It’s going to be the biggest 18th birthday bash Belfast has ever seen.
And pop music fans have been told to “expect the unexpected” when the star-studded MTV European Music Awards roll into the city next month.
“This is our coming-of-age year and it’s going to be huge,” David Lynn, head of MTV, told the Belfast Telegraph. “The show broadcasts to a viewing audience of 1.2 billion across 640 million homes in 159 million territories. Expect the unexpected. It’s going to be great.”
Pop princess Selena Gomez has been lined up to host the multi-million pound glittering event, but Mr Lynn is keeping tight-lipped about what other A-listers will be gracing the red carpet at the Odyssey come November 6.
“We are still working on what the talent line-up is going to be,” he added. “We haven’t announced the performances yet but you can expect the same groundbreaking production that we’ve always had. It’s fully our intention to make it as fantastic and innovative a show in Belfast as it always has been.”
Lady Gaga, who was unable to make the EMAs in Madrid last year, is expected to top the bill with British artists like Adele and Jessie J, who are also nominated for a number of awards, likely to put in appearances.
“It will be a star-studded experience and a spectacular a show as we’ve ever put on,” promised Mr Lynn.
Belfast has always boasted a rich musical heritage, from Stiff Little Fingers to Snow Patrol, Ruby Murray to Van Morrison, but in recent years the city's music scene has flourished, with bands like General Fiasco and Two Door Cinema Club helping to shine a spotlight on the city. And it was this rich local scene which put “edgy” Belfast above cities like Warsaw, Paris and Istanbul.
Belfast City Council is also putting £320,000 towards the event, with further funding being drawn down from a number of Stormont departments, Tourism Northern Ireland, NI Screen and commercial sponsors.
“Holding it in the city is really going to draw on the great spirit and culture of Belfast,” said Mr Lynn. “There’s a great vibrancy and vibe in Belfast at the moment. When we are picking cities we look at a number of different factors, including the capability to host the show of this scale and complexity. As well as that we look at the heritage and strength of the music scene in the city — and in Belfast we found there is a great music scene.
“We’ve worked really well with Belfast City Council and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board and lots of local businesses to make sure that we are putting on a great show. I think it says a lot about Belfast that it is able and ready to put on a show of this scale.
“I think Belfast is a great choice — it has come on in leaps and bounds in recent years, particularly in terms of the hospitality infrastructure and technical capabilities.
“We believe it really is ready to host an event as big as the EMAs.”
More than 10,000 hotel rooms have been booked in 40 hotels. However, Belfast’s strict licensing laws could put a dampener on aftershow parties with pubs and clubs having to close their bars at midnight. But Mr Lynn would not be drawn into the contentious debate.
“That’s really a local issue,” he said. “We are moving ahead and we are very excited to be hosting the event in Belfast.”
Tickets will be made available to the public via a raft of competitions across the UK. For information people are advised to keep an eye on www.mtvema.com
Star-studded line-up to get city on song
American pop phenomenon Selena Gomez is to host the star-studded MTV EMA awards in Belfast on November 6. Platinum-selling outlandish songstress Lady Gaga is currently leading the pack with six nominations, while Bruno Mars and Katy Perry have four.
British singer Adele — who is currently the top-selling artist of the year — has scored three nominations, along with Justin Bieber and 30 Seconds To Mars. The EMAs have been held since 1994 and are based on fans’ and viewers’ votes.