North Cyprus has a large festival scene, and there are more and more festivals being formed every year it seems! You can attend village festivals that play on the particular speciality that the village lends its name to, or you can feast on the international music and culture festivals at some of the great historical venues in TRNC.
The festival season spans roughly six to seven months of the year, with the first events being held around April time and the last ones finishing off in late October, early November. So you can try to catch one when you’re visiting, or even attend a few if you’re living here on the island!
Village fairs have grown in popularity over the last few years, and some are extremely popular, enabling the public to see traditions and cultural mainstays of Turkish Cypriot life, as well as giving the local population a chance to show off their skills and wares. The Olive Festival in Zeytinlik for example has really got on the media bandwagon to promote itself, and you can now find out about the festival and the schedule via its Facebook group! However, the local press will also always publicise these events with schedules appearing nearer the opening of the event.
You can see cookery displays, arts and crafts demonstrations, competitions and also most popular are the folk dance displays that give a great insight into the skill of the dancers as well as the stories that they tell. You can see and buy lots of local products made in their traditional fashion, and even have a go at making some of them too at the Büyükkonuk Eco-festival. Festivals are generally organised by the local municipality, and sponsors are often sought to provide finances for some of the larger exhibitions and displays.
North Cyprus is also becoming well known for its international musical events that never fail to impress – with some big names now attending the most popular events. You can find out about these via the websites set up to promote and detail the names which will be taking part each year. There are a wide range of artists who take part, from classical tenors to Turkish pop singers, as well as some old favourites such as Boney M and Bonnie Tyler who have performed here in the recent past!
The International Bellapais Music Festival held in May each year at the stunning Bellapais Monastery venue near Kyrenia, has now been running for over 10 years and has featured some truly international classical groups, orchestras and individuals to amaze the crowds. Equally the International Famagusta Art & Culture Festival is growing in stature, again running now for over 10 years, with theatre and music events mostly being held at the wonderful Salamis Antique theatre. Find out more about this festival at www.magusa.org, and also via our article giving festival dates.
Besides music and village festivals there are also the cinematic and arts festivals of North Cyprus, featuring something for everyone to enjoy. Please visit our other festival page for a round up of the individual festivals in North Cyprus as well as articles on folk dancing, cinema and arts for example.