Belfast Telegraph

Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival brings the 'forgotten' songwriters centre stage

By Kirsten Elder

The people who write the songs will be centre stage for once at the Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival, organisers have promised.

The festival, known as Bel Nash, is back for its 11th year with over 40 concerts and an array of convention workshops.

This is the first of its kind in the United Kingdom with the main aim being to put songwriters centre stage.

Festival Director Colin Magee said: “Sometimes the people behind the songs are forgotten so I wanted to put them centre stage, people always know the song on the radio and the artists singing the song but not always the songwriter.”

He added: “For me the songwriter is the real creative person, writing the songs and making something from nothing.”

There are more than 100 songwriters playing over five days in Belfast with over 70% of artists from Northern Ireland.

Colin Magee said: “We bring over a lot of American songwriters too, Grammy award winning acts such as Don Henry and Jim Lauderdale.”

He added: “We also have Max T. Barnes who has written over nine number one hits and Jason Blume who’s songs have sold on more than 50million records.”

Top class songwriters are over in Belfast to perform live acoustic sets at small venues to make the shows more intimate and really going back to the grass roots of music.

Artists will also hold workshops and give advice to younger musicians who are trying to get their break.

Colin said: “We were offered to bring our festival to bigger venues, but we decided not too, the largest venue here will hold 480 people.”

Singer/songwriter Amanda St John from Glenariffe, Co Antrim is only one of the local artists taking part in Bel Nash.

Amanda said: “I have taken part in the festival for a couple of years now, it’s great to get the exposure and to see the international songwriters and acts from Nashville.”

She added: “It is just nice to be involved with it and there is a great vibe round all the other musicians.”

Amanda went to Nashville, the songwriting capital of the world in November to co-write and record songs with Jon Tiven who has worked with artists such as BB King.

For more information about Bel Nash visit www.belfastnashville.com and for tickets you can call the Belfast Welcome Centre on 028 9024 6609

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