Terri Hooley Receives Honorary Plaque

Belfast City Council pays tribute to Northern Ireland's very own ‘godfather of punk’ during Belfast Music Week

As part of the third annual Belfast Music Week, Lord Mayor of Belfast Gavin Robinson has unveiled a special plaque on the site of the former Harp Bar, celebrating the role that both record producer and music promoter Terri Hooley and his Good Vibrations record label have played in the musical life of the city.

It is one of the rare occasions that a plaque commemorating the achievements of a living person has been unveiled in the city. A similar plaque marks the childhood home of Van Morrison in Hyndman Street in east Belfast.

Commenting on today’s historic unveiling, the Lord Mayor said: 'Terri Hooley is a remarkable man who came out of difficult times in Belfast. In the 1970s he set up a record shop in the city when many other people were going out of business. He provided an open and welcoming space when much of Belfast was closing down. He was a living example of how to survive beyond sectarianism and mistrust.

'Then Terri discovered a new generation of bands in the town, who were inspired by the ideals of punk rock. They wanted a fresh start, they had alternative ways of thinking and they created their own sense of community. Terri, a child of the 1960S, understood the value of this.

'Through his record label, Good Vibrations – named after his shop, of course – Terri released many great records, perhaps the most famous being ‘Teenage Kicks’, which was recorded at Wizard Studios, just a few yards away from here [Hill Street\. In doing so, he encouraged young people to feel useful and empowered, and that is one of Terri’s most important legacies.

'We are now standing at the site of the old Harp Bar, a venue that Terri helped to organize as a home for young bands. The small stage upstairs was a home for acts like Rudi and The Outcasts, Stiff Little Fingers, The Undertones and The Defects. In time, Belfast became celebrated for the positive and creative energy that came out of here. And Terri played an important role in telling that story.

'Many generations of bands from Northern Ireland owe something to Terri’s example. While he may have come into conflict with previous generations of city fathers, it is genuinely a great pleasure to stand here with Terri and many of his friends and to recognize his work.

'This plaque may be a small gesture, but hopefully it will serve both as a reminder of the light that both the man and the venue shone in some of our darkest days and an inspiration for people, now and in the future, to explore and experience our rich and living musical heritage further.'

On Sunday, November 11, a special event celebrating Hooley’s life in music will mark the end of Belfast Music Week. Taking place at the Oh Yeah Music Centre, it will feature performances from The Defects, Protex and other special guests, as well as a screening of edited highlights from Good Vibrations, the recent biopic about Hooley, and a DJ set from the man himself. Admission to this event, which begins at 8pm, is free.

Belfast City Council's Belfast Music Week, which has featured more than 250 events in 70 venues, is co-ordinated by the Oh Yeah Music Centre, and supported by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, Belfast Visitor and Convention Bureau, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Invest NI, Tourism Ireland and the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure.