09/12/2009

Songwriters Festival Takes Voice

Belfast is to hit all the top notes in the New Year as the city celebrates music and poetry in a four-day festival as more than 100 songwriters take voice.

The 6th annual Guinness Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival - from 24th to 28th February will include 100 artists who will play 30 concerts in venues around Belfast, topped by the main gig in the recently refurbished Ulster Hall.

This will be on 27th February when the most important concert venue hosts the Canadian Tom Baxter headlining the Avalon Guitars Concert and supported by Holly Williams, daughter of Hank Williams Jnr, Iain Archer and John D'Arcy.

Talented local writers Iain Archer and Andy White will be joined by artists from around the world like Midge Ure, Ralph McTell, Holly Williams from USA, Charlie Winston and Dave Gunning from Canada.

Nashville's Nanci Griffith, (pictured) repeating her old statement "the songwriters festival in Belfast has become my annual vacation", returns this year again.
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Festival Director, Colin Magee explained they are showcasing new music alongside established artist, "highlighting the art of song writing and giving credit to the writer behind the song".

Mr Magee said that Botanic Avenue would become 'Little Nashville' for five days due to the 30 concerts scheduled in the area, at iconic pubs like The Empire or Madison's.

He also explained that industry professionals would be there to give advice at their annual Song Writing Convention.

Belfast's Lord Mayor, Councillor Naomi Long values the agreement as a Sister City between Belfast and Nashville 15 years ago, and considers the festival as a tangible output of this connection that allow share both musical heritage.

"It sends out a positive message of our cities internationally and enhances our tourism potential," she commented.

The festival is funded by Belfast City Council, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland Lottery Funds, and the Department for Social Development.

Moreover Guinness, Madison's Hotel, Avalon Guitars, the American Consulate, PRS for Music, the PRS Foundation and Castlereagh Arts are also sponsors.

The organisation has announced that a few more surprises will be announced before the end of the year.

(CL/BMcc)

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