It’s been a while, but Belfast’s most dynamic arts festival is back! Fully masked and double jabbed, Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival returns from 2-12 September, with an incredible programme of live music, comedy, theatre, literature, screenings and more!

Heralding a more hopeful future for live events, organisers say the 21st Festival will be safe, secure and above all celebratory.

Full health and safety precautions will also be observed at all events, including the wearing of masks to and from seats, social distancing and proof of double vaccination for entry to the main Festival Marquee Events.

A Live Music programme packed with quality and distinction takes place over 10 days in venues right across the city’s historic Cathedral Quarter, from the Festival Marquee in Writer’s Square to the much-missed Black Box and our partner pub venue the Sunflower. Highlights includes the very welcome return of two of this island’s finest singers: Lisa Hannigan, Bronagh Gallagher. Other marquee delights include Kíla, From the Specials – thelegendary Neville Staple, theincomparable Sharon Shannon, festivalfavourites King Kong Company, a preciously rare live outing by The Adventures, andthefabulous Camille O’Sullivan invitesyoutojoinherinher Cave! Elswhere Luka Bloom, Ciaran Lavery and Grainne Duffy make welcome returns to live music and the Festival. Bell X1 (acoustic with Dowry Strings) and Erland Cooper will be fillingSt Annes Cathedraland 1st Presbyterian Church respectivelywith their heavenly sound. Other live music highlights – too many to mention – include Shadows and Light – The Songs of Joni Mitchell, Norman Jay MBE, John Murry, Dave Arcari, The Bonnevilles, The Sabrejets, Gwenifer Raymond, Deptford Northern Soul Club, John Blek, The Remedy Club, Christine Bovill’s Piaf, Robocobra Quartet, Native Harrow, Niamh Murray, Leo Miyagee andour amazing CQAF 2021 Artist in Residence, Reevah.

Festival Director Sean Kelly said: “This might just be the most hotly anticipated of all our 21 festivals! That goes for us as well as our audience. After a long 18 months, we’re truly thrilled to be able to host a full festival of live events.

Live music has always been a mainstay of CQAF and we’re incredibly proud to once again be bringing some of the best music acts around to audiences in Belfast. We won’t be sacrificing safety however, and the strictest standards will apply to all our events. This includes distancing and wearing of masks at all possible times, and the requirement of proof of double vaccination and lateral flow tests for entry to our main Marquee events. But the fact we’re able to have a festival at all is a cause for celebration. So come join us for 11 days of great live festival events, and hopefully the start of a brighter future for the arts.”

Noirin McKinney, Director of Arts Development, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said, “The Arts Council is delighted to see Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival return with an exciting line-up of live events for 2021.  Despite the huge challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic and on-going restrictions and uncertainties, Sean and his team have curated an impressive programme with something to suit all tastes and I would encourage everyone to go along and support this terrific festival this September.”

The 21st Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival runs from 2-12 September. For full programme and booking info go to

The 21st Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival is generously supported by Arts Council NI, Belfast City Council, Tourism NI, Erdinger and Film Hub NI.


For further information, images or interviews, please contact Joseph Nawaz at or 07599798472.