Sound of Belfast | Preview
Thursday 02 November – Saturday 11 November 2017
By Stewart Robson
Born from the ashes of Belfast Music Week, Sound of Belfast returns on Thursday 02 November and will run over the next nine days. It aims to showcase the best musical acts from the city and across Northern Ireland. Co-ordinated by the Oh Yeah Music Centre in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter, the festival will include a variety of events from a traditional Irish music tour to workshops and talks for today’s up and coming artists. This year adds yet another dimension, hosting a panel discussion regarding Brexit and the effect it will have on the local music industry.
2017 will see the festival’s fourth installment, as well the second year of sponsorship by craft beer brand, Blue Moon. The eclectic line-up will come to its close with the presentation of the Oh Yeah Legend Award; awarded to Belfast born global superstar, Vivian Campbell. Campbell rose to fame with rock superstars Def Leppard in 1992 and has toured with them extensively.
Previous winners of the award include: Pioneer Terri Hooley, Maiden City heavyweights – The Undertones and the late Henry McCullough.
The finale, held in the Mandela Hall on November 11 will also include a performance from the rocker’s most recent rock outfit, Last in Line, playing their only Irish show of the year.
The NI Music Prize will also be awarded on the night to the artist who has made the biggest impression on judges from across the province. The panel, incorporating 70 industry professionals including journalists, promoters and producers have whittled the list down to 12 artists whose albums have impressed this year. The short-list includes: Work from The Divine Comedy, Joshua Burnside and Arborist, who will also be performing at the finale.
Charlotte Dryden, CEO of the Oh Yeah, explained that the aim of the festival is to ‘shine the light a little bit brighter’ on what the Northern Ireland music scene has to offer.
“We have printed over 8000 copies of our programme for this year,” Charlotte said. “We have an incredibly diverse line-up and we’re trying to show our collaborative approach to the festival as much as possible.”
“The traditional Irish music tour and our own Belfast music tour are both happening on the same day (November 04), so we thought it would be a great idea to bring both together. The trad guys are based in The Dirty Onion bar, which is just around the corner from us so it should be a great day.”
“We’re also delighted that this year’s Oh Yeah Legend Award is going to Viv Campbell. He’s made a global impression on the industry and that is what the main credential is when choosing the winner. This award is all about celebrating our own and the success they have achieved, Viv is a great example of this.”
“There really is a tonne of great music out there, but what we’re saying is to introduce and reintroduce yourself to what’s on offer and take it from there. It should be a great festival.”
A full programme of the events can be found by visiting soundofbelfast.com. The Sound of Belfast runs from 02 November to 11 November ’17.