[AD - Press Trip] My trip to Belfast is in partnership with Tourism Ireland and Tourism Northern Ireland, who will kindly host me during my visit to the city, for the Hit the North street art festival.

Mural work by street artist Irony - Hit the North Belfast Street Art Festival

As we move into the warmer spring weather I am excited to see some of my favorite European street art festivals have announced their return this year. 

With international travel on pause for many over the last two years, it was 2018 when I last had the opportunity to travel to a street art mural festival. As countries begin to ease these travel restrictions, I am really looking forward to hitting the road again as the street art festival season kicks in. 

I have already started making plans to revisit some well-established street art festivals this year, with a growing list that already includes Italy, Belgium, Scotland, Ireland, and The Netherlands. Alongside these, I have been looking at adding some new street art festival destinations to the list this year.

Belfast Street Art Festival 

One such destination on my list is a city I have not previously visited, it's also the host city for a street art festival that’s also new for me. Belfast has long been on my list as a place to visit, as an Irishman from the West of Ireland, it is somewhat embarrassing that it's taken me this long to plan a trip.

The street art festival in question is Hit The North, a festival that has been redecorating the streets of Belfast for nearly a decade now with contemporary art murals. Each year sees the city's mural collection expand with the festival adding new works from national and international street artists. To date, some 400 murals have been painted onto the walls of the city centre and Cathedral Quarter and a visit from me is long overdue.

Previous editions of the annual Hit The North street art festival have taken place in September, which has traditionally been a busy calendar period for me with a large number of other street art festivals staging events over this month. The dates have always clashed and I never managed to make it over to Belfast.

Earlier this year when the festival announced its artist line-up, I was delighted to see the festival was scheduled to take place over the upcoming May Bank Holiday weekend.

Mural work by Irish street artist Omin - Hit the North Belfast Street Art Festival
Mural work by Irish artist Omin pictured above painted in Waterford, Ireland.

Hit the North Festival 2022

For the 2022 edition of the Hit the North street art festival, the Seedhead Arts team who produce the annual festival in partnership with Hennessy have once again curated another impressive artist line-up.

Some 50 national and international street artists are set to take part in this upcoming festival. Visiting artists will begin working on the larger murals around the city throughout the week leading up to the holiday weekend street party on Sunday, 1st May.

The public is invited to join the street party on Union Street and Kent Street where they will find entertainment, food trucks, and refreshments while they watch the festival artists create live artworks throughout the afternoon as part of a large-scale paint jam. 

Dublin-based artist Aches is pictured above in a lift, at work on one of his previous Irish murals.

Hit the North Fringe Festival Events

In partnership with the Festival of Fools and the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival, Hit The North festival has planned a series of additional fringe events across the May Bank Holiday weekend. 

The Hit The North Exhibition, at the Value Artist Studio, continues till 30th April. A street art networking event at Ulster University, Thursday, 28th April 6:30pm - 8pm. (Advance registration is required, book a space here). 

Real Sketch, a sketch and doodle event at Black Box Belfast, 7pm - 11pm, Friday, 29th April. Street Art / Food Walking Tour, art + food+ drink!, Saturday, 30th April (Tickets required, book here). Pre-festival Party at the John Hewitt, music/drinks / visiting artists Saturday, April 30th.

For additional info on the associated events and ticket availability head over to the Hit The North festival website event page.

Mural work in progress by street artist Sophie Mess - Hit the North Belfast Street Art Festival

UK artist Sophie Mess is pictured above working on a collaborative mural just off Bethnal Green Road in East London. Sophie is one of the invited international artists traveling to Northern Ireland to paint at this year's festival.

Hit The North Festival Artists

Bust, Asbestos, Irony, Inkie, Aches, Curtis Hylton, Andy Council, Lobster, Friz, Kitsune, KMG, Hixxy, Sophie Mess, Kenz, Iota, ADW, ESTR, Vanessa Power, Emic, Holly Pereira, Omin, Shane Ha, Alana McDowell, Claire Prouvost, FGB, Glen Molloy, Laura Nelson, Noys, Rob Hilken, Conor McClure, JMK, KVLR, Leo Boyd, Not Pop, Zippy, Codo, HM Constance, Kerrie Hannah, All the Doods, RowZ, Vents, Shane O'Malley, Finbar McHugh, Zurdie, Killian, Oner, & Wee Nuls.
UK street artist Curtis Hylton's mural painted in Cheltenham, UK
Pictured above is the mural work of UK artist Curtis Hylton, painted in Cheltenham. 

Follow our Belfast Street Art Adventures

Hookedblog will be bringing you coverage from The Hit The North street art festival across our social channels, so make sure to follow along over on our Hookedblog Twitter account or join us on Instagram and follow our daily adventures via our Hookedblog #InstagramStories.

We will also be sharing festival highlights on the blog from our trip, for those of you not using Instagram / Twitter, along with some of the best murals in Belfast, so stay tuned.

Since returning from Belfast we have shared some coverage along with a selection of images we photographed at the Hit the North street art festival. Check out the post here:  Ireland's Largest Street Art Festival - Hit The North

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