ohyeahBelfast to host a new week-long programme of musical activity from 12-16 November

Belfast, 15 May 2014 – A special week-long music programme called Sound of Belfast will take place across the city from 12-16 November 2014, announced the music organisation Oh Yeah today.

Belfast’s flagship music centre has teamed up with a number of leading music organisations to coordinate a week of live performances, industry workshops with music experts from Belfast and London, talent development sessions for aspiring artists, and community music initiatives to support the city’s bustling music scene.

The programme is being supported by the BPI (British Recorded Music Industry) – the organisation behind the annual BRIT Awards. Other supporters are Help Musicians UK (the leading charity for musicians) and First Music Contact with input from Queen’s University Belfast and Belfast Metropolitan College.

Sound of Belfast will highlight the creative potential of the city, its flourishing music scene and its important connection with many other business sectors. It will provide a unique opportunity to learn about the country’s musical heritage, network with industry professionals, meet other music fans and celebrate homegrown talent.

Members of the public can look forward to a number of events, including:

  • The Northern Ireland Music Prize – which honours and celebrates the very best of Northern Irish musical talent.  Successful finalists will be hoping to take home the coveted prize won last year by Bangor’s Foy Vance (Joy of Nothing).  The Northern Ireland Album of the Year will be decided by an Academy of local media and industry professionals following live performances by the shortlisted acts at the Mandela Hall, Belfast.
  • Scratch My Progress – the finale of Oh Yeah’s core talent development scheme supported by Arts Council Northern Ireland and PRS for Music Foundation and sponsored by Invest NI. The EP launch and graduation gig will see a number of talented artists across all genres take to the stage in the Cathedral Quarter.
  • Breaking Bands – Oh Yeah’s popular showcase sponsored by Matchetts Music will return to spotlight the best of Belfast’s emerging talent.
  • Volume Control – an all-ages gig delivered by the teenage mentoring programme will take place to celebrate the fifth birthday of this innovative programme supported by Arts Council of Northern Ireland and the PRS for Music Foundation.
  • Urban Affinity – a community festival funded by Children in Need which provides young people from disadvantaged areas the opportunity to display their skills in urban music.
  • Getting To Know – an opportunity for aspiring musicians to get up close and personal with well-known songwriters through interviews, live performances and audience critique. Previous artists in this popular series have included Tim Wheeler from Ash, Soak and Duke Special.
  • Over The Hill – an Arts & Older People initiative which features live music and a workshop for the older generation of music lovers.

Additional music industry programming will be offered in partnership with the Dublin-based organisation, First Music Contact.  The focused line-up of events will include:

  • Sound of Belfast at HMV – a Sound of Belfast showcase of prominent Belfast bands supported by the UK’s much-loved music retailer, HMV.
  • Ask the Professionals – a number of professionals from the worlds of radio, TV, bookers and festivals will take part in a panel to answer questions on touring Ireland and much more.
  • Meet the Industry – a number of opportunities for speed-dating sessions with music industry managers and executives.

Talking about the exciting week ahead Angela Dorgan of First Music Contact said:

“It’s great to be working with Oh Yeah again. I would like to suggest a number of collaborations with First Music Contact.”

Voicing industry support for the initiative, BPI’s Head of PR Lynne McDowell added:

“The UK’s creative industries are a growing sector and music, in particular, holds enormous potential for economic growth, business development, tourism and community engagement in Northern Ireland.  We know that Belfast is bursting at the seams with promising songwriters, artists and performers and we believe that there has never been a better time to focus on turning that buzz into a sustainable business.

“Sound of Belfast is an opportunity to once again put Northern Ireland on the map for music and BPI is delighted to be supporting Oh Yeah’s exciting programme of events.  We hope that creative businesses, music fans, and aspiring artists will come from all over the country to meet us and enjoy what the week has to offer.”

More events will be announced in the coming weeks.  To find out more about the programme, please visit www.ohyeahbelfast.com

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