After 16 months without a show, AVA made a mighty return this weekend as they welcomed 10,000 guests to their brand new sold out open air festival site at Boucher Road Playing Fields across the 24th + 25th of September. An unmatched electricity and fully charged energy was felt in every element of AVA, both the artists who played blinding sets, or the party people who danced solidly for two days. The Belfast spirit was strong as ever, and AVA would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who was a part of 2021’s show.

On top of their signature electronic sound, AVA 2021 was full of surprises as the festival’s 2021 homecoming edition welcomed alternative live acts to their line-up. The brand new THE GRASSES stage was a successful alternative edition to the usual programming, welcoming homegrown live talent in Gemma Dunleavy, Kojaque, Aby Coulibaby on Saturday with a trio of impressive live performances and a mosh pit for Kojaque’s charged rap performance. Hat’s off to Dunleavy who stole the show. Come nightfall on Friday there was pounding techno from mystery man DJ Boneyard, plus Saoirse who played a blinder with a set spanning eclectic techno and a rare peek at her own forthcoming productions.

On the main industrial SURROUND stage hosted by Boiler Room during the day; ki/ki, object blue, Kink, Carista and FJAAK soundtracked the show with thousands of fist pumping fans. Local legends Kessler and Swoose made a welcome homecoming to Belfast, and Belfast icon and television personality Jullian Simmons made a surprise visit to introduce Swoose’s set – a change from his news and weatherman duties. All of which are available to play back on Boiler Room, YouTube and Apple Music. By Night the SURROUND became our Main Stage with headline sets from Helena Hauff, Or:la, Sally C b2b Cromby and Hammer – paired with a bespoke AV show from Kevin Gartland. THE NOMADIC Stage was also host to some stand-out sets from international acts and homegrown heroes across the Saturday and Sunday. The greenhouse space saw Optimo dropping ABBA classics whilst Jordan Nocturne, Holly Lester Space Dimension Controller and many more represented for the Belfast contingent. THE BALTIC was another new additional area to AVA with special cross-genre sets from local artists and a chill-out space.

With a brand new site and one of the most enthusiastic crowds you’ll find anywhere in the world, this weekend’s edition of Belfast’s AVA Festival felt like a milestone achievement.

Resident Advisor

BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Radio Foyle broadcast live from AVA, with almost 11 hours of live programmes, featuring incredible music from 3 stages on the Boucher Road site. This included extracts of sets from Or:la, Jayda G, Hammer, Sunil Sharpe, Saoirse, Holly Lester, Kojaque, Phil Kieran, Optimo, Kwame Daniels, Sally C and Cromby and so many more. You can hear all of the BBC’s AVA coverage on BBC Sounds for the next 30 days.  

Continuing both stations’ support of homegrown music and arts BBC Radio Ulster and BBC Radio Foyle were hugely excited to be able to bring our audience almost 11 hours of live coverage from the festival site. This was alongside warm-up sets and interviews in advance – and highlights after the weekend – from just some of the incredible DJs, musicians, producers and artists who took part. It was very special feeling the rumble of music below our feet again.

Carole O’Kane, Content Editor, Events. BBC N.Ireland

AVA would like to thank each and every artist, team member and person who made this special show run so smoothly. Plus, the stage hosts / streaming partners including Boiler Room and BBC Radio Ulster & BBC Foyle, and very importantly local support from the Belfast community. As well as Arts Council NI, Tourism Ireland, and the Festival drinks partners The Titanic Distillers, Grolsch, Kopperberg and Red Bull. Without all of these people and their support, AVA would not be possible. AVA will see a return to their June dates in 2022, tickets will be available to pre-order on Monday, October 4th at 9AM. (Exclusively for those who have supported AVA over the last 7 years).

We are totally blown away by the weekend. The energy, the atmosphere, the crowd, the music, the weather, the flow all aligned into something so special. AVA has grown organically over the last 7 years, and this marked a big step up for us, after 18 difficult months without a show. A huge thank you to everyone who bought a ticket, brought incredible energy and made this return so memorable. And a huge thank you to all of the staff, artists, partners and volunteers. See you for more in 2022!

Sarah McBriar, AVA Founder 

We are already hard at work on next year’s AVA, returning to the start of the summer… tickets go on sale next week, first artists, venue and stage details will be announced by the end of the year.

AVA 2022 Tickets go on General Sale, Wednesday October 6th – Sign up HERE

AVA 2022 Pre-sale tickets go on sale, Monday, October 4th at 9AM 

(Exclusively for those who have supported AVA over the last 6 years)


  • Super Early Bird (Weekend Ticket) – £80
  • Early Bird (Weekend Ticket) – £85
  • Tier 1 (Weekend Ticket) – £90
  • Tier 1 (Weekend Instalment Ticket) – £30 across a three series instalment plan. (£90)
  • Subject to license / Over 18s

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