Belfast culture night’s return being explored

Home UK News Belfast culture night’s return being explored
Belfast culture night’s return being explored


Culture Night took place in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter

Belfast City Council is to explore the possibility of bringing culture night back to the city in 2025.

It had been one of the city’s biggest free cultural events but has not returned to the calendar following the Covid-19 pandemic.

The last full culture night in 2019 attracted about 100,000 people.

On Friday, councillors were told it, or an alternative event, would also not take place this year but a return in 2025 is a possibility.

Culture Night events in Belfast

Dance, drama and music performances all formed part of Culture Night events


Held on the third weekend in September, culture night events are held in other towns and cities in Northern Ireland.

It had since 2009, been run by the Cathedral Quarter Trust to promote locals arts, businesses and heritage in the city centre.

Last year, the trust said it would not be involved in any future culture night events following the withdrawal of departmental funding.

In April, Belfast’s deputy mayor, Green Party councillor Áine Groogan, said it was “embarrassing” that culture night will not return this year.

She had proposed a scaled down alternative that would take place on 20 September, when culture night is held elsewhere.

In a report presented to the council’s Strategic Policy and Resources Committee on Friday, officials said that was not an option.

Getty Images Culture Night events in BelfastGetty Images

The Cathedral Quarter Trust said last year funding cuts meant it would no longer be involved

It said a wide range of cultural events are already taking place as part of Belfast 2024, which runs until November.

Hosting an alternative to culture night this year, the report said, would require “significant time and human resources”.

However, officials have now recommended the allocation of “up to £30,000 to the facilitation of an engagement programme with the wider cultural sector, key funders, partners and other interested parties in relation to culture night from September 2025 and onwards”.

‘Well thought out plan’

The £30,000, the council officials’ report added, would come from this year’s underspend.

“An understanding of available funds would be linked to the reporting of the year end position in June,” the report noted.

Speaking at Friday’s meeting, Green Party councillor Brian Smyth said the proposal for an alternative event for this year had “been well thought out”.

“We are disappointed at how this has played out,” he said.

He added: “When we look at what other cities are doing, we may well be asked what Belfast is doing for culture night.”

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