Féile an Phobail's Dance Night in Belfast on Tuesday, August 8 caught the attention of none other than New Jersey rockers Bon Jovi.
"Epic!" Bon Jovi said on social media on Wednesday, retweeting a clip of some 10,000 festival goers in Belfast singing the iconic band's hit song "Livin' on a Prayer."
Epic! https://t.co/XYarynzvCz— Bon Jovi (@BonJovi) August 9, 2023
The "epic" singsong took place on Tuesday, August 8 during Féile an Phobail’s Dance Night, which featured a lineup of DJs in Belfast’s Falls Park from 3 pm until 1 am.
The atmosphere was unmatched - Féile organizers shared clips from Dance Night on social media of the crowd, mostly young people, enthusiastically singing along to classics like "Heaven is a Place on Earth," "What's Going On," "Forever Young," and, of course, "Olé, Olé, Olé, Olé!"
Olé, Olé, Olé, Olé!
10,000 young people singing in unison at Féile Dance Night.
Tonight is a special night.
The biggest and the best Féile Dance Night ever! pic.twitter.com/wJprH6yZkG— Féile an Phobail (@FeileBelfast) August 8, 2023
Dance Night was hosted on August 8, a night that has previously been marked in Belfast by bonfires as a tribute to the people, mainly Catholic men, taken prisoner during Operation Demetrius, which was introduced by the British government on August 9, 1971.
However, the day after Dance Night, Féile director Kevin Gamble said no bonfires were held in Belfast on August 8.
Last night there were no bonfires in Belfast.
The destruction that formerly happened in communities on 8th August didn’t happen yet again.
Instead young people danced the night away in the Falls Park at Féile Dance Night and they were superb!
That is the future! pic.twitter.com/8dKS2ePWMe— Féile an Phobail (@FeileBelfast) August 9, 2023
Marking its 35th anniversary this year, Féile an Phobail was established in 1988 as a direct response to the conflict in the north of Ireland and has steadily grown from a "relatively humble parade of floats" to being the largest community arts festival in Ireland.
Though Féile runs a year-round programme of events, the August festival is the highlight.
Féile an Phobail 35 is running this year from August 3 - 13. Irish language rap group Kneecap are due to perform in Falls Park on Friday, August 11, while The Wolfe Tones are scheduled for Sunday, August 13.