posted on May 1st, 2024

Festival of Fools Returns to Belfast

Over 50 free performances taking place on the streets of Belfast City centre and Cathedral Quarter from Saturday 4th May to Thursday 9th May.

Ireland’s largest free street performance festival returns to Belfast City Centre from Saturday 4th May to Thursday 9th May 2024. This year’s exciting free daytime programme offers three days of jam-packed, all-inclusive daytime entertainment for the whole family, including circus, parkour, dance, archery and visual arts. Festival of Fools will inspire, entertain and engage, taking place at various locations across Belfast City, and with all daytime shows free to attend, this is a festival for everyone to enjoy!

As in previous years, Festival of Fools brings together the best local and international circus and street performance talent taking over the city streets across the Bank Holiday Weekend at the start of May. This year’s programme features award-winning talent from across the globe including Ireland, Canada, Italy, Argentina, Germany, France, Spain and Australia. In 2024, the programme will once again span indoor and outdoor venues, with 2 Royal Avenue becoming a central hub for performances by young people and emerging artists and drop-in workshops for children and adults alike. For visual arts fans, anew partnership with Leo Boyd and Laura Nelson will bring The Belfast That Time Forgot (in 3-D) to life for audience in-between shows inside 2 Royal Avenue. For the first time in 2024, Festival of Fools are working in partnership with Big Telly Theatre to deliver The Worst Café – an interactive experience for diners – and Sailortown Regeneration Project on a walking tour from the Big Fish ad Hit the North, a locally-led Street Arts Festival.

Expect an action-packed extravaganza from READY. AIM. FIRE! on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th. Sara Twister is a crowd-stopping phenomenon who, whilst balancing on her arms, can fire a bow and arrow with her feet! The classic Big Finish is back for all three days, but with a twist, so keep an eye out for that. Classic Connee will have you singing along, JUMPNI will make you gasp with some extreme parkour and there is also some classic aerial antics, juggling, acrobatics, custard pie fights and much more.

In addition to the daytime programme, Festival of Fools 2024 will also offer two very special thought-provoking evening shows ‘Contra’ and ‘Belonging’ on Wednesday 8th and Thursday 9th.

Gilly Campbell, Director of Arts Development, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said: “The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is delighted to support the Festival of Fools, thanks to the National Lottery players. National Lottery funding is a game-changer in helping this festival spread amazement and joy across Belfast and bring communities closer together. Once again, this year, the organisers have curated a fabulously-fun programme with something to suit all ages and tastes. From the very young, to the very young at heart, I would encourage everyone to get outdoors this May and enjoy everything that this terrific celebration of circus has to offer.”

Jenna Hall, Festival of Fools Chief Executive, added: “We are excited to launch Festival Fools 2024! With over 50 professional shows taking place across the city, our all-inclusive programme offers something for everyone.

“Our strong partnership with 2 Royal Avenue continues in 2024 and, again, offers everyone the chance to take part and learn circus skills across a variety of workshops, a real hit at the 2023 festival.

“We are so proud to deliver yet another brilliant Festival of Fools in 2024. We are also very grateful to our funders and the audience who donate so generously to keep us coming back year after year. I can’t wait to showcase our talented performers across the city of Belfast.”

For the full Festival of Fools programme of events, visit:

Subscribe to our Newsletter

To stay up to date on news and events.

Link to Ulster Tatler Awards 2024 About page