Belfast City Blues Festival returns for tenth year

Kaz Hawkins and Seamus O'Neill at the launch of the Belfast City Blues Festival 2018
Kaz Hawkins and Seamus O'Neill at the launch of the Belfast City Blues Festival 2018

The Belfast City Blues Festival is back with more than 60 gigs across 22 venues from June 29 to July 2.

The full 10th anniversary line-up was revealed at a launch at The Dirty Onion bar.

This year will see blues veterans Dr Feelgood, new music sensation Aaron Keylock and local queen of blues Kaz Hawkins all take to the stage at the Black Box.

Also back this year is the annual Tribute To Rory Gallagher afternoon with The Pat McManus Band, Blackwood and The Willie Byrne Band as well as A Tribute To Phil Lynott & Thin Lizzy featuring local tribute band Tinn Lizzy.

Other acts joining the 10th anniversary Belfast City Blues Festival line-up include Ronnie Greer, Rab McCullough, Speedy Mullan, Billy Boy Miskimmin, the Lee Hedley Band and many more.

Festival director, Seamus O’Neill, said he was looking forward to kicking off what is set to be the best year yet:

“A decade ago we couldn’t believe that the festival would be going so long and growing every year.

“It has been tough at times but now we are toasting our 10th year it has been worth it.

“We’ll have all the favourites such as the annual tribute to Rory Gallagher featuring Pat McManus, young blues sensation Aaron Keylock and the phenomenal talent of Kaz Hawkins amongst many others.

“The rich musical heritage of our city will be on display for everyone across the country, as well as the many overseas visitors who ink the dates in every year to be in Belfast.”

The Lord Mayor of Belfast, councillor Nuala McAllister, said: “I am delighted to help the Belfast Blues Festival celebrate its 10th anniversary. Over the past decade, the Festival has highlighted Belfast’s rich blues heritage and profiled many of our finest artists, as well as attracting top international names to our city.

“It has become one of the ‘must see’ highlights of the blues calendar, not only for local fans but also for the many aficionados who travel from all over these islands, and further afield, for this wonderful weekend of great music. It truly is a testament to the determination, passion and vision of festival director Seamus O’Neill, and I wish him, and all the artists, all the best for another magnificent event. Here’s to the next ten years.”

The weekend is packed full of gigs as well as the now famous Blues On The Boat Music Cruises, taking place over the weekend on Belfast Lough. More than just music, there will be complimentary food and drink for all ticket holders. The cruises are set to host top performers such as Rab McCullough, the Rev Doc, the Lee Hedley Band and the Red Hot Roosters.

American Holidays returns once again as key sponsor, in partnership with Brand USA, as well as United Airlines and Belfast City Council.

Karen Sheals Hoy, manager of American Holidays, said: “I’m proud and privileged that American Holidays are once again key sponsors of this fantastic festival. Now in its 10th year, this is the only festival of its kind in Belfast and is a great opportunity for people to come together to enjoy the city’s lively Belfast blues heritage and to discover new talent.”

For more information visit or connect with the Belfast City Blues Festival official Facebook page.