Belfast Music Week 2013 Launches

The week-long series of events returns from November 11 – 17, featuring a concert from Van Morrison and more

The conferment of the Freedom of the City on legendary singer-songwriter Van Morrison will be the highlight of the fourth annual Belfast Music Week, which runs from November 11 – 17, 2013.

Following Belfast City Council’s decision on Monday, September 16 night to grant the Freedom of Belfast to ‘Van the Man’, the ceremony will take place at the Waterfront Hall on Friday, November 15, having been upgraded from the Ulster Hall due to public demand. It will be followed by a free concert featuring Morrison and a selection of special guest artists.

'Belfast is my home,' said Morrison following the announcement. 'It is where I first heard the music that influenced and inspired me, it is where I first performed and it is somewhere I have referred back to many times in my songwriting over the past fifty years.

'I am delighted and honoured to receive the Freedom of the City and would like to thank all those who made it possible, the Lord Mayor, the Councillors and the people of Belfast.'

Other highlights of Belfast Music Week will include a series of special Ulster Hall concerts, showcasing the best in local acoustic, heavy metal and dance music, culminating in a concert from the Ulster Orchestra on Sunday, November 17.

The 2012 Belfast Music Week was the most successful yet, with more than 41,000 people attending more than 250 events in 70 venues across the city, bringing with it an associated economic impact of almost £2.1 million.

Belfast City Council is hoping that the 2013 programme of events will be even bigger and better. Announcing details of the key headline shows, the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Máirtin ÓMuilleoir, stated:

'Over the last four years, Belfast Music Week has helped to change the image and perception of the city, especially among younger audiences. More than three-quarters of those who attended Belfast Music Week events in 2012 were aged between 16 and 34.

'Furthermore, our audience surveys show that two-thirds of those questioned said that they would not have visited Belfast if they had not been going to a Music Week event – and 99 per cent of people said they would both recommend Belfast Music Week to friends and would return for future events.

'The music sector in Belfast has grown significantly over the past three years, and now plays a key role in the overall economic development of the city. With a rise in the number, and quality, of musicians and bands making headlines and enjoying success in the international marketplace, and new and innovative music businesses based in our city, events such as Belfast Music Week, have a significant role to play in developing the music industry, appreciating the ongoing success stories which make us proud of our unique, indigenous music scene and showcasing this on the global stage.'

In addition to the Ulster Hall programme, other highlights of Belfast Music Week will include the Northern Ireland Music Prize, a live event and announcement of the best local album of the past 12 months, at the Mandela Hall on Tuesday, November 12.

Another highlight is the annual Belfast Music Week Showcase at the Limelight Complex on November 14, featuring 12 Northern Irish artists as selected by a panel of respected local and international media and music industry judges. Artists and bands can apply to perform at the showcase via the Belfast Music website.

How and where to get Van Morrison tickets will be announced next week. Keep an eye on the Belfast Music website, Facebook and Twitter pages to find out.