FORMER X Factor songstress Amelia Lily will be the star attraction at this year’s St Patrick`s Day concert in Belfast, part of a four-day bumper festival.
The annual celebrations, organised by Belfast City Council, have been extended and will run from Friday, March 15 – Monday, March 18 with the parade and concert at Custom House Square on St Patrick`s Day itself.
Also entertaining the crowds at the free event on Sunday, March 17, will be David Julien of The Voice fame, folk group Blackthorn and Ulster-Scots group Rightly On. Tir na N`Og Irish Dancers and Ballysillan Highland Dancers will also be performing on stage.
The concert will be hosted by Citybeat breakfast presenters Stephen Clements and Megan Mackay.
Lord Mayor Alderman Gavin Robinson was joined by Stephen Clements at City Hall on Friay as he announced details of the exciting line up.
He said the programme had something to suit all ages with the emphasis on family fun and entertainment.
Alderman Robinson added: “The four-day programme is set to be a vibrant and exciting time for Belfast; the city is going to be buzzing. The carnival and concert have become an important part of the city`s annual celebrations and this year we have even more on offer as we welcome the first St Patrick`s Festival.
“There really is something for everyone with some fascinating events planned that will explore the story of St Patrick. City Hall will be the focal point but events will be happening at venues across the city including Ulster Hall, Waterfront Hall, St George`s Market, Linenhall Library, An Culturlann and the Oh Yeah music centre. I`d encourage everyone to come along and enjoy the free events on offer. ”
City Hall will host a variety of activities including talks and exhibitions, music workshops, dance, traditional craft demonstrations, children`s arts and crafts, and storytelling. On Saturday there`ll be a waste workshop to create a giant shamrock out of waste and recycled materials.
Visitors will also have the opportunity to get up close and personal with a snake and find out more about these fascinating creatures which are a central part of St Patrick`s story.
As well as showing some of the live rugby and GAA action over the St Patrick`s weekend, the big screen at City Hall will show films including classics The Quiet Man and Into the West. Film lovers will be able to enjoy a spot of open air cinema on the lawn with seating and heating provided, and a variety of food stalls will offer snacks.
The Ulster Hall will host a ceili with the Cathal McAnulty Ceili band and the McPeake Family alongside singers, musicians and Irish dancers. There will also be a tea dance, music and poetry workshops, and a photographic exhibition, as well as film screenings of The Commitments and Darby O`Gill and The Little People.
St George`s Market will have live themed music and family entertainment throughout the weekend as well as Irish dancing.
The concert at Custom House Square is a non-ticketed event and entry will be on a first come, first served basis with gates opening at 12 noon. This year a special `kids` zone` will be created over at the `Big Fish` to allow toddlers and younger children to soak up the buzz and atmosphere away from the crowds.
Full details of the St Patrick`s Festival programme, including venues and times, can be found at www.belfastcity.gov.uk/stpatricksday or call the Belfast Welcome Centre for more information on 028 9024 6609.