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Belfast TradFest, Northern Ireland’s premier traditional music, song, and dance festival, is back for its much-anticipated 6th annual edition. Running from July 21st to 28th, this year’s festival promises an exhilarating week of concerts, masterclasses, sessions and summer school events, bringing together some of the finest talents in the world of traditional arts.

The Belfast Summer School of Traditional Music in partnership with Ulster University is the hub around which the festival is built. Young and ‘not so young’ come to Belfast to learn from a line-up of the most sought-after traditional musicians from across the globe, for a 5-day long programme of masterclasses and series of talks, workshops, demonstrations, instrument clinics and film screenings.

This year’s line-up of tutors features no less than seven previous TG4 Gradam Ceoil Award recipients and amongst the list of world class talent will be Ceoltóir na Bliaina Derek Hickey, Tyrone’s Ryan Molloy, legends such as Mary Bergin & Mick O’Brien, acclaimed Belfast composer and musician Neil Martin, Co. Kerry’s Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh, banjo maestro Cathal Hayden, Tara Breen of The Chieftains, Cross Border Orchestra Bagpiper Grahame Harris, Sean Nós dancing dynamo Mary McGuiggan & Belfast’s very own set dancing master Ronán Eastwood. The Summer School is designed not only to hone technical skills but also to immerse attendees in the cultural and historical context of the music.

Professor Cathy Gormley-Heenan, Ulster University Provost, said,

“We are thrilled to be collaborating again this year with Belfast TradFest by hosting their Summer School in Belfast. This partnership exemplifies the university's commitment to fostering cultural enrichment and educational excellence. Welcoming hundreds of TradFest participants each year into our university spaces reinforces the vital role that music and arts have in connecting and inspiring the wider community. We look forward to a summer filled with the sounds of traditional music and the creative exchange that Belfast TradFest brings to Ulster and to the city.”

A Rich Tradition of Excellence

Having firmly established itself as a cornerstone of the cultural calendar since the first edition in 2017 and drawing enthusiasts from across the globe, the festival’s mission is to celebrate and preserve the rich heritage of traditional Irish & Scottish music, while fostering new talent and creating a vibrant platform for artists to share their craft. It also prides itself on its cross cultural and cross traditions ethos bringing people from all backgrounds and all ages together to celebrate, engage with and enjoy traditional music. This year’s lineup is a testament to this commitment, featuring an array of internationally acclaimed musicians, singers, and dancers, alongside emerging local artists.

Aine Kearney, Director of Events at Tourism NI, said:

“Tourism Northern Ireland welcomes the launch of the Belfast TradFest which will take place in Belfast later this summer.“It is fantastic to see how the festival has grown in scale and international appeal over the last number of years. With a programme packed full of music and cultural experiences, co-created by internationally acclaimed and local artists, the event demonstrates the Giant Spirit we have on offer.

In 2021, Belfast was awarded UNESCO City of Music status, only the third UK city to receive the accolade. The organisers of the Belfast TradFest seek to promote Belfast UNESCO City of Music as a traditional music capital of Ireland.

Music is a key part of our intangible heritage and has proven to be a strong motivator for visitors. Belfast TradFest is an example of our mission to support the development of authentic tourism experiences which bring our unique heritage to life in an invigorating and responsible way.”

Belfast TradFest 2024 invites everyone to join in the celebration of traditional music, song, and dance. Whether you are a seasoned musician, a casual listener, or someone looking to experience the vibrant culture of Belfast, the festival offers something for everyone.

Summer School accommodation is available to students and their families. The accommodation is a two-minute walk from Ulster University, where classes take place. Sign up now for fantastic accommodation offers of £349 per person for 7 nights in Belfast city centre.

For more information on Belfast TradFest 2024, including the full programme and ticket details, visit

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