Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 December 2014

Vital’s over... now for the Proms in the park

AFTER the success of Tennent’s Vital only a fortnight ago, Bangor will once again host some of the most prestigious musicians alive, with the arrival of the world-famous Last Night of the Proms celebration at Castle Park, this Saturday.



The illustrious line-up includes popular soprano Lesley Garrett and Belfast-born pianist Barry Douglas.

Also lined up to perform at this year's event are internationally acclaimed Australian guitarist Craig Ogden and multi-talented singer-songwriter Declan O'Rourke.

Peter Johnston, director of BBC Northern Ireland, said: “Proms in the Park in Northern Ireland is one of the most prestigious and large-scale events we undertake each year.

“We are looking forward to bringing it for the first time to the grounds of Castle Park. Music lovers can be assured of a very special evening of musical entertainment from a mix of talented local and international artists — all set against the stunning backdrop of Bangor Castle.”

Mayor of North Down, Councillor James McKerrow, continued on a similar note, adding: “We are absolutely delighted to host the BBC Proms in the Park this year and I believe the beautiful grounds of Castle Park, with the backdrop of the Edwardian Bangor Castle building, will make a very special setting for this prestigious event.

“Concerts don't come much bigger than the Last Night of the Proms and we are pleased that Bangor will represent Northern Ireland at this acclaimed event.”

Fears that the event would be interrupted by a loyalist protest dubbed ‘Prods in the park’ have been alleviated after the organisers agreed to reschedule.

Councillor Peter Weir DUP MLA was among those to welcome the postponement.

“This is a time for calm heads in North Down, and I congratulate the people concerned for helping to lower tensions and behaving in a mature and responsible manner.

“It will enable everyone in North Down to enjoy our role in the last night of the Proms, which is how it should be.

“There are genuine concerns and grievances out there, and it is important that the time is used to start to address these in a long-term fashion.

“I believe that there needs to be a commitment and action to heal community tensions from all within both the council and the community.”

In addition, North Down residents can also look forward to the premier Irish literature festival in Northern Ireland, with Aspects Irish Literature Festival taking place from September 21-25 in the North Down Museum.

The festival, celebrating its 20th year, is hosting an eclectic mix of prose and poetry which it has become renowned for.

Bangorians can look forward to prolific Derry-based writer Jennifer Johnston, whom Roddy Doyle considers Ireland’s greatest writer, as well as performances by the ingenious Duke Special and the intriguing comedian Colin Murphy.

The festival also boasts Colin Bateman’s return to his hometown to interview his own crime writing hero, Ian Rankin, winner of the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize Nick Laird.

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