The Custom House Sq festival kicked off last Friday, with a sell-out performance from George Ezra setting the bar high for the rest of the performances this year.
But with another week of incredible acts left, we haven’t seen the best of the festival yet. You might have missed out on the chance to grab tickets for Kasabian’s gig on Monday 20 August but there’s plenty to look forward to including performances from Kodaline, Rag’N’ Bone Man and Travis.
Here’s our guide to what’s on and the best places to grab some food and drink in the area…
Who’s Playing CH SQ 2018?
Sasha & John Digweed – 18/08
Kicking off next week’s performances are British DJ duo Sasha and John Digweed.
These landmark DJs are best known for their late 90s foray into progressive house, including the globally-acclaimed Ministry of Sound album Northern Exposure from 1996.
They’ll be taking to the stage at Custom House Square from 6pm on Saturday 18 August in their first ever Belfast performance together.
Head to The Telegraph Building afterwards for an official afterparty with DJs including Nic Fanciulli and Paul Woolford.
Kasabian – 20/08
Brit-award winning indie-rock band Kasabian are set to hit Belfast on Monday 20 August from 6pm. Prepare for classic hits that have shaped the last 10 years of alternative rock, from the iconic ‘Fire’ to the legendary ‘Underdog’.
Although the Custom House Sq website is stating that the night is sold out, ticketmaster appear to still be selling tickets – you heard it here first!
Travis – 22/08
If you’re a fan of Travis’ ‘The Man Who’ album, head down to Custom Square on Wednesday 22 August where the Scottish indie rock band will be performing their second album in full.
Classics from the album include ‘Writing to Reach You’, ‘Driftwood’, ‘Turn’ and the world-renowned ‘Why Does it Always Rain On Me’.
Kodaline – 23/08
On Thursday 23 August, rock Irish band Kodaline are set to take to the stage, supported by Lewis Capaldi and Brand New Friend.
The Dublin-based band are famous for hits including ‘All I Want’, ‘High Hopes’ and ‘Perfect World’, which all featured on their debut studio album In a Perfect World. They’ll also be playing from their second album and their latest songs on the soon to be released Politics of Living.
Rag ‘n’ Bone Man – 24/08
The UK’s biggest breakout star of 2017 and Brit-award winning artist is heading to Belfast on Friday 24 August to kick start the Bank Holiday weekend in style.
Rag ‘n’ Bone Man, aka Rory Graham, will be bringing his deep baritone voice and soulful sounds to the centre of Belfast, singing his number one hit ‘Human’ alongside other songs from his debut album of the same name.
Supporting the soul singer on the night will be the youthful Mullally.
Stiff Little Fingers – 25/08
On Saturday 25 August, punk rock will be blowing up Custom House Square as Belfast’s very own Stiff Little Fingers take to the stage from 6pm.
Formed in 1977, at the height of the Troubles, the band’s early work was inspired by their experiences of sectarian violence in Northern Ireland.
The band has been through a number of line-up changes but continue to have Jake Burns, their lead singer, fronting the group. Hits include ‘Alternative Ulster’, ‘Roots, Radicals, Rockers and Reggae’ and ‘Silver Lining’.
Drumcode X Shine – 26/08
The final night of Custom House Square is set to see names from the Swedish techno label Drumcode team up with Belfast’s own SHINE for some long overdue techno tones in the city centre.
Headlining the night is Drumcode’s founder Adam Beyer, supported by Amelie Lens and Enrico Sangiuliano.
Tickets are available for all the nights at ticketmaster.ie, and more information can be found at the customhousesquare.com website.
Where to Eat and Drink
Custom Square is located in the heart of the explosive food scene in Belfast so if you want to fill up on some grub before heading to the stage,you’re spoilt for choice.
Plus, some of Belfast’s best pubs and bars are within walking distance.
The Dirty Onion, an Irish pub with a modern twist, is literally around the corner with its YardBird rotisserie serving up dry-rubbed chicken, BBQ glazed wings and veggie wraps. Coppi’s Italian restaurant is also nearby, famed for its pizzas, risottos and other Italian delights.
Five minutes’ walk away, Made in Belfast serves up local produce in delectable dishes including loads of seafood and, of course, plenty of Northern Irish beef.
Being so close to the River Lagan, there’s also a number of restaurants located next-to and even on the water – try Holohan’s At The Barge for a traditional Boxty (stuffed potato pancake).
And If you’re looking for a bit of fine dining, head to Hadskis on Donegall Street for delicious meals, such as their popular seafood chowder.
There’s also a Frankie & Benny’s, a Zizzi and a Pizza Express within walking distance of the stage-area.
Bars and Pubs Nearby
And just like the plethora of restaurants, if you’re looking to sink a pint rather than a hearty meal, the area around Custom House Square is always buzzing with late night pubs and bars where you can enjoy a glass of Irish Red Ale before you head down to the festival.
For a traditional Northern Irish pub, McHughs sits on the square, less than a minutes walk from the stage. With its open fires and historical furnishings, it’s perfect for grabbing a warming pint before you head out onto the plaza if the weather is less than ideal!
Other nearby pubs include The Spainard, The Morning Star (which also serves up an eclectic menu of steaks, including kangaroo and crocodile), Bittles Bar and the John Hewitt.
Head to Muriel’s Café Bar just around the corner for debonair coktails matched with decadent décor or pop into The Merchant Hotel’s Cocktail Bar, who shake and stir all the classic concoctions alongside their own house-devised cocktails.
But if none of those take your fancy, there’s plenty more venues across the streets surrounding the square.
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