Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival – 15 Years and Still Going Strong

The 15th Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival has now finished and we thought we would reflect by giving our own personal highlights.

For myself, I am finding it difficult to actually pinpoint just one highlight.  Blockheads, Ginger Baker, Shonen Knife and De La Soul are pretty much the acts that I have whittled my selection down to.  That, however, is the beauty of the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival; it has so much variety and something to offer for every taste and not just with the music, but also in relation to theatre, dance, the written word, art, etc.  Being a bit of a culture vulture it is always a smorgasbord of choice and I struggle to choose between acts as very often I find multiple events that I want to attend which are on at the same time.  It is a pleasure seeing this festival grow each year and I truly have the belief this is a festival that will keep on going for a long time.


The street theatre as part of the Festival of Fools which runs alongside the main festival was also a welcome sight and gave pedestrians a little lift to their days from the variety of acts that partook in the festival.

Finally, Nerdgeist would like to thank the organisers and crew of the festival for their hospitality and hard work.

– May (aka MewVil)

Now on to the highlights from our other writers:-


The festival highlights for me…hmm, I know there have been other types of performances at the festival but for me it’s all about the music. Not just the acts but the variety. I saw four amazing acts each incredibly different from the last.


Kicking it off with the electric feel of the F**k Buttons, following on with the almost new wave tone that the Wild Beasts gave us, then having Shonen Knife show us that even at their age they can still rock out, mixing in adorableness and sex appeal all at once; but nothing will be able to match the pure awesomeness that it was to be there for De La Soul.



Not only did I get to sing along to Me, Myself and I, total anthem of my last summer in school (single tear), but I did get to high five Trugoy, which was pretty damn cool.


On the other hand by ultimate highlights are that:-

  • The festival isn’t just going strong, it’s growing and becoming bigger and better each year; and
  • That less than 20 years ago people may have doubted that something this diverse was possible and the fact that 14 years on it’s bringing people from all age groups and walks of life together to just have a good time and show the world that our little city has a lot to offer.


The highlight of the festival for me has got to be ‘The Tale of the Ancient Lights‘.  I was captivated and transported to another world with a story told with no words but with music, light effects and dance.  For 45 minutes I kept my eye on the performer, I was transfixed, as I didn’t want to miss anything. It reminded me of the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics, where the story was also told only through music, light and dance.  Like the opening ceremony, this was a visual treat for the eyes and it proves that a story can be beautifully and universally told without words.



The highlight of the festival for me was most definitely Ruichi’s ‘The Tale of the Ancient Lights‘.  Although the festival offered delights and wonders aplenty, nothing quite struck a chord with me as much as this solo performance. As mentioned in my review of the show it was like nothing I had seen before and therefore, in my mind, it really set it apart from the rest of the festival. It was a spectacle for all ages and one that will stay fresh in my mind for a long time to come.


Podcast Episode 2: Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival, Ann Harrison Exhibition, Malik Bendjelloul, Arrow, Game of Thrones and Elementary.

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