exposed is delighted to present Blinded by the very force it imagines it could handle, a new film from Donovan Wylie and Peter Mann, which contains never before seen footage from the demolition of the Maze Prison in 2007.

Blinded by the very force it imagines it could handle builds on work done by Wylie as part of his landmark exhibition The Maze (2004) – which was first shown at Belfast Exposed – that saw Wylie given access to the Maze/Long Kesh Prison site as in stood empty, but kept ready for future use, in Northern Ireland’s post-Good Friday Agreement political landscape. By this time, the Maze had become a location synonymous with the Trouble, due to its role in holding ‘special category’ prisons with links to paramilitary organisations and as the site of the infamous Hunger Strikes of the early 1980s. It was arguably one of the most famous prisons in the world. Despite having been emptied in the years following the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, the site was maintained and kept in readiness for several years, prepared in case conflict returned. It cast a long shadow over the early years of post-Good Friday Agreement Northern Ireland, as the first steps towards devolved, power-sharing government were being made.

It was in this context that Wylie was given free, unsupervised access to the Maze in order to document the site. His images captured both the physical structure of the prison, as well as the psychological impact of the Maze’s architecture. The Maze brought Wylie widespread critical acclaim and was a powerful documentation of living history in Northern Ireland.

In 2007, Donovan Wylie and filmmaker Peter Mann recorded the demolition of an internal perimeter wall of the Maze/Long Kesh Prison, as part of Wylie’s work to document the demolition of the site following the prison’s final closure. It is this, previously unseen, work that forms the basis of Blinded by the very force it imagines it could handle.

In this new work, Wylie continues to chronicle the architecture of conflict. His work is rooted in the idea of art as an antidote to the nihilism that conflict can induce, and was influenced by his experiences as a child growing up during the Troubles (Wylie was born in Belfast in 1971). In Blinded by the very force it imagines it could handle,  the scenes of the demolition are directed so that at different moments, the viewer feels oppressed by the wall of the Maze, and then paradoxically protected by it. The almost overwhelming sound as the wall is destroyed evokes Wylie’s childhood memories of sleep broken by explosions in the city, and the destruction of the wall creates a space into which a sense of peace emerges. The film features excerpts of Simone Weil’s ‘The Iliad or the Poem of Force’, read by Paula McFetridge.

Belfast Exposed will also be using Blinded by the very force it imagines it could handle as an opportunity to publicly open the Bank Gallery, a new complex of exhibitions and event spaces and artist studios on Belfast’s High Street. This will be the first public event held in the Bank Gallery.

Kate Nicholson: Heart Sells Poison Single Launch

Currently based in the North Coast following spells in both Belfast and Australia, Kate Nicholson has been immersed in music from an early age and has been writing songs since acquiring a guitar at age 17.  The combination of a global pandemic and new motherhood created the catalyst for the creation of her debut album Fallen from Grace released in 2022.

This has led to recognition as both a singer and songwriter with National radio play, TV support and festival performances as well as a nomination for the NI Music Prize Best Album and Best Single in 2022. 

Kate blends sounds from New Orleans, Nashville Tennessee and home with inflections of Americana, Blues and Alt-Country. Her songs tell tales of love, loss, treachery and ultimately hope. 

“Her Voice-Simultaneously warm, gritty and enthralling- immediately marks itself as the record’s central force…”a hugely promising talent” – Hot Press Magazine

“It’s a great voice- A great songwriter”  – Ralph McLean (BBC, IMRO Specialist Broadcaster of the Year)

“An Outstanding Debut Record- awash with colour and creativity” – The Daily Mirror

“Fallen from Grace is crammed with brilliant music”.  – The Sunday Life

Paul Brady ‘Crazy Dreams’ Book Launch

Paul Brady will be in conversation with Ralph McLean about Crazy Dreams, a compelling and highly anticipated autobiography from a musician whose remarkable career has spanned six decades and who is indisputably one of Ireland’s greatest living songwriters.

This evocative memoir chronicles Paul’s many years at the forefront of the Irish folk scene, from The Johnstons and Planxty through to his seminal work with Andy Irvine and onwards to his own vaunted solo career.

Along the way are the many encounters and collaborations with such musical luminaries as Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, Carole King, Tina Turner, Mark Knopfler and Bonnie Raitt to name but a glittering few.

From such celebrated tracks as The Island, Nobody Knows and The World is What You Make It to his interpretations of traditional folk songs like Arthur McBride and The Lakes of Pontchartrain, Paul has carved out his own unique place in Irish musical history.

In Crazy Dreams he tells how it was done and regales the reader with remarkable stories of life on the road and the journey from small-town Tyrone to the world stage.

Doors 7.30pm | Unreserved seating

James Yorkston & Nina Persson

James Yorkston, the gentleman-songwriter of the East Neuk of Fife, has released a series of albums of tenderness and melody, insight and empathy. His eye for the details in life and the richness of his brogue make a Yorkston song instantly recognisable.

His 2021 collaboration with Karl-Jonas Winqvist – the Swedish music producer, leader and conductor of The Second Hand Orchestra – resulted in the soothing, warm and sublime The Wide, Wide River (a Guardian Top 10 Folk Album of the year).

Shifting from writing on guitar to piano in early 2021, James sent 5-6 songs to Karl-Jonas, and a second collaborative release, featuring Nina, was born, the equally beguiling The Great White Sea Eagle (out January 2023).

Nina Persson became an international star in the 1990s fronting Swedish pop/rock sensations The Cardigans, before releasing a series of acclaimed albums under her own name and as A Camp. She’s also collaborated with such artists as composer David Arnold and Manic Street Preachers, and – as Nina Letar Jazz – The Soundtrack Of Our Lives‘ Martin Hederos and Nils Berg.

On The Great White Sea Eagle, Yorkston shows again that he is a significant 21st century songwriter who has chosen the perfect, if unlikely foil of Persson to help realize his compositions. It’s a beautiful, hand made collection of natural and unforced songs to be treasured. 

‘Songs crisp as winter sunlight’ – 8/10 MOJO

‘Unearthly beauty from Scottish folk musician/author and Cardigans singer’ ⭑⭑⭑⭑ UNCUT

‘A beautifully absorbing album…The two voices – one a Scottish folk mainstay, the other a Swedish pop luminary – intertwine to bold, sometimes dramatic effect. A work of real refinement’ – CLASH

Doors 7.30pm | Unreserved seating


Terry McHugh – The World on a String

Before he was a non-award-winning comedian! Before he was Jake O’Kane’s opener! Before he appeared on the Blame Game or in Game Of Thrones – North Belfast Comedian, Terry McHugh was an International YoYo Champion, travelling the world bringing joy to the masses with his yoyo.

In 1997 Terry left home as a 17 year old child ready to travel the globe with his World on a String. In 2023 he’s leaving the house as a 42 year old child ready to drive up the road to tell you all about it.

It’s a hilarious show with tales of GIANT Dublin Spiders, Amsterdam’s best Chapel, Eastern European Gangsters and loads more… And just in case that’s not enough for you, there’ll be yoyo tricks too. The yoyo champ in him is coming out of retirement and he plans to come out spinning.

‘Terry McHugh is the best comedian from North Belfast who isn’t Tim McGarry or Jake O’Kane.’-IRISH NEWS

‘Terry McHugh is the finest comedian to leave North Belfast. He’s Funny as Feck’TIM McGARRY

‘Buy a ticket for Terry’s show it’ll help fund his escape plan from Tyrone…oh, and he’s funny’JAKE O’KANE

Doors 7.45pm | Unreserved seating

Sister Sledge + Full Live Band

With dance floors all over the world set alight with the contagious joy and expression in their music, the Sledge sisters became a household name and a symbol of unity with their 1979 world-wide hit and iconic album We Are Family.

The multi-lead vocal group are responsible for some of the biggest dance albums of all time. Lost in Music, He’s the Greatest Dancer and Thinking of You are universally cherished songs bring people together in love, life and soulful groove.

The group have amassed a string of Gold and Platinum hits and GRAMMY nominations and played Carnegie Hall, the Royal Albert Hall, Glastonbury and before Popes and Presidents.

Specialising in BRINGING THE PARTY with the family’s classic hits, Debbie Sledge, Camille Sledge, Tanya Thiet, Thaddeus Sledge and David Sledge make one funky family affair.

Sister Sledge continues to deliver the ‘Sledgendary’ message: ‘Nothing is Greater than LOVE’, honouring sister Joni Sledge’s memory, the gift of family and spreading joy and togetherness that uplifts and celebrates life through love and music.

Featuring support from Winnie Ama.

Doors 7.30pm | Mostly standing

The 4 of Us – Album Launch

Thirty years of playing together, and with a brand new album release lined up for 2023, the creativity of brothers, Brendan and Declan Murphy, shows no sign of abating.

The pair have forged a unique musical identity, producing original and award-winning recordings and building a loyal fan base along the way.

With an enviable catalogue of timeless songs including Mary, Washington Down, She Hits Me, Sunlight and Sugar Island, expect some beautiful songs, stunning interplay and great stories from the road.

We think it’s safe to say, this one will sell out.

Doors 1.30pm | Unreserved seating

‘Never before have I been to a gig where the atmosphere has been so electric’ –THE IRISH NEWS

The 4 of Us – Album Launch

Thirty years of playing together, and with a brand new album release lined up for 2023, the creativity of brothers, Brendan and Declan Murphy, shows no sign of abating.

The pair have forged a unique musical identity, producing original and award-winning recordings and building a loyal fan base along the way.

With an enviable catalogue of timeless songs including Mary, Washington Down, She Hits Me, Sunlight and Sugar Island, expect some beautiful songs, stunning interplay and great stories from the road.

We think it’s safe to say, this one will sell out.

Doors 1.30pm | Unreserved seating

‘Never before have I been to a gig where the atmosphere has been so electric’ –THE IRISH NEWS

David Kitt

David Kitt’s inconspicuous debut album, Small Moments, was a slow-burn collection of lo-fi recordings that crept up on the record-buying public in 2000 leading to the breakthrough success of his sophomore LP, The Big Romance. In 2002, Kitt even appeared as part of Meltdown Festival in London, as curated by David Bowie.

Kitt’s follow-up, Square 1, debuted atop the Irish charts in the balmy summer of 2003. Kitt’s initial success aligned him with a then-burgeoning scene of radio-friendly indie and folk- rock breakthrough acts, including David Gray, with whom Kitt has regularly toured alongside as a supporting musician.

However, Kitt was quickly drawn into his wider sphere of influences, from optimistic, MPC-driven hip-hop, melancholic Arthur Russell-esque funk and the more traditional but ambitious folk of his heritage. Each of these avenues were wandered at ease throughout 2004’s The Black and Red Notebook and it’s follow-up Not Fade Away.

A long history of supporting and then playing with the acclaimed rock group Tindersticks, lead to Kitt officially joining the group for the release of their 2010 LP, Falling Down a Mountain.

Touring internationally, Kitt remained creatively fertile, and yet, eight years passed between the release of his LP The Nightsaver and 2018’s Yous reaffirming him as one of Ireland’s best singer/songwriters. Yous was released on Dublin’s own All City Records, the notably and suitably eclectic label through which Kitt released From Night to Night, his debut album under the alias of New Jackson.

Solely focused on techno and house music influences, but energised by the same sense of melody and experimentation that defines Kitt’s work under his given name, the music of New Jackson has featured on some of the best-respected electronic and dance labels across Europe, including Hivern Discs, Cin Cin and Permanent Vacation.

With more releases incoming on All City and beyond, Kitt remains a unique, sincere artist and songwriter, able to meld influences, eras and sound with a timelessness earned after more than twenty years immersed in music.

Doors 7.30pm | Unreserved seating

Neville Staple – From the Specials

When the sad news of Terry Hall’s passing came through recently, our minds returned to one of the finest live shows CQAF have presented in many a year.

“Nothing came close to the sensational Neville Staple Band who really got the party started and had the masses dancing along” Anita Merritt-Exeter Express & Echo.

Neville Staple, Legendary front man ofThe Specials, Fun Boy Three and Special Beat, also known as The Original Rude Boy, is credited with changing the face of pop music not only once but twice. His celebrates a super 40-year career in the music business which is well documented and started out from the early days withRay King, The Coventry Automatics and his Jah Baddis Sound System, before taking to the stage withThe Specials during the famous ‘Clash’ tour.

Neville states, “I remember the massive reactions to the hit songs like Ghost Town, Too Much Too Young and Gangsters and fans still write to me about my rugged, energetic and fun stage presence. The way we brought ska to the mainstream was by mixing Jamaican music with the English style, which at the time was punk. A lot of young bands are now putting their own spin on ska -some with dance music and some with a rock beat. It’s all good. The music just makes you want to dance. Even when singing about tough times, every-day things or bad things, the beat and the rhythm makes you want to move. I turn all our live shows into a massive party. The crowd love it and sing along to all the tracks!”

Neville’s 2-Tone legacy is huge 2-Tone fused traditional ska music with punk rock attitude, energy and musical elements. The movement helped to transcend and defuse racial tensions in Thatcher-era Britain. The actual black and white chequered imagery of 2 Tone has become almost as famous as the music itself.

With support bands and DJ’s, this will be a celebration not just of Neville’s amazing 40-year career but also one of the greatest talents of this generation – Terry Hall.

Doors 7.30pm | Limited Unreserved seating

Carson McHone

There is something almost excruciating about the places in between. The feeling of falling, a reassertion of gravity as one step leads to another, but just before the foot lands. The purgatory between borders, before clarity becomes whole.

Still LifeCarson McHone’s third album and first release with Merge Records, quivers like a tightrope, with songs about existing within such tension and surviving beyond the breaking point. These are stories of sabotage, confusion, and surrender. The album is a testament to the effort of reaching, sometimes flailing, for understanding and for balance. Still Life invites us to gasp at our own reflection, while acknowledging the unsettling beauty in this breath.

​McHone’s 2018 internationally released Carousel  was a reimagining of songs from her formative years coming of age playing in Texas bars. It established her as a shrewd artist who raises unconventional questions with language equally at home in a short story or a poem.  Still Life addresses a broader picture. It is thematically more refined and yet more daring. McHone’s voice remains front and center, but it’s richer, darker. Wielded more than woven. A gorgeously wrought instrument for pushing meaning forward.

The songs of Still Life were written in quiet moments between tours and recorded away from Texas in Ontario with Canadian musician and producer, Daniel Romano. Together in a home studio they cut almost the entire record themselves, calling on two friends, the versatile Mark Lalama on accordion, piano, and organ, and David Nardi with some savvy saxophone to round it out. The phrasing and tones recall the late 60’s and early 70’s, another era of transition and innovation (think John Cale, The Kinks, Richard and Linda Thompson).

This first time collaboration brings a compelling dynamic. The musical punctuation is intricate, erratic, and at times even playful. The arrangements provide texture to the landscape of the songs while sustaining the underlying thematic tension.

The album opens with “Hawks Don’t Share” a literary allusion to the creative sabotage that often confronts artistic alliance.  A pair of sparring electric guitars sets the scene, mirrored in the line, We’re both boxers babe/ we don’t make love.  Bright horns pop between phrases overtop a tight rhythm section. A jangly twelve string leads us into a driving chorus with big vocal harmonies and layered synth. The title track plays out an anguished spiraling. Right at the point where language fails, the vocals break away into fuzz guitar and violent, incessant piano, as if the turmoil can only be expressed by music.

In “Sweet Magnolia” the strings, horns, and piano create a perfect orbit for the mannered intensity of a song that soars but is essentially spoken. “End of the World” builds with dark and dissonant violins over a repetitive major guitar progression leaving us hanging on its final line, tell me what do you know of restraint?

The punchy sax and tumbling toms of “Only Lovers” play into the ruse of pretending you haven’t already fallen when you have. The background vocals are like a playground taunt.  “Someone Else” cuts right to the punch. I’m caught between the two/ sweet despair and hope renewed/ say it ain’t profound babe. The lyrics are wry and the vocals perfectly nail the attitude.  The rollicking organ and the hammering piano conspire to bust down the door and pull us along.

There are raucous and light hearted moments but ultimately this album is concerned with serious themes.  More than timeless, this record is timely, inherently modern, immediate. The final song, “Tried”, acts as a kind of eulogy for the spaces these songs embody. The bardo one must emerge from. The album challenges us to take responsibility for what we experience and how we negotiate gravity moving forward. Still Life summons us to the present in all its complexity, daring us to join in the deliberation. Here is an exposé of conscience, and a confirmation of the inherently hopeful act of creation.

Doors 7.30pm | Unreserved seating

Dark Tropics

A quick return for Dark Tropics after a packed-out and stunning show in January’s Out to Lunch. This time the setting is the atmospheric St Joseph’s Church and we think it will be very special.

Drawn together by a bond that stretched from Ireland to Morocco, musicians Rio McGuinness and Gerard Sands found common ground in the form of Radiohead, Aretha Franklin and The Velvet Underground.

Armed with the influences of Somerset Maugham, Paul Auster and John Cooper-Clarke, the pair formed a partnership – one that relies equally on instinct and guile.

Their creative vision has borne fruit with timeless, cinematic pop-noir. Powered by analogue instruments and retro recording techniques the music sways and breathes naturally.

Their themes are everywhere – the burning highs of lust, the fragility of heartache, the sting of betrayal and defiance in the face of hurt.

Dark Tropics released debut album Ink in late 2021 to widespread critical praise and are currently working on its follow-up.

‘Lovely, cinematic, understated pop’ -STEVE LAMACQ, BBC 6MUSIC 

‘This sounds beautiful’ – JO WILEY, BBC RADIO 2

‘Atmospheric, moody and complex with a maturity that goes beyond the realms of a debut release.’ – HOT PRESS

Doors 7.30pm | Limited Unreserved Seating


Beirut Groove Collective

Obscure 1960’s + 1970’s Clubbing Records from Africa, The Middle East + Around the World, with a special focus on Arabic Psych – Sudanese Jazz – Ethiopian Funk – Lebanese + Armenian Stompers.

Now entering its 13th year, BGC is the premier destination for soul-fuelled clubbing records from ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s Middle-East, Africa and the rest of the world. For over a decade, the DJ collective has thrown one of the Middle East’s most popular club nights in Beirut, pioneering obscure records from Lebanon, Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Armenia.

Representing an underground alternative to the nightlife of Beirut through regular parties in basement clubs, alternative beach venues and warehouse spaces at the forgotten fringes of the city, the BGC has been home for genuine crate-diggers and tastemakers from all over the world.

The New York Times included the BGC club nights in their list of the “Top 15” parties around the world.

Johnny Aux

Twitch Belfast presents Johnny Aux, the man behind some of the most interesting music to come out of the UK at present with acts including Paranoid London, Warmduscher, Decius, Sworn Virgins and more!

Quinn Whaley aka Johnny Aux has gained a reputation for creating distorted masterpieces in his various groups and under various pseudonyms.

The disco and 80’s sounds of Decius alongside members of Trashmouth Records/Medicine8 and Fat White Family, the rough techno anthems of Paranoid London, the classic disco sounds of Sworn Virgins or the wonky indie-pop Warmduscher, Quinn has had his influence stamped on all of these projects.

After a sellout show at the tail end of 2021, Johnny Aux returns to Twitch for a very special 2 hour set to showcase his distorted sounds!

Support on the night comes from More Gain and Twitch residents.

Doors 9.45pm | Mostly Standing

Dan Shipsides

Deployed throughout the Cathedral Quarter area, Shipsides will present a public artwork that features a series of twinned flags that play with and celebrate the expanding communicative beauty and potential of the spaces between laughter and language. A photographic series of the flags from another location will also be exhibited in the Green Room, Black Box, capturing the syzygetic unfurling and furling of the uttering of time, space, language and laughter. Ha ha.

Dan Shipsides, an artist based in Orchid Studios, Belfast, exhibits nationally and internationally and has received multiple awards. He works individually and within collaborative dynamics, notably that of Shipsides and Beggs Projects. He also teaches at the Belfast School of Art.

Wild Mountain Thyme

“WELCOME TO OIRLAND!” So opines the great Christopher Walken in the trailer to this infamous star-studded blarney from the pen of the man who brought us the equally infamous gorilla flick Congo.

The starry cast delivers a wildly diverse array of Irish accents – often at the same time and in the same scene – as they gurn and emote their way through this hokey cinematic tale set amongst the “wild mountain thyme”.

Headstrong farmer Rosemary Muldoon (Emily Blunt) has her heart set on winning her neighbour Anthony Reilly’s love. The problem is Anthony (Jamie Dornan) seems to have inherited a family curse, and remains oblivious to his beautiful admirer.

Stung by his father Tony’s (Christopher Walken) plans to sell the family farm to his American nephew (Jon Hamm), Anthony is jolted into pursuing his dreams in this unintentionally hilarious moving picture.

Join us for an unparalleled afternoon of celtic cringe, take part in our terrible Irish Accent competition and drink deep from the good stuff every time Jamie Dornan looks confused.

‘Makes the Quiet Man seem like Mean Streets’  – WHAT FILM

‘Finally, a film Christopher Walken is rubbish in.’  – CAHIERS DU CINEMA

Doors 1.30pm | Unreserved seating


David Browne Murray – Square One Album Launch

Having studied music at the Belfast School of Music, Belfast fingerstyle guitarist David Browne Murray received a scholarship to attend the Berkelee School of Musicin Boston.

In 2004 he won the Ards Guitar Festival Young Guitarist Competition and in 2011 he was the outright winner of Lee Ritenour’s Six String Theory Competition.

David has been actively involved in the music scene in Belfast since his return from Berklee in 2011. Since then he has toured Ireland with some of the world’s great guitarists such as Frank Vignola, Andy McKee, Jan Akkerman and had the privilege of opening forTommy Emmanuel in a sold-out Ulster Hall.

Musical interests and inspirations couldn’t be more varied from film scores to electronica, choral and orchestral music in particular – all of which have enabled him to develop a wonderfully original take on the world’s most popular instrument.

Now, some 10 years after the release of his debut CDLift and Drag, it’s high time for a new volume aptly titledSquare One.

Recorded this year in Dock Street Studios, the new album of all original compositions contains many of the tunes that have become favourites at his live gigs over the last five years.

Doors 2.30pm | Unreserved seating

Bad Bridget

Join Elaine Farrell, Leanne McCormick and guests as they discuss ‘Bad Bridgets’ and the untold stories of generations of Irish female immigrants to the USA that history chose to forget.

Elaine and Leanne, creators of the celebrated ‘Bad Bridget’ podcast, have unearthed a world in which Irishwomen actually outnumbered Irish men in prison, in which you could get locked up for ‘stubbornness’ and in which an Irish serial killer called Lizzie Halliday was described by the New York Times as ‘the worst woman on earth.

In their book, Bad Bridget: Crime, Mayhem and the Lives of Irish Emigrant Women  (Sandycove), they reveal the social forces that bred this mayhem and dysfunction, through stories that are brilliantly strange, sometimes funny, and often moving.

Doors 6.30pm | Unreserved seating

Róisín O

Enjoying a triumphant return to the Irish music scene as a solo artist, 2022 Saw Róisín O top the Irish and independent charts with her rapturously received album Courageous.

With tracks such as Heart +Bones, Still Gold, top 20 hit 2023, as well as Stolen, a co-write with Gavin James, still making waves at home and abroad, Róisín is delighted to bring her new show to CQAF.

Fresh from a world tour, Róisín entertained audiences across Europe, USA and Australia and is gearing up for an extensive Irish tour in 2023.

As well as many Irish festival appearances Róisín O has also shared the stage with a host of internationally renowned artists, including Lionel Richie, Bryan Ferry, Brad Paisley, Hozier and Colin Hay.

Róisín’s newly released album and recent world tour builds on a hugely successful musical career for the illustrious singer, but 2022 was Róisín O’s biggest year to date, with a number 1 Irish album, multiple top 20 singles and, for 2023, her renowned stage presence and electric energy is not to be missed.


Fly Magic

Timo Vollbrecht is a Brooklyn-based saxophonist, composer, bandleader, and scholar. His music combines jazz with elements of post-rock, electronics, and instrumental songwriting. Originally from Germany, he has been a celebrated force in the creative music scenes of New York for over a decade. He has toured over 30 countries, appeared on numerous albums, and performed on landmark stages like the Village Vanguard and NYC’s Winter Jazz Fest.

Aside from his longstanding signature band FLY MAGIC, he also leads a trio with guitarist Ben Monder and vocalist Theo Bleckmann and has played with Branford Marsalis, Miho Hazama, Kenny Werner, and Ralph Alessi.

His latest recordings, Fly Magic (2016) and Faces in Places(2018), were both the featured “Jazz Album of the Week” on NDR Radio and appeared on influential playlists such as Spotify’s State of Jazz. His newest release, Givers & Takers, is coming out on October 21, 2022. The NYC Jazz Record describes Timo as a “luminously-fine” saxophonist whose music is “blessed with rhythmic fluidity and intricate twists.” As a composer, he has worked with dance, film, and podcasts and wrote a string quartet that was performed by the NYC-based JACK Quartet.

Moreover, Vollbrecht utilizes his insight as a practitioner to conduct scholarly research. He holds a Ph.D. from NYU with a dissertation entitled “Manfred Eicher, ECM Records: An Analysis of the Producer as Auteur.” It is an in vivo case study that portrays producer Eicher as an improviser whose ‘instrument’ is the studio. He was recently appointed Director of Jazz Studies at Brown University.


Doors 7.30pm | Unreserved seating

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The Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival and Out To Lunch are annual festivals of music, comedy, theatre, art and literature which take place in January and May in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

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Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival / Out To Lunch Arts Festival
Unit 8
Northern Whig House
Bridge Street