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Halloween Fireworks Show | © Declan Keegan / Flickr
Halloween Fireworks Show | © Declan Keegan / Flickr

15 Belfast Events to Look Forward to in 2017

Picture of Niamh McGovern
Updated: 1 February 2017

Belfast is set to host some of the biggest sporting events of the year, along with the fantastic city festivals for film, music, celebration and culture. Here’s the list of events to look forward to the most in 2017.

Cirque Berserk! 2017

Cirque Berserk! will have you sitting on the edge of your seat this year when this famous theatre circus comes to town at the end of February and beginning of March. Over 30 juggling and acrobatic acts join stunt teams and fire breathers for two hours of spectacular entertainment, which will open at the historic Grand Opera House.

Cirque Berserk will show in the Grand Opera House from Feb 28–March 5, 2017.

Grand Opera House, 2-4 Great Victoria St, Belfast, North Ireland, UK, +44 28 9024 1919

Belfast Jazz Festival

Brilliant Corners Jazz Festival is one of the best in alternative music this year, bringing together old and new jazz artists for a series of concerts in March. This year, the festival will pay homage to Ornette Coleman, a man credited with fine-tuning the free jazz movement; the festival will include favourite saxophonist Tommy Smith and pianist Brian Kellock. If you’ve caught the La La Land bug this January, this festival will introduce you to the hottest jazz music in Northern Ireland this year.

Belfast Jazz Festival will take place from March 7–11, 2017.

Multiple locations in Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK

Belfast Film Festival 2017

The Belfast Film Festival will continue to shine in its 17th year in 2017, screening classic and indie films in various locations throughout the city while holding special screenings and question events with famous directors. Last year’s events included a fantastic spotlight on Women in Creative Industries and ‘Requiem For An American Dream’ with Noam Chomsky.

The Belfast Film Festival will run from March 30–April 8, 2017.

Multiple locations in Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK

Belfast Film Festival Screening | Courtesy of Belfast Film Festival

Belfast Film Festival Screening | Courtesy of Belfast Film Festival

Ice Hockey World Championship 2017

The IIHF World Championships will finish in Belfast this April, after Northern Ireland was chosen over Estonia to host Division 1B in 2017. The event will take place at the SSE Arena, previously the Odyssey and home to the Stenaline Belfast Giant’s ice hockey team. Since 2000, the venue has been a celebrated site of Belfast sport and will be the first venue in the United Kingdom to host the World Championship in 25 years. At least 16 nations are set to compete in the games, with Cologne and Paris set to host the Division 1A games.

The Ice Hockey World Championship will take place in Belfast from April 23–29, 2017.

SSE Arena, 2 Queens Quay, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK, +44 28 9076 6000

Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival

Over 60,000 people attend this annual festival, which features a range of fringe performances and headline acts beside Belfast’s beautiful St Anne’s Cathedral. With a folk-town twist, this event – paired with the great menus available at 30 participating venues – is perfect for the indie music lover. Skip dinner and a show for brunch with headline performers The Stranglers, Tracey Thorn and many others this April.

The Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival will take place from April 27–May 7, 2017.

Multiple locations in Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK

Festival of Fools

The Festival of Fools is one of Belfast’s most unusual and exciting spring events, which includes 120 free public shows of music, dance, theatre and magic all over the city. These spellbinding performances attract talent from around Europe and local organisations like Belfast Circus. From solo comedy acts to knife throwing, juggling and circus delights, there is something for every spectator in this colourful festival. This event will also coordinate with 17 food caterers in the city, so you can savour a taste of street cuisine while you enjoy a street show.

Festival of Fools will take place from April 28–May 1, 2017.

Multiple locations in Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK

Giro d’Italia 2017

Since 2016, cyclists from around the world have been racing through a 175-kilometre (108.7-mile) route in Northern Ireland’s Mourne Mountains in the Gran Fondo Giro d’Italia. Starting at Titanic Belfast, this course will track through some of Northern Ireland’s most beautiful locations, including Castlewellan and Carlingford Lough, before finishing back in Belfast. It’s one of the most arduous cycling routes in Europe, reaching a height of 8,000 feet (2,438.4 meters) at its peak.

The Giro d’Italia 2017 will take place from June 3–4, 2017.

Belsonic Festival

Belsonic is already becoming the most anticipated event of the year, with headline artists Chainsmokers and The 1975 confirmed, along with Jess Glynne. This star-studded music festival will take place at Belfast’s Ormeau Park this June, kicking off Belfast’s summer of music in 2017. Tickets are available from February onwards, via ticketmaster®.

Belsonic will take place from June 16–30, 2017.

Ormeau Park, Ormeau Rd, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK, +44 28 9032 0202

Belsonic Stage | © Albert Bridge / Geograph

Belsonic Stage | © Albert Bridge / Geograph

Maritime Festival

The Titanic Maritime Festival is a coastal festival with arts, markets, family activities, and an opportunity to board the visiting ships on Belfast’s docks. The celebration continues into the evening with live theatre and musical performances by the sea. Be sure to check out the Titanic Pop-Up Picnic during this festive weekend!

The Maritime Festival will run from June 17–18, 2017.

Queen’s Quay, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK

Thalassa at Belfast Maritime Festival | © Ardfern

Thalassa at Belfast Maritime Festival | © Ardfern

World 24-Hour Championship 2017

East Belfast’s Victoria Park, and its 1.7-kilometre (1.05-mile) park route, will be the venue for the World 24-Hour race at the beginning of the summer. In the event’s 12th year, over 300 of the best runners from Ireland, Britain and beyond will meet to race during a 24-hour period. Whether you’re a qualifying runner, or a spectator, this event promises to be a fantastic race, attracting some of the best athletes and organisations from around the world.

World 24-Hour will take place from July 1–2, 2017.

Victoria Park, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK

Women’s Rugby World Cup 2017

The 8th edition of the Women’s Rugby World Cup will be held in Ireland this August, finishing at Queen’s University and Kingspan Stadium, Belfast. Both the semi-finals and finals will be held in Northern Ireland’s capital after the initial pool stages commence in Dublin. Qualifying teams come from Americas, Europe, Oceania and Asia for the biggest sports event in Belfast in 2017.

The Women’s World Rugby will be held in August 2017.

Multiple locations in Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK

Belfast Mela

Over 30,000 visitors attended the 10th anniversary of the Belfast Mela celebrations in 2016 in the beautiful Botanical Gardens in the heart of South Belfast. Coordinated by ArtsEkta, the Mela showcases the best in food, art, fashion, music and live dance performances from around the world, celebrating a range of religions and cultures across the city. Taking place on the biggest holiday weekend of the year, this event is a must-see for first-time visitors and locals alike.

The Belfast Mela will take place on August 27, 2017.

Botanical Gardens, College Park, Botanic Ave, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK, +44 28 9023 1381

Dancers at Belfast Mela | © Ardfern

Dancers at Belfast Mela | © Ardfern

Culture Night 2017

Belfast’s biggest culture event is an unmissable night across 100 venues. This September, Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter opens its doors to host over 250 events, from spotlight artists to comedy performances. Food and drink is the main event; Culture Night hosts a range of mini-markets, and most food venues will hold special tasting sessions and menu options for the occasion. The atmosphere and crowded streets make this event bigger and better each year; it’s a must-visit event for 2017.

Culture Night will be held on September 15, 2017.

Multiple locations in Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK

Halloween Metro Monster Mash

The Titanic Belfast will light up the sky again this Halloween for a special celebration of culture and costume. Along with traditional Halloween competitions and activities, the event explores Diwali and Samhain winter celebrations through dance and magical fire performances throughout the day. The event ends with a spectacular fireworks and lantern show overlooking the Titanic Quarter. This event is a dazzling mixture of lights and diversity, teaching kids about winter celebration all around the world.

The Titanic Metro Monster Mash will take place on October 29, 2017.

St George’s Twilight Market

The Twilight Market brings Northern Ireland’s award-winning market to an entirely new level. During November, the market will hold a special evening opening to include the Variety Market stalls, and a few extra surprises. If you can beat the crowds, the Twilight Market offers some of the best gourmet food, craft beers and home-brewed coffee in the city.

The Twilight Market will take place this November.

St George’s Market, 12-20 East Bridge St, Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK