One of the biggest surprises to the scene this year was the announcement of a new independant local festival called ‘Belfest’. We had to find out all about it, so we met with it’s founder Eoin Bannon to delve into this piece of news.
Ok so straight off the bat Eoin, what is Belfest?
BelFest is a local all day indoor festival for local bands taking place in QUB’s Bar Sub venue. The aim was to promote local music as much as possible, especially by putting on an event which isn’t really like any other event.
What first prompted you to organize the event and what makes it unique?
To be honest it was when we didn’t hear back from some of the local festivals. Didn’t want to sit and sulk so just decided to get on it and do our own festival. We know the likes of Mosmo Strange and The Crossfire Hurricanes also didn’t get accepted for them. It’s unique because it’s giving great bands the stage that they deserve, and also bands that wouldn’t otherwise get a look at the likes of them festivals.
That’s a great idea. There’s a very limited number of local music festivals here and a very limited amount of slots so a lot of very deserving bands end up falling through the cracks and have little or no festival appearances to promote themselves. I think the local scene could really benefit from these type of events. Are you doing this independently/ on your own?
Not completely by myself. I did set it all up by myself and all out of my own pocket. I’ve got the support of my friends, bandmates and girlfriend too. I’ve set up a small team of people who I’d consider the staff. Getting the logo designed was thanks to Ashley McIlroy and implemented by two digs studio, who also designed the poster. Mostly was set up by me but I know the help is there if I need it. Going to try and keep the festival alive for the foreseeable future too it’ll be an annual event.
Fantastic! You say it will be an annual event, do you expect to expand the festival to other venues or other events throughout the year?
Yes. I think through word of mouth and a lot more advertising there’ll be a bigger demand for the festival. In terms of expanding I’d love to have a local stage set up at some the bigger festivals held here like Belsonic and Vital. Or at least a support slot for bands as part of a “BelFest presents” sort of thing. Bigger venues too in the years to come and possibly more days for the festival rather than one.
Wow, you seem to have a lot of plans for the future and big love for Belfast music. What appeals to you most about the local music scene?
From being in a band and loving to perform I know that it’s The way that most if not all musicians feel. It’s just good to give them a chance. There’s so much variety and so much talent. It’s nice to see bands and think “wow, these guys are going to do some great things”, I mean, even with my band’s own music I’d like to think that at least 1 person likes us, so it’s nice to go out and see the fruits of people’s labour.
That’s great man. Glad its all working out for you. All the best for the festival, i’m sure i’ll see you there!
Interview by Seán McD