Out to Lunch Festival

For 12 years, the Out to Lunch Festival has been brightening up the winters in Belfast and this year it returns once again from 6 to 29 January with an eclectic mix of music, comedy, theatre and more. The boutique festival has so much to offer this year, with performances from the incredibly talented James Vincent McMorrow and the legendary Fairport Convention to look forward to, as well as a closing gig from the icon that is Billy Bragg, who will be appearing with Joe Henry in the Ulster Hall.

“It’s been a surprise and pleasure to watch Out to Lunch grow from a small scale, once-off event in 2006 to a major Winter arts festival for the city featuring artists the calibre of Billy Bragg in the Ulster Hall and Mary Chapin Carpenter in St Anne’s Cathedral,” said Festival Director Sean Kelly. “At its heart however, the festival’s offer remains unchanged – a quality, diverse and affordable range of arts events in intimate settings that shows the city at its forward-looking best. We hope the people of Belfast, and visitors to the city, will join us getting 2017 off to a creative start and will ‘fill their boots’ with lots of great comedy, theatre and music.”

There will be live music aplenty, with a diverse range of styles on offer. Turin Brakes, Mulligan Brothers, Aja Arkestra, Alana & Jarlath Henderson and Mark Kermode’s Dodge Brothers will offer some exceptional live music treats over the course of the festival. If electronic music is more your thing, the festival has you covered with some special performances lined up, including DJ Norman Jay and a special DJ duo comprising of psychedelic musician Kavus Torabi and former snooker world champion Steve Davis.

There will be plenty of laughs to be had when NHS doctor, BBC broadcaster, Private Eye journalist and whistle-blowing comic Phil Hammond comes to town. Hammond will combine both of his 2016 sell-out four star Edinburgh Fringe shows into one riotous evening of entertainment. Deadpan comic Kevin McAleer will Say Yes to Yes in a life-changing hour of living fully in the moment, with meditation, mindfulness, deep breathing, tai chi, yoga, bee venom therapy, psychic flower arranging, singing with dolphins and digital photography. Father Ted fans are in for a treat with Further Ted, an evening of hilarity with three of the funniest Father Ted “priests”:  Michael Redmond, Joe Rooney and Patrick McDonnell.

Fresh from his supporting John Cooper Clarke at the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival, performance poet extraordinaire Mike Garry returns to Belfast. His work is at times funny, heartbreaking and emotional and this show is sure to be a rare treat.

The Importance of Being Oscar, meanwhile, is a compelling theatrical tapestry by which reveals the wit, triumph and tragedy of Oscar Wilde, in an explosion of richness, boldness, passion and beauty. Written by Micheál MacLiammóir, it includes excerpts from the poetry, letters and dramatic writings of Wilde.

While many of us feel like staying in once January comes along after the busy Christmas period, Belfast has decided to once again embrace the New Year to the fullest. There is a genuinely amazing array of talent on show, with something in the impressive line-up that everyone can enjoy. If you’re visiting Belfast this month, be sure to head Out to Lunch.



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