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MTV Unleashed: Talks with Belfast City Council over bringing star-studded pop festival to city

By Rebecca Black

MTV is expected to return to Belfast this autumn to put on a mini-festival, this newspaper can reveal.

Belfast City Council is in negotiations with the broadcaster about bringing MTV Unleashed to the city.

The event, which is also known as MTV Crashes, attracts big-name artists.

MTV has already announced Crashes will be returning to Coventry on May 27 and 28 and to Plymouth on July 28 and 29.

Negotiations with Belfast are continuing, but it is expected that the event will take place in September.

Rudimental, Jess Glynne and Example are among the acts confirmed for the Plymouth gigs.

Full details of the event are expected to be heard at the council's strategic policy and resources (SPR) meeting next Tuesday.

It is also expected to be on the agenda on the March meeting of the full council.

The schedule for the SPR committee meeting published on the council's website has blocked the details of the event.

However, the minutes of a meeting of the council's budget and transformation panel, which took place on March 10, record that councillors were updated on the proposed financial arrangements for the MTV event, which are set to be presented to the strategic policy and resources committee at its March meeting.

The minutes also record that the council expects that hosting the event will put Belfast on the world stage.

"The members discussed the importance of such an event to Belfast, given that the city would again be showcased to a worldwide audience," the minutes read. "They also noted that it is key to the council's commitment to the animation of the city and the hosting of international events."

SDLP councillor Declan Boyle, chair of the budget and transformation panel, said the council was always on the lookout for events to bring to Belfast that will benefit the city.

"Big events are fantastic for Belfast," he added. "They bring a lot of people in. The footage goes out worldwide and brings people to the city.

"We have found in the past that major events have been very useful in terms of emphasising the message that Belfast is a great place to visit. They really showcase the city."

MTV Crashes took place in Londonderry in 2014. The broadcaster is also set to return to Derry later this year, for the MTV Club event at Ebrington Barracks.

MTV hosted its European Music Awards in Belfast in 2011, with the show including performances from Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, Coldplay and Justin Bieber. It was reported that some one billion people across the world watched it on TV and it generated £22m for the city.

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