Culture Night Belfast festival to take a year off in 2022

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The Director of Cathedral Quarter Trust hopes to bring the event back with a new format for 2023

The organisers of Culture Night Belfast have announced there will be no 2022 event.

A strategic review conducted in conjunction with Belfast City Council found the event's focus had become lost in "the noise".

The event is run by the Cathedral Quarter Trust and aims to promote locals arts, businesses and heritage in the city centre.

Director Susan Picken said she hoped it would return with a new format in 2023.

"We felt the event had become too big and unwieldy and the original intention of providing a platform for our artistic and cultural communities to connect with a much wider audience had been lost," she said.

Ms Picken said a year out to develop plans would put "art right back at the heart" of the celebrations.

Since 2009, Culture Night Belfast has been one of the city's biggest free cultural event.

In 2019, it recorded an attendance of about 100,000 people.

'Exciting new format'

Whilst attendance at the event has grown over the years, Ms Picken said resources to support the programme had not.

"The idea that artists could, would or should give their time free is no longer acceptable, especially post-Covid," she said.

The "exciting new" format will appropriately showcase the arts and culture sector within the city centre, Ms Picken added.

Culture Night 2021 was scaled back due to Covid-19 restrictions.

The Ogham Grove, the first Culture Night event to take place in two years, explored the ancient Ogham Tree alphabet through QR codes placed across Belfast.

It has since been relaunched as Fionn's Window and will be available until December 2022.