It sneaks up on you, does Culture Night – then it knocks you sideways. On Friday, September 21, towns and cities across Northern Ireland will buzz with a carnival atmosphere as hundreds of artists, organisations and venues celebrate culture in its many manifestations – and all for free.
It's a genius concept, and it has spread like wildfire across Europe since its inception sometime in the mid noughties. For me, the best part of Culture Night is spotting those tourists who have ventured into town for an otherwise quiet pint, and who have no idea what's going on. Their eyes say it all: 'But this is Belfast, right? Shouldn't everything be closed by now?'
Having lit a spark in Northern Ireland after arts organisations collaborated to produce an impressively imaginative programme of free arts events in Belfast in 2008, the Culture Night flame has since spread to Derry~Londonderry and elsewhere. Here are a few links to help you plan your Culture Night 2012.
Culture Night Belfast
Culture Night Belfast the largest programme of free events in Northern Ireland, with over 200 free events scheduled to take place in venues across the city, but focussed in the Cathedral Quarter Area. Visit the Culture Night Belfast website to browse the programme in full, and watch the video below to learn more about the #LoveBelfast photography competition which encourages art lovers to sign up for the Culture Night Belfast Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Culture Night Armagh
This year, Armagh has joined the Culture Night party for the first time. The Armagh Culture Night programme takes in over 50 events in 15 different venues in Armagh City Centre, The Mall area, local schools and hotels, the Morgan Athletic Grounds, Navan Centre and stretching out to Richill and Poyntzpass and elsewhere. Visit the Culture Night Armagh Facebook page for the full programme.
Culture Night Derry~Londonderry
Culture Night Holywood
Holywood's first Culture Night celebrations will take place mainly on Holywood High Street, with close to 100 events set to take place. Visit the Culture Night Holywood Facebook page
for more information.
Ards Culture Night
The Ards Community Arts Network has taken the reins in 2012 to put on a show to be remembered in Newtownards. Browse the programme below, or visit the Ards Community Arts Network Facebook page for more information.