Belfast Telegraph

Eminem may be an idol to millions, but it seems he won’t be welcome in Bangor

By Anna Maguire

Stars like multi-million selling star Eminem are not welcome in genteel Bangor, it appears.

The controversial rapper may be barred from headlining a major festival in the town again.

North Down Borough Council has introduced a policy permitting only acts which can be broadcast on mainstream media. It follows protests in the seaside town last year calling for Eminem to be scrapped as the headline act of the Tennents Vital festival.

The ambitious line-up for the 2011 gig drew thousands to the area.

But for some the presence of the US star notorious for swearing in his lyrics was too much to stomach, sparking protests at Bangor Town Hall. A new draft document has been introduced to stop another furore this summer.

But it seems the 24-strong council bloc is split on its interpretation of the policy.

For the town’s deputy mayor and DUP councillor Alan Leslie, it effectively bars Eminem from performing again in the town.

Mr Leslie — who voted against Eminem coming to the town last August — said country and western stars would be better for Vital festivals.

“He (Eminem) would not be my cup of tea,” he told the Belfast Telegraph on Monday. “I did vote against him coming to the town... (because) of his foul mouth and foul language.

“And I was right because the council officers have decided not to bring him back again.”

Mr Leslie said he received around 50 complaints on the back of Eminem’s appearance — followed by a petition from a residents’ group near Ward Park, where the Vital festival is held.

“If we had something like Country Fest, that would be an idea,” he added. “I would not like to see someone like Rihanna. I think her lyrics are a bit extreme.

“We had Proms in the Park here and that was a great success.”

But fellow councillor, Alliance’s Michael Bower, said: “At the end of the day last year’s (Eminem) concert was a massive benefit to the local economy and people have to be realistic. There needs to be a bit of give and take.

“My personal experience — having grown up with Eminem in my generation — is Eminem would be moderate. Indeed, it is a shame if he cannot return to Bangor because of this.”

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