The Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival

Click Play Audio for a podcast with festival director Colin Magee and music from Iain Archer

The sixth annual Belfast-Nashville Songwriters festival bill has been announced, with more than 100 musicians performing 30 concerts between February 24-28.

Irish musicians Iain Archer, Andy White and The Lost Brothers are joined by Tom Baxter, Carlene Carter (USA), Midge Ure, Ralph McTell, Holly Williams (USA), Mundy and Dave Gunning (Canada). Nashville’s Nanci Griffith returns to support the international songwriters’ event and the Sister Cities link. 

Tom Baxter performas at the Ulster Hall, Belfast, February 27'We’re highlighting the art of songwriting and giving credit to the writers behind the songs,' says festival director Colin Magee. 

'With support from our sponsors we are showcasing new music alongside established artists. Botanic Avenue will become ‘Little Nashville’ for five days in February 2010, with music industry professionals arriving to give advice at the annual Songwriting Convention.' 

A festival highlight takes place in the refurbished Ulster Hall on February 27 when Tom Baxter headlines the Avalon Guitars Concert. Baxter is supported by Holly Williams (daughter of Hank Williams Jr), as well as Iain Archer and John D’Arcy. 

'Since our Sister City agreement with Nashville was established 15 years ago the relationship has flourished,' says Belfast’s Lord Mayor, Councillor Naomi Long. 

'There is great merit and significance in developing linkages. A tangible output of the connection is the Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival, which promotes and strengthens the link and shared musical heritage. The festival sends out a positive message and enhances Belfast's tourism potential.' 

On January 29, a pre-festival concert in Madison's Hotel features Nashville country hit writer Phil Vassar. 
The 2010 festival also welcomes three of NI's top hard rock acts to the bill. 

Trucker Diablo, Black Freeway and Circadian perform at the Oh Yeah music centre in Gordon Street on February 26, in an event called 'Paradise City – Live’. 

'I was given the chance to be involved with this gig,' says heavy rock DJ Monk. 'Putting heavy rock into an environment usually populated by folk and country singers was too good an opportunity to pass up.'

The Belfast-Nashville Songwriters Festival, Belfast, February 24-28 (2010). Tickets and full details available at the Festival website, and from the Belfast Welcome Centre on 028 90 246 609. 

Tom Baxter concert tickets are available from the Ulster Hall website, and on 028 90 334 455.  

Details of Paradise City can be found at the Paradise City blog.