WelcomeAnother year has flown by and the need for laughter in our lives is more pressing than ever. So we are delighted that we can introduce you to some of the funniest and most talented street performances from around the world this year. We have a huge array of talents from Poland, Italy, Spain, France, USA, Canada, Finland, Holland, UK, Ireland and the good old Kash Republic. Incredible acrobatic feats combine with magic, puppetry, circus and, of course, comedy to present more than 120 shows and walkabout performances to put a smile back on your face and enough laughter to last til next year’s Festival of Fools. We hope that you will clear your diaries for the Bank Holiday Weekend, gather up your loved ones and come join us for the best weekend of the year. As well as street shows spreading out across the Cathedral Quarter and City Centre, we are pleased to announce an expansion to the Festival of Foods which is offering you the chance to connect with 17 different purveyors of some of the finest food and drink in the city. We are delighted to welcome back on board Translink who are sponsoring the Festival for the fifth year and are giving huge support to the nine youth and community circus shows in the Festival through the Young AmBUSadors and EnterTRAINers programme. Thanks also to Ramada Encore who are the official accommodation partners for 2016 and have shown wonderful generosity and hospitality down the years.
We Couldn’t Do It Without YouEvery year, the Festival of Fools swings into action thanks to the support of nearly 100 volunteers and supporters. Although we receive funding to deliver the Festival of Fools free of charge, we do still rely on your donations to keep the show going each year. After each show, we will be passing the hat round for donations and we ask that you give generously to make this happen again next year. We have already been hit by a cut of more than £5,000 due to reduction in public funds available. So please be extra generous this year!
Join the Conversation #foolsfestWe are inviting everybody to share their Festival of Fools experience either on twitter or facebook by using the hashtag #foolsfest Send out your photos, comments and videos so the world can see what a great time they are missing. This year we are also deploying a Digital Ringmaster to help bring the event to life for people who are unable to make it to Belfast in person.
The Great ArtdoorsWriters’ Square will once again be transformed into a mini hub of visual arts for the Festival of Fools. Come along and join in the fun with portraits, screenprints and a general feast for the eyes. It’s all free and if you’re lucky, you might even end up with something to hang over the fireplace at home! Artists will be painting in Belfast’s smallest, most portable artist studios and setting up stall all round the Square fitting in between the street shows happening all day every day of the Festival.
We always hope that the weather will be warm and sunny just like it usually is!But just in case there is some heavy rain, the Festival is very grateful to these following 4: Victoria Square, the Ulster University, 101 Donegall Street and to Belfast Circus for offering wet weather venues to stage most of our shows. At this stage we cannot be too precise in saying which shows will go where because it all depends on how bad the weather ends up. What we can say is that we will be putting up posts on facebook and twitter and on foolsfestival.com telling people which shows will be happening in which indoor venue if it rains.
As a rule of thumb, we will put Cornmarket shows into Victoria Square; Cotton Court into Belfast Circus and Writers Square/ St Anne’s into Ulster University on York St/ 101 Donegall Street.
We won’t be able to place all shows indoors due to logistical challenges, but we will put as many as we can fit indoors. So even if it’s raining, come on down to Belfast City Centre and enjoy an amazing street festival in the dry!