Sound of Belfast 2016

Ten-day programme of music events celebrating homegrown artists while offering a wealth of industry opportunities

Festival Details


Thursday, 03 November 2016 to Saturday, 12 November 2016

Sound Of Belfast, a sustained showcase for local artists, music industry activity and community programming, has been announced. 

The highlight of this year’s programme is the Northern Ireland Music Prize and the presentation of an Oh Yeah Legend Award to the band Ash (Nov 11).

The schedule also involves performances from the likes of Ports, Ryan Vail, The Bonnevilles, Robyn G Shiels, Girls Names, Hot Cops and Jealous Of The Birds.

There will be a premiere for the Malojian film, This Is Nowhere, which follows the band to Electrical Audio Studios, Chicago, to record with Steve Albini (Nirvana, The Pixies, Plant and Page, PJ Harvey). This takes place at the MAC on November 5.

The Breaking Into Music Youth Conference, returns for a second year on November 8, showing pathways into music and featuring input from UK and local professionals.  

There are 31 events across the 10 days in 8 venues. Events are taking place at the Mandela Hall, Lavery’s, Voodoo, The Elmwood Hall, The Empire, the MAC and The Eglantine Bar. The programme is coordinated by the Oh Yeah Music Centre - Belfast’s dedicated music hub, where much of the activity will take place.

Charlotte Dryden, the new CEO of Oh Yeah says, 'Sound of Belfast is our way of celebrating all that is great about local music. From showcasing new talent to celebrating legends in venues across the city. What is really special is the opportunity for people to participate in some of our youth and older people events. It's also great that we are able to keep talking and discussing opportunities and solutions for our industry, musicians and audiences through events like The Music Cities Afternoon and the Breaking Into Music Conference.'

There will be contributions from music industry organisations such as UK Music, The BPI, Musicians’ Union, PRS for Music, The Cato Academy and PPL. There is additional support from Creative & Cultural Skills and the British Council.  

This year, Help Musicians UK will also use the occasion to announce their ambitious plans for Northern Ireland. This leading charity for musicians of all genres are set to open a dedicated office and will start to deliver health and welfare support (including Music and Depression and #hearformusicians) plus new creative funding schemes.

A Music Cities afternoon will examine how Belfast can strengthen its cultural tourism status with relation to cities such as Berlin. On November 12, the Belfast Music Bus Tour will plot the stories and the soundscapes of a wonderful musical city.

Sound of Belfast includes a community event, Urban Affinity on November 9. Delivered with the support of Belfast Harbour and the Halifax Foundation, this reaches out to young people from disadvantaged areas with musical taster sessions.

Five acts from Oh Yeah’s talent development programme will launch a CD of their work with a special gig on November 10. The acts are: Bosco Ramos, Emer Maguire, Petty Youth, Search Party and Vokxen

Supporters and partners of Sound of Belfast include the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, the PRS for Music Foundation, Help Musicians UK, The Spectrum Festival, Shizznigh Promotions, The Over The Hill collective and Love Music Hate Racism.

Blue Moon craft beer is set to become the first ever Live Music Sponsor of Sound of Belfast, a development that has allowed the programme to deepen and expand.

Sound of Belfast 2015 attracted over 8,000 participants and is confident this year it can surpass that figure.