Sound of Belfast Launch at the Oh Yeah Music Centre
Preview By Maeve O’Reilly • Photos Bernie McCallister
The launch of the Sound of Belfast programme at the Oh Yeah Music Centre took place Tuesday 26 November.
Sound of Belfast runs 03-12 November, a 10 day festival with over 30 events, across 8 venues. This is an exciting time in the local music scene for many artists and bands to perform and promote their extraordinary talent.
The Oh Yeah Music Centre looked homey and was decorated with fairy lights soaring above the tables of food and free drinks of Blue Moon at the bar. As I looked about there were many familiar faces with people chatting and enjoying the atmosphere. Stuart Bailie was right at home in the Oh Yeah, floating around making conversation with everyone, including Terri Hooley, musician Michael Mormecha, photographers and a UTV video crew.
There was certainly a great buzz in the air as Charlotte Dryden from the Oh Yeah took to the stage to say a few words to everyone. Charlotte spoke with passion about the programme and local music as a whole and how the Oh Yeah is a driving and supporting force behind it, “the beating heart of the programme is here in the Oh Yeah”. Although Northern Ireland’s local music scene is constantly growing all year round, Charlotte explained how the Sound of Belfast would “shine the light a little brighter across those 10 days”. She added, “Sound of Belfast is our way of celebrating all that is great about local music. From showcasing new talent to celebrating legends in venues across the city. What is really special is the opportunity for people to participate in some of our youth and older people events. It’s also great that we are able to keep talking and discussing opportunities and solutions for our industry, musicians and audiences through events like The Music Cities Afternoon and the Breaking Into Music Conference.”
There will be contributions from music industry organisations such as UK Music, The BPI, Musicians’ Union, PRS for Music, The Cato Academy and PPL. There is additional support from Creative & Cultural Skills and the British Council.
The programme seems inspiring and filled with something for everyone, including a discussion on 10 November on “What does Brexit mean for music in Northern Ireland” in terms of listening laws, venues, and how we can link in with the music scene in other cities. Discussion and plans were already in their tracks about the Oh Yeah Music Centre linking with Berlin, a city known for its colourful musical culture.
Make sure to get your tickets and put 11 November in your diaries for the Northern Ireland Music Prize night which is “well on track to sell out” at Mandela Hall where Ash will receive their Oh Yeah Legend Award. Among the 12 artists whose albums received nominations is Michael Mormecha who we were lucky enough to hear performing tracks fromthe album LOFi LiFE at the launch. Everyone was mesmerised by his bare and mellow sound complemented with a keyboard, their raw talent pouring through. An excellent songwriter and musician and defiantly a worthy nominee.
Five acts from Oh Yeah’s talent development programme will launch a CD of their work with a special gig on November 10. The acts are: Bosco Ramos, Emer Maguire, Petty Youth, Search Party and Vokxen
Supporters and partners of Sound of Belfast include the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the PRS for Music Foundation, Help Musicians UK, The Spectrum Festival, Shizznigh Promotions, The Over The Hill collective and Love Music Hate Racism.
Blue Moon craft beer is set to become the first ever Live Music Sponsor of Sound of Belfast, a development that has allowed the programme to deepen and expand.
Sound of Belfast 2015 attracted over 8,000 participants. This year, we are confident that we can surpass that figure.
The Sound of Belfast 2016 is from 03-12 November – live gigs, music industry, awards, learning and community – go check it out. www.soundofbelfast.com