Located in the cultural heart of Belfast and spread over a variety of historical venues, WAKE is a transgressive festival that mixes the best in incendiary intellectual exploration with underground art, music, magic, comedy, cabaret, tours and talks to forge an experience that embodies the destabilizing essence of pyrotheology.
WAKE is a pop-up community that creates a space for radical ideas and personal rupture. It brings together a ragtag collection of dissidents, heretics, fools and fundamentalists from all over the globe. People who want to spend five days forging deep friendships, bidding farewell to old religious, political and cultural gods, and learning how to affirm life in all its dirt and depth.
Since its inception, WAKE has gone from strength to strength. Thanks to everyone involved in forming this outsider collective, we’re no longer a fragile newborn, but have continued to grow in both size and stature. This year we’re leveling up by reimagining the festival design. We’ll be keeping all the elements that make this event special, while expanding the capacity, developing our program, and bringing in fresh elements.
What are the dates?
Wake starts on the evening of 28th April and goes to the early hours of 2nd May.
What should I expect?
This is a boutique festival - not a conference - that is carefully crafted to help inspire you, challenge you, and enrich your experience of life. I'll be there speaking, facilitating discussions and answering questions. But I'll also be curating the other content; bringing in academics, artists and activists who will help to create an immersive and life affirming environment. In addition to all the music, magic, and art, there will be plenty of pub conversations, tours, talks and laughter.
This years theme is all about fundamental transformation. We'll have some leading thinkers exploring what it means to find liberation personally and politically.
We work hard to keep the cost of WAKE down so that we can allow as many people as possible to be part of the community. Included in the ticket price is admission to everything across the five days of WAKE. There will be a small amount of courtesy catering, but meals are not included. Neither is travel or accommodation.
Should I extend my stay?
Absolutely. We have set up Wake so that it dovetails with two of Ireland’s most famous festivals: The Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival and the Festival of Fools. Between 2nd - 12th May Belfast will be alive with street theatre, visual arts, speaking events, readings, movies, and more. Every venue and street corner will have performers of various stripes. So we’d recommend you come early and visit the world famous North Coast, or stay late and experience these other festivals. Or take the opportunity to tour many of the other incredible places in Ireland. There is always a group of people from Wake up for additional mischief after the event comes to a close.
Can I give a deposit or pay in installments?
Yep. This year we’re offering the opportunity to put down a non-refundable deposit. The deposit will secure your place for 30 days. You can also contact us directly if you’d like to pay in installments. We'll be releasing more details soon.
What happens if I pay but can't go?
Because we have to book everything in advance and budget in anticipation of full attendance, refunds can't be given. However we can offer you credit toward future Wake festivals. You are also welcome to sell your ticket on to someone else. So think carefully before you buy!
What are my transportation options?
The closest airport is the George Best City (BHD). It’s a 5 minute bus or taxi ride into the city (both can be found right on the doorstep of the airport (Uber also operates in Belfast). The other local airport is Belfast International (BFS). There is a bus at the airport that takes you directly into the city. From there, you can walk to the area where everything takes place. Dublin airport (DUB) is also a great option as flights there are often cheaper. It’s just under 2 hours from Belfast and there’s a bus outside the exit that will take you up (some of the buses don't take credit cards, so buy your ticket in advance or use either Euros or Sterling).
Where should I stay?
Belfast is packed with great accommodation. There's a fantastic and every growing range of options from the basic to the luxurious. And all at very reasonable prices. You can look for an apartment in the Cathedral Quarter (St. Annes Square is a great spot), or book into one of the many local hotels. Our recommendations are: The Premier Inn or the Ramada Encore for budget options (there are a few Premier Inns, so make sure you're booking the one located in the Cathedral Quarter), Bullitt for a very stylish and cool mid-price option, and The Merchant if you want to make your stay that little bit more special.