Belfast TradFest brings Ulster University alive with the sound of Irish traditional music

Belfast Tradfest is a week-long event full of Irish traditional music, song and dance featuring some of the best traditional artists from across these islands and beyond.

This event is the only one of its kind in Northern Ireland, and brings together both the Irish and the Ulster-Scots musical traditions, in a shared celebration of culture and heritage in a vibrant urban setting.

Community is at the core of the programming of the festival with the cornerstone summer school event being hosted at the Ulster University Belfast Campus. This year’s event ran from 25 – 29 July, exceeding targeted numbers with over 320 attendees, 60 of which were granted a scholarship to attend. The week consisted of a range of masterclasses, workshops and lectures from internationally-renowned performers with proven track records as teachers and educationalists including Sharon Shannon, Steve Cooney and Bríghde Chaimbeul.

Artistic Director of Belfast TradFest, Dónal O’Connor says:

“Our partnership with Ulster University has been vital to the success of the summer school of traditional music at Belfast TradFest. The University’s sponsorship in kind and the use of the world class facilities in York St. lend themselves to enhanced learning from the very best traditional musicians from these islands and beyond.

We believe that bringing young people from all backgrounds into the University building makes the concept of third level education seem much more achievable and breaks down the barriers to access for young people of disadvantage. Hopefully the summer school week will have helped build confidence in relation to certain aspects of both social and academic possibilities in future third level education. We look forward to building our relationship with UU in the future. Many thanks to Professor Frank Lyons for encouraging and facilitating this important work.”

Ulster University has been a partner of the event since its launch in 2017 and has re-established this connection for its return in 2022 and beyond.

Professor Frank Lyons MBE, Associate Dean of Research at Ulster University says:

‘It’s been exciting to see the partnership between Ulster University and the Belfast TradFest grow over the past five years, with our Belfast Campus hosting hundreds of people of all ages in dozens of workshops and performances each year, with the 2022 Summer School breaking all previous records.

The Belfast TradFest is unique in its urban location, providing access in the heart of the city to internationally-acclaimed artists who pass on their wisdom and experience to students ranging from beginners to professionals from the local area and beyond these shores. The opening of Ulster University’s new Belfast Campus will drive further growth in the Summer School and provide opportunities for new events such as Taster Sessions and the Winter Weekend, attracting students at local, national and international levels. We at Ulster University are incredibly excited about the future possibilities that will be unlocked through our developing partnership with Belfast TradFest.”

Find out more:

View clips from this year’s event on Belfast Tradfest social channels

Facebook: @belfasttradfest1, Twitter:@BelfastTradF Instagram: @belfasttradfest

Dates for the Winter Weekend and Summer School 2023 will be announced on www.belfasttraditionalmusic.com

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