Local musicians invited to compete in 'Great Belfast Busk Off'

Bands and troubadours of all levels have the chance to win studio time and more as part of the event celebrating the city's music scene

Belfast's city centre is famed for its street performers – now those of a musical persuasion are being called to come together for a huge celebration of the talent that exists, with a healthy hint of competition thrown in for good measure.

Budding musicians of all ages and styles can take part in the Great Belfast Busk Off (GBBO) on Saturday August 18 in the city's Cornmarket where they'll face off in front of industry experts for a shot at winning top prizes.

Recording time at Half Bap Studios, a run of 100 CDs and vouchers to be used at Dawson's instrument shop are all up for grabs in the showcase, which is part of Belfast City Council's packed Summer Season of music events.

Launching the competition, Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Deirdre Hargey encouraged local musicians 'to come forward and grab this fantastic opportunity by both hands', one which could catapult them to bigger and better things.

Artists have until 6pm on Monday, August 6 to register, by emailing belfastmusic@belfastcity.gov.uk.

The GBBO is being held in partnership with Belfast One, Destination CQ BID and Help Musicians NI, who will host a post-event celebration in a secret location to be revealed on the day.

Gareth Neill, Manager of Destination CQ BID hopes musicians will jump at the opportunity. 'Belfast has an incredible wealth of musical talent and Destination CQ BID is excited to help support this fantastic initiative across the city centre. Busking helps emerging artists hone their talent, perform in unique spaces and put themselves on a public platform. We’re incredibly grateful for the prize pool on offer for this inaugural competition, with some great opportunities to work with music professionals.'

Great Belfast Busk Off group pic

(L-R) Keith Millar Help Musicians NI, musician Alice Millar, Gareth Neill Destination CQ BID, Belfast Lord Mayor Councillor Deirdre Hargey, Les Hume, Dawsons Music, musician Conor Maley and Clare Maguire Belfast One

Clare Maguire, Managing Director of Belfast One, is looking forward to seeing local talent in action. 'We’re delighted to be supporting the ‘Great Belfast Busk Off’ event. I’ve no doubt there’ll be a wide variety of talented musicians taking part, and I look forward to hearing them all on Saturday August 18!'

Help Musicians NI is a support network for up and coming artists looking for their big break. As Development Manager, Keith Millar explains, 'The Great Belfast Busk Off’ links in perfectly with their aims and ambitions. 'We aim to bring together artists, music industry bodies and the wider community, setting out to address the ever-changing needs of the industry within the region, and to support local emerging talent. It is our great pleasure to work alongside Belfast City Council and the Great Belfast Busk Off to do just that.'

The full Belfast Music ‘Summer Season’ programme is available at www.belfastcity.gov.uk/belfastmusic. Include #BelfastMusic in your posts to join the conversation.