Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Van Morrison plans free Belfast gig to mark his freedom of the city

Van Morrison, who will play a free concert to celebrate his freedom of the city.
Van Morrison, who will play a free concert to celebrate his freedom of the city.

Van Morrison will celebrate the freedom of his native Belfast with a free concert.

The 68-year-old musician will perform for fans in November at Belfast's Ulster Hall after being awarded the civic title.

City councillors voted unanimously on Monday night to bestow the honour on Morrison.

"Belfast is my home. It is where I first heard the music that influenced and inspired me, it is where I first performed and it is somewhere I have referred back to many times in my songwriting over the past 50 years," the singer-songwriter said.

"I am delighted and honoured to receive the freedom of the city."

The conferment ceremony and concert has been billed as the highlight of the fourth annual Belfast Music Week.

Known to fans across the world as 'Van the Man', Morrison has drawn inspiration from where he was raised for songs such as Cyprus Avenue and On Hyndford Street. During his 50-year music career Morrison has risen from the Irish showband scene to global stardom, winning six Grammy Awards, a Brit as well as places in both the Rock and Roll and the Songwriters Halls of Fame.

Lord Mayor of Belfast Mairtin O Muilleoir said he hoped the November 15 concert would help deliver the best Belfast Music Week.

"The music sector in Belfast has grown significantly over the past three years, and now plays a key role in the overall economic development of the city," he said.

"Events such as Belfast Music Week, and the council's support for it, have a role to play in developing the music industry," he said.

Other Music Week highlights, which runs from November 11-17, include concerts showcasing local acoustic, heavy metal, and dance music, and culminating in an Ulster Orchestra tribute to late poet Seamus Heaney.

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