THE 28th Féile an Phobail programme has been launched to a packed Conway Mill courtyard.
Attended by Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams, along with leading lights from the theatre, sport and the arts sector, Féile Director Kevin Gamble told those gathered how much hard work and preparation had gone into the 2016 programme.
“We are delighted to be able to present such a strong programme that incorporates the biggest names in music, drama and discussion,” he said.
“We couldn’t do it without our partners and sponsors, including the Arts Council, Tourism NI, Active Communties, Foras na Gaeilge, Belfast City Council and Translink.
“We are more than happy to see our pouring partner Harp and of course the Harp Angel here and all those who come together to support and actively make Féile happen.
“For 11 days in August we plan to show the very best of West Belfast to the world, putting the spotlight firmly on the Gaeltacht Quarter and the city. There is an open invitation to all to come along and help us celebrate,” he said.
West Belfast MP Paul Maskey described Féile as his “favourite time of year”.
“I remember the first Féile that took place in Springhill and it’s wonderful to see it go from strength to strength into its 28th year.
“The festival and its line-up year on year is nothing short of first class and the community spirit during it is second to none. It brings the best in international and local talent to a number of iconic venues in West Belfast such as St Mary’s University College, the award winning Falls Park and Cultúrlann.
“I am delighted to attend this launch and delighted to see how the festival continues to keep moving forward.”
Brassneck artistic director Tony Devlin treated those gathered to an extract from Belfast Rising, a production that explores the impact that Belfast had upon the Easter Rising which will be staged in the Roddy McCorley Society from Wednesday August 3 until Saturday August 6.
Also in attendance were Belfast boxing Olympians Paddy Barnes, Michael Conlon and Brendan Irvine who received a rousing receptions and the first Spirit of Féile awards for their inspirational contribution to the community through sport.
Headliners for the series of Falls Park Big Top shows include All Saints, Deacon Blue, The Kooks, The Coronas, Holly Johnson, Hue and Cry, Roland Gift and more. This year's Clonard gig features three of the most seminal living Irish female performers in Sharon Shannon, Frances Black and Mary Coughlan with special guest Brigid O'Neill, and The Wolfe Tones will be playing out the Féile at Falls Park on 14 August.
For more information on the Féile programme visit Tickets for all Falls Park Big Top concerts are available from all TicketMaster venues including Kennedy Centre Post Office.