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Belfast Music Week sets unexpected stage for Northern Ireland bands bonanza

By Aisling Scally

Belfast Music Week will be taking bands out of traditional venues such as concert halls and letting them perform in the wild.

The stage was set on the roof of the Oh Yeah music centre, where it was announced that more than 250 events will take place in 70 venues across the city in November, playing everything from chamber music to hip hop, blues and electronica.

And some of those venues are in the most unexpected locations The Palm House in Botanic Gardens will play host to a gig on November 7, while the Europa Bus Centre will house a Translink Talent Performance on Friday 9.

There will be lunchtime gigs at HMV in Donegall Arcade and playbacks of classic Northern Ireland albums in the Black Box Cafe.

Another stand-out event is a free concert showcasing 12 of the most promising acts from Northern Ireland in the newly-refurbished Limelight. Industry figures will be flying in to witness the talent, all chosen by local experts.

One of these acts, Runaway GO, performed at yesterday's launch.

“This is our first time taking part in Belfast Music Week so we're very excited about everything,” said singer Fiona O'Kane.

Stuart Bailie, co-ordinator of Belfast Music Week, said: “We're astonished to see how the venues, bands and promoters have pulled together something even more expansive than last year.

“Last year over 33,000 people came out, and we're expecting big crowds again. We have plenty of big names involved including Barry Douglas and Duke Special.

“In Northern Ireland it used to be a feast or a famine with bands,” he said. “But now we have so many great bands on the go.”

Lord Mayor Gavin Robinson said hosting the MTV European Music Awards last year had given Belfast a sense of belief that it can be a credible musical city.

“Belfast Music Week is a celebration of our artists, our industry, our venues and our unique musical community,” he said.

Belfast Music Week will run from November 4-11. For more information \[e.hagan\]and booking go to www.belfastmusic.org

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