Van Morrison headlines at east Belfast festival

Van Morrison will perform three gigs at Orangefield High School to mark its closure
Van Morrison will perform three gigs at Orangefield High School to mark its closure

Legendary singer Van Morrison is a headline event for the third EastSide Arts Festival to be held in venues across east Belfast, with Van the Man set to perform three concerts at his old alma mater, Orangefield High, on August 22, 23 and 24.

These novel concerts marking the closure of Orangefield will be hard to match and tickets have been selling out fast since they went on sale last week, with the August 22 gig for ex-pupils and staff of the secondary school now filled to capacity. Tickets are still available for August 23 and a second night for Orangefield alumni on August 24.

The festival will also showcase a rich variety of arts with another ex-Orangefield pupil, Sam McCready, set to perform his one-man show about the revered Victorian novelist Charles Dickens, and writers such as Glenn Patterson, poet Gerald Dawe and playwright Marie Jones set to join the line-up too, alongside Brian Keenan and Thin Lizzy musician Eric Bell.

Jazz singer Haz Hawkins will perform, there will be a blues night, as well as a performance of songs and music from the First and Second World Wars by the Belfast Big Swing Band, a screening of local indie movie success Good Vibrations, which tells the story of the life and times of punk godfather Terri Hooley, plus a host of other Orangefield ex-pupils will be remembered including the late playwright and music journalist Stewart Parker, whose 1987 play Pentecost will be performed as a rehearsed reading.

The festival will run August 21-25 in venues across the east of the city including performances, visual art exhibitions, film and music, a Van Morrison Walking Tour, an evening exploring music of the 1970s with Stuart Bailie and Glenn Patterson in conversation with hostage survivor Brian Keenan. There will also be a screening of a documentary featuring David Ervine’s visit to the World War One graves at the Somme, which will be shown in memory of the late PUP leader.