Look North – The North Belfast Festival takes place over the weekend of the 24 to 26 February 2023 celebrating the heritage and creative talents of North Belfast.

Our festival programme is jam-packed with a wide range of activities and interests showcasing and celebrating North Belfast’s rich heritage, cultural, creative and literary talents, with appearances from local authors, artists and young people, though it is not limited to the area.  It includes talks, walks, poetry readings, panel discussions, music, tours of historic buildings and four creative writing classes in Novel writing, Poetry, Crime Fiction and Craft. The Look North! Short Story Literary 2023 Competition is now open for entries, see our website for full details.

Festival Programme

Planned and delivered by the NBF network, it is led by The John Hewitt Society and includes The North Belfast Heritage Cluster, The Duncairn, Beat Carnival, Imagine Belfast, Ulster University, and other interested individuals who reside in or work in North Belfast.

Welcoming the Festival, Liam Hannaway, Chair of The Arts Council of Northern Ireland said, ‘The Arts Council is delighted to support what will be a tremendous celebration of arts in and of North Belfast.’

Speaking at the launch in The Duncairn, Dr Frank Ferguson of The John Hewitt Society said “It is a great pleasure to bring a festival to this part of Belfast where John Hewitt was born and grew up, and which shaped his views on life. The Festival is open to all and is important in recognising the rich heritage and cultural contributions of North Belfast. I would like to thank my fellow committee members for all their support in producing this exciting programme, and especially to our funders, The Arts Council of Northern Ireland, National Lottery Community Fund, Belfast City Council, Belfast Harbour, Belfast Charitable Society, Cathedral Quarter and Ulster University for  their support.”

Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Tina Black, who launched the festival said: “Look North! is an inspirational and entertaining celebration of north Belfast’s artistic, literary, musical and creative talents, its unique heritage and cultural traditions. It’s great to see the 2023 events build on the success of last year’s first programme.

“Everyone is welcome at these genuinely inclusive events, taking place in no fewer than 19 venues, including the beautiful Duncairn Centre and the stunning Ulster University campus. I’d like to congratulate all the festival partners led by the John Hewitt Society, with input from many individuals and community, voluntary and church groups. It’s wonderful to see what we can achieve when we work together and truly collaborate.”

Bill Shaw, Director at The Duncairn, welcomed guests to the launch and gave special mention to North Belfast’s rich cultural history. He said:

“The Duncairn Arts Centre was created to reflect and showcase the wealth of creative output in this side of the city. We’re delighted that this exciting programme brings North Belfast further into the cultural spotlight & we’re thrilled to be working in partnership with so many people and organisations that make North Belfast the special place it is!”

To view the full schedule and to book for events or workshops, please visit northbelfastfestival.com.

Do join in the fun by following us on our socials and look out for the festival brochure and flyers in your local area.