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3 People You’ll Meet at Out To Lunch Festival 2019

In most cities January is a bleak time; misty drizzle fills the air and local venues lie empty. Only ghosts of Christmas past walk the streets hoping to find that fiver they dropped on their NYE night out.

Not in Belfast however, as for the past fourteen years Out To Lunch Festival have been doling out platefuls of Music, Comedy, Cinema and Ideas hefty enough to give you festive lunch PTSD.


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During a month where many people are inside trying to decrease their waste line, there are a dedicated bunch of culture vultures who brave the January blues to get involved in the events which run from 4th to 27th January.

So, who just are these people? And with so many events to choose from where exactly will we find them? Here’s my guide to a few of the characters you’ll meet if you head down to Out To Lunch Festival this month.

The music film buff

They’re mysterious, brooding and likely have a super 8 camcorder on their bookshelf. A fan of music to their core they go beyond the live show, devouring every moment of screen time featuring their favourite acts.

Out to Lunch is an underlined date in their ‘Greatest Film Makers of All Time’ calendar – which their nana got them for Christmas. It makes sense why with some unmissable events including a performance from number 1 film buff himself Mark Kermode (The Dodge Brothers) on the list. 

Rude Boy Screening & Don Letts DJ set

Combining archive film, interviews and drama, ‘Rudeboy’ tells of the story of one of the most iconic labels in black music history, Trojan Records. An all-star cast injects the story of with the grit and joy of the music and the time that it recalls. Joining for the evening is a legend in music and film world as Don Letts plays a DJ set of favourites from the era as well as melding in his own punk influence. Fri 11th Jan, Black Box. Info.

Stories from the She Punks

Anyone else sick of hearing about punk from a male perspective? There’s a world out there beyond Johnny Rotten and Joe Strummer, and that world is very much female. Punk icons Gina Birch (The Raincoats) and Helen Reddington (The Chefs, turn directors in this must watch documentary featuring some of the women who were in the punk bands of the 1970s. Sun 13th Jan, Green Room. Info. 

This Is Spinal Tap ‘35

Even serious music film buffs like to laugh once in a while and you’re always guaranteed to keel over when watching the classic mockumentary chaos of This Is Spinal Tap. Whether you’ve seen it twenty times, once or never at all, 2019 is their perfect time to indulge in this 35-year-old side splitter. Plus, any mega fans out there can show off their chops and turn things up to 11 at Spinal Tap karaoke.  Fri 18th Jan, Black Box. Info.

The ‘far out’ folk fan

Usually found skulking around the Sunflower smoking area basking under the glow of the heaters and spinning a yarn about the time they saw Dylan in ’87, this far out folk fan is searching for more than just a trad’ session to warm his winter worries away.

Out To Lunch offers a collection of explorative folk fusions and traditional sentimentality to keep any folk fan’s interest peaked. Top picks for any ‘far out’ folk fan:

Yorkston Thorne Khan

OTL and Moving On Music present Yorkston Thorne Khan, an experimental group whose sound encompasses western folk and Indian classicism to produce something truly magnificent.

Releasing their second record Neuk Wight Delhi All-Stars in 2017, YTK pushed through the ‘fusion’ label which many heaped upon debut Everything Sacred with critics praising the second album as a more coherent sound for the band. Thurs 24th Jan, Black Box. Info.

Laura Cortese and the Dance Cards

Laura Cortese cut her teeth in the Boston roots music scene and spent time as an instrumentalist for Band of Horses, Pete Seeger, Rose Cousins, Jocie Adams (of The Low Anthem), and Uncle Earl.

Now striking out with her own band, Laura and her Dance Cards plan to shake up your idea of folk music by kicking open the doors to new rhythmic and sonic territories. Sat 26th Jan, Black Box. Info.

Twin Bandit + Steph Cameron

Another act bending the tuning forks of folk to suit their personal sound is the alternative folk and country-tinged styling of Twin bandit. 

Joining forces with Steph Cameron for The Winterwood Tour the performance promises to showcase expansive growth from both the Vancouver duo and Cameron whose 70’s tinged style has been developing across outputs. Sat 19th Jan, McHugh’s Basement. Info.

The funk, soul, and swing brother

On the hunt for something they can get their groove on to, you might usually find this cool cat toe-stepping in front Rab’s band in the Empire Music Hall. They need rhythm, don’t care how they get it and Out For Lunch is ready to provide.  Top picks for these funky sisters and brothers:

The Allergies feat. Andy Cooper

OTL has teamed up with Superfly funk and soul Belfast to bring The Allergies’ 21st-century funk and soul complete with vintage licks, and sample-led breaks and beats.

The Bristol-based outfit nabbed BBC 6 Music’s album of the week with their latest drop Push On and with another record rumoured to hit this year, The Allergies are a definite one to watch for 2019. Sat 12th Jan, Oh Yeah Centre. Info.

The Delines

Portland duellers The Delines are due to release their new album The Imperial on 11th January 2019. The hotly anticipated return followed debut Colfax which the band cut after just one week together. Imagine what they’ve produced with five years on their hands then.

Well, not exactly, as lead singer Amy was recovering from being hit by a car for most of their break. But she’s mended and back with new material to bring “widescreen romanticism” to OTL. Sat 26th Jan, Black Box. Info.

The Swingtime Starlets

Jitterbug your way through your lunch break with The Swingtime Starlets and their impeccable harmonic performances of 40’s Wartime Era, Hollywood’s Golden Age and Retro Pop! It’s impossible to not enjoy these singing sisters as they take you on a journey through the Great American Playbook and more. Fri 25th Jan, Black Box. Info.

 > See the full Out to Lunch Festival programme here.