14th Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival is launched

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NORTHERN Ireland’s most dynamic arts festival returns from May 2-12 to transform Belfast’s city centre with a glittering riot of live music, comedy, spoken word and visual arts plus a host of other eclectic treats.

The full programme for the 14th Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival was unveiled at a packed launch in the intimate surrounds of the Sunflower Public House – the festival’s newest partner venue.

With Adam Ant and Dexys amongst the early headliners announced, the unveiling of the full 14th CQAF line-up has become the most eagerly-anticipated festival programme of 2013.

The iconic acts that brought you number one smashes Come on Eileen and Stand & Deliver will be joined in the CQAF programme by acts spanning the full colourful gamut of the musical spectrum, from folk to hip hop, bluegrass to jazz, and indie to afrobeat.

Highlights include The Fall, DJ Yoda, Amadou and Mariam, Lucy Rose, Mary Gauthier, British Sea Power, Julie Fowlis, The Neil Cowley Trio, Nathan Fake, Angel Olsen, Chuck Prophet, Valerie June, Bronagh Gallagher, Hiss Golden Messenger and Thee Oh Sees.

Elsewhere there’s a triumphant headlining homecoming for local musical heroes And So I Watch You From Afar, hot on the heels of their stunning third album All Hail Bright Futures.

The festival’s 2011 showstopper John Grant has kept his promise return to the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival on completion of his latest album, Pale Green Ghosts and is set to kick off CQAF in supremely melodramatic style.

Godfather of indie and godlike genius Edwyn Collins also returns to the festival fold. Having delivered one of the gigs of the year at our sister Out to Lunch Festival in 2010, Collins looks set to repeat the trick in 2013 – this time in the Festival Marquee in Custom House Square.

Special mention must also go to this year’s CQAF Artist in residence Alana Henderson. A singer-songwriter-cellist with an enthrallingly distinctive sound, Henderson looks set to break big this year – catch her first at a variety of CQAF gigs throughout the festival.

Award-winning authors Will Self and Lucy Caldwell, much decorated Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk, the BBC’s Gavin Esler and the remarkable octogenarian travel writer Dervla Murphy contribute to the wealth of words in the festival’s literature and spoken word programme.

Leading the laughs is the elusive, enigmatic Daniel Kitson. Richard Herring’s celebrated Talking Cock will be deftly steering clear of the obvious stand-up gags in the festival marquee, while old festival favourites Mark Thomas, Sean Hughes and Andrew Maxwell all make hugely welcome returns to CQAF.

Adam Buxton’s BUG makes its long overdue Northern Ireland debut and Belfast’s favourite comedy son Roy Walker will be found entertaining a captive audience the Crumlin Road jail in what might be the most vibrant comedy line-up yet seen at the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival.

Other highlights unveiled at the programme launch were the Faulty Towers dining experience (with Basil, Sybil and Manuel, while you eat), Nick Drake, an Illustrated Lecture by legendary music producer Joe Boyd, The History of the Troubles (According to my Da) – which began as a CQAF production, the de-lovely CQAF institution that is Glitter and Sparkle, a CQAF film programme which includes the Cinemobile (a cinema in a truck no less) plus a dizzying programme of visual arts events in interesting spaces and places, curated by the acclaimed art collective Household.

All this and a healthy helping of exciting happenings, events, sights and surprises across the city’s Cathedral Quarter and beyond.

To see the full line-up and to buy tickets go to www.cqaf.com.