From intimate gigs and traditional jams to world-famous names who started out right here in Northern Ireland, we know great music and continue to celebrate it in many forms. Belfast has been awarded the prestigious UNESCO City of Music title 2021 and with a buzzing music scene, it’s easy to see why.

Music Concert at Belfast City Hall

City of Music

Belfast is only the third city in the UK to become a City of Music, with Liverpool receiving it in 2016 and Glasgow in 2008. Over the next few years now, Belfast – as a holder of the title – will deliver a series of high profile music events, aim to build its infrastructure to further support music creators, and will see music woven into public spaces and places to ensure the power and benefits of music can be felt by all who live, work in or visit the city.

 

Belfast Music Patrons

Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody and Emmy-nominated composer Hannah Peel have been appointed official Belfast Music patrons.

“Music is woven into the DNA of Belfast. We have so many incredible bands and artists – and more every single year. I’ve watched in these last 25 years of relative peace the music scene grow and then thrive and now burst at the seams with fearless and limitless talent.” – Gary Lightbody

“Belfast is an alive, vibrant and a musically powerful city. Now is the time to celebrate those that are making a difference in music, in culture.” – Hannah Peel

 

Snow Patrol
The Van Morrison Songbook

Famous Faces

Music is one of Belfast’s greatest exports. Our biggest claims to fame include Van Morrison, from east Belfast as well as Snow Patrol, Two Door Cinema Club, Stiff Little Fingers and more recently Ryan McMullan.

Delve into Belfast’s musical heritage with a trip to the EastSide Visitor Centre, just a short distance from the home of Van Morrison, where you will find a wealth of information about his life and links to the city.

And exciting artists are emerging all the time, including EDM favourites Bicep who headline the annual AVA festival in Belfast and the indie-folk stylings of Jealous of the Birds and Ciaran Lavery.

Traditional Music

Traditional Irish folk music has a home in Belfast and on any given night you’ll find locals and visitors alike toe-tapping to trad in a crowded pub. Discover the rhythmic sounds in venues including The Dirty Onion, Whites Tavern & more. Don’t forget to check their websites and socials to see what days they are hosting live music. Grab a pint and immerse yourself in the sounds of Irish trad in these bars and venues.

 

Traditional Music Sessions Duke of York
Berts Jazz Bar

Something Different

Despite our traditional roots Belfast has plenty of places to enjoy world music and discover something new. Lose yourself in a tropical party at Revolución de Cuba with live samba music and salsa dancing; or be transported to 1930s New York at Bert’s Jazz Bar. For a taste of culture experience the breath-taking Ulster Orchestra at one of their frequent performances in the Ulster Hall and Waterfront Hall.

Nashville Links

Did you know that Nashville is Belfast’s sister city? Belfast has had links with Nashville for over 20 years, which has benefitted Belfast singer-songwriters such as Triona Carville who regularly makes the trip to Nashville to pursue her music career. The Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival also takes place annually, with concerts, workshops and musical events throughout the city.

Nashville-in-belfast-2.jpg
Taste Ulster Hall

Top Venues

It’s not just about the music but how you experience it. Belfast has some incredible live music venues, so whether you’re looking for an intimate gig or bagging tickets to international artists you’ll find yourself in the perfect surroundings. Venues include The Oh Yea Music Centre, Limelight, the historic the Ulster Hall, which, dating back to 1862 is one of the oldest purpose-built concert halls in the UK and Ireland. It’s also where Led Zeppelin famously took to the stage to debut Stairway to Heaven. For larger events, there’s Waterfront Hall on the edge of the River Lagan or the SSE Arena.

2 Royal Avenue

2 Royal Avenue hopes to deliver on the ambitions set out in the UNESCO City of Music bid to transform vacant spaces into cultural spaces in Belfast city. Exciting events will be taking place to focus on showcasing talent within the city.

PianoAtTheDome (1)

Belfast Music Tours

Walk through cobbled alleyways, past famous landmarks and explore unique bars with live music to experience Belfast’s rich culture, heritage, language, customs and history through Music tours.

Read more

Ask Us
Ask Us

We're here to help, so if you can't find the info you're after, or you just want to ask a really odd question, then we're here for you.

Ask A Question
Start
Choose a date
End
Choose a date
Back To Top
In order to display distances relevant to you, we'd like to be able to use your GPS location. Privacy Policy
In order to display distances relevant to your current position, we'd need to be able to use your GPS location. To find out more about how we use your location, please read our Privacy Policy
You have previously denied access to your GPS location. In order to allow access to your location, you need to update your site settings through your browser settings to allow this site access to your location.

To find out more about how we use your location, please read our Privacy Policy
Your settings have been updated. They will take effect next time you refresh the page.
By default, all distances on the site are calculated from Belfast City Centre. You can choose a different starting point here, or specify your own.

If you select a location more than 15km from the Visit Belfast Welcome Centre, your location will be set to Belfast City Centre.

Open 'Ask a Question' window Close 'Ask a Question' window

Ask a Question

X

Hide this tool

Open 'Sign up for Newsletter' window Close 'Sign up for Newsletter' window

Visit Belfast Newsletter

X

Sign up to the Visit Belfast newsletter and receive inspiring ideas, events and offers which showcase the best of Belfast and Northern Ireland.

Sign-Up

Hide this tool