Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 April 2014

ROCK ON

As next year promises to be another big one for music lovers in Northern Ireland, Jamie McDowell looks at some of the top names who will be performing here

The MTV European Music Awards may have come and gone, deepening Northern Ireland's imprint on the music map of the world in the process, but if anything, 2012 will show that there's life after the event.

Our concert halls, auditoriums and arenas are now used to hosting such A-list acts as Green Day, Lady Gaga and Britney Spears. And with the rise and rise of such festivals as Belsonic drawing in bigger acts year on year, and the quirkier festivals such as Chillifest also thriving, there's much to look forward to in the upcoming year.

So who are the big acts that have already confirmed that they're coming to Northern Ireland in 2012?

The year will kick off with a bang - hopefully not because of the Large Hadron Collider imploding the earth onto itself, (which would fulfil a lot of prophecies about 2012) - but with James Morrison at the Ulster Hall on January 28 and Snow Patrol at the Odyssey from January 23 to 25.

On January 25-26 boy band One Direction play the Waterfront Hall followed by an eagerly anticipated gig by Van Morrison on February 3 at the Odyssey.

For those craving a bit of glitz and glamour, former Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger will also be at the Waterfront on February 15, while the promise of Noel Gallagher at the Odyssey for his High Flying Birds Tour on February 16 will have fans excited too.

Musical heavyweight Chris Rea brings his Santo Spirito tour to the Ulster Hall on March 16, with 2010 X Factor winner Matt Cardle playing two days after him on March 18.

And on June 13 there won't be a bottle of black nail polish to be bought in the city as ageing emo punk rockers Blink 182 bring their tour to Belfast.

These stand out acts are just the bare bones of the plethora of stars that are booked, as others have yet to confirm dates. Belfast-based concert promoter James Rollins says the start of the year is a good indicator of what's to come.

"Snow Patrol will be huge at the end of January, but so will Van Morrison on his first return to Belfast after he played at the Grand Opera House about five years ago," he says.

"Playing an arena will be a step up for Van, but we've also got some great pop acts coming as well. The likes of Jason Derulo and One Direction will draw in big crowds."

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