Belfast's Culture Night 2022 event cancelled

Organisers have said they took the decision following an extensive strategic review of the event, which started in 2009. Credit: Pacemaker

The annual Culture Night event in Belfast will not be held this year.

Organisers said they have taken the decision following an extensive strategic review of the event, which started in 2009.

The last event in 2019 has been described one of the biggest free cultural events in the city with attendances of around 100,000.

Susan Picken, director of Cathedral Quarter Trust and Culture Night Belfast, said the decision will "pave the way for the development of an exciting new format".

The strategic review found that a "complete rethink" of the event was needed in order to address the issues raised by the various stakeholders, community and wider Culture Night audience.

"The pandemic and the restrictions of the past two years gave us an opportunity to examine Culture Night Belfast in detail and take the time to ask what exactly we wanted the event to grow into," Ms Picken said.

"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.

"We listened to what our stakeholders, partners and audiences had to say and we believe taking a year out to properly develop plans that put art right back at the heart of what we do is the best way forward."

Ms Picken said Culture Night Belfast has grown exponentially whilst the resources to deliver the programme have not.

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

"Throughout 2020 and 2021 we carried out an in-depth review of Culture Night Belfast and spoke to many of the partners, arts organisations and artists who have contributed to the event over the years.

"Whilst everyone we spoke to was supportive, everyone was clear Culture Night Belfast needed to change.

"At Cathedral Quarter Trust we're excited about the plans for the future and look forward to sharing them with our colleagues and audience in due course."

She added: "We are really excited about the future - we know people will miss Culture Night Belfast but we plan to be back in 2023 with something even better."

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