Culture night is the most exciting night of the Belfast calendar. Roads of the Cathedral Quarter become pedestrianized, buildings open their doors and every street, alley and courtyard is full of exciting discoveries from music, theatre, drumming, singing, art, circus and everything in between. And it’s all for free. With so many events happening every persons’ Culture Night story is unique. It’s a night to rediscover the city, venture into areas and streets you wouldn’t normally, have fun and support the wonderful varied arts talent our city has to offer.
Here’s an extract from my NI Lights blog post from 2014…
I was eager to make the most of every minute so I hightailed it out of work and headed straight to Writers Square. On the way I passed some wonderful theatrical storytelling on Rosemary Street and the Swing Gals doing their sound check in the Assembly Rooms before I was greeted with the rhythmic drumming of Chidambaram Samba Band in front of St Anne’s Cathedral. My sister then joined me for a much needed after work swally in the John Hewitt while we listened to Sal Hanvey perform songs from her new EP. Saxophone
Then it was time to meet the brother and his family in the Buoy park where my 6 year old niece was enjoying crawling around with chalk colouring in the pavement and my two nephews, aged 11 and 10 were just looking a feed.
We caught the BMX riders of T13 doing their amazing stunts and tricks – this kept the boys happy… for a bit, we checked out the roller derby girls and headed to the assembly rooms to lock the boys in vault! After stopping at the camper van jam we enjoyed the Swing Gals in the historic Assembly building with my niece weaving her way through the front – and I of course as a caring aunt had to follow suit! She was loving it and so was I!
The boys (and their da) weren’t fully embracing the culture so they decided to head home, happy days …. Here Come the Girls!! We caught the carnival in high street with the urban ballet and while we were revelling in the carnival atmosphere at the side lines every member of the parade looked like they were having the time of their life. We popped into the dark horse for a light refreshment before taking a look at the new mural in the courtyard and having a read of Alice McCullough’s superb poem “Belfast, you’re doing my head in!” This lady is one talented gal, what an amazing achievement to have your work up on the wall in one of the busiest hubs in Belfast. We managed to get into the circus school for a fabulous ribbon display and juggling from the youth circus and some captivating FirePoise, all of which had us mesmerised. Pure entertainment.
Music had the run of the evening, so in between all that the night becomes a fantastic blur of Trash music from the f!!!sakes in the window of Bill Harris Hairdressing, Reggae booming out from the courtyard off north street, beautiful choral harmonies with the majestic backdrop of St Anne’s Cathedral and our evening ending wonderfully with more samba drumming being pounded out by the Streetwise Samba Band.