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Birthday gig's just the ticket for Van Morrison fans

By Nevin Farrell

He may be about to hit 70, but Van Morrison's popularity shows no sign of waning, selling out his birthday gig in just 45 minutes.

The blues legend's fans will be dancing in the street when he plays a concert on an east Belfast street immortalised in one of his own songs - Cyprus Avenue.

Some fans even queued in the wind and rain from 5am, four hours before the doors opened at the Visit Belfast Welcome Centre near the City Hall.

The concert is on Bank Holiday Monday, August 31. Mary Jo McCanny from the Welcome Centre said there was a "fairly significant queue" and that people started gathering before daylight.

It was a similar situation online, with the £50 seated and £80 standing tickets snapped up within minutes of going on sale.

Fan Aidan McKay said he was looking forward to seeing Morrison perform at somewhere as "iconic" as Cyprus Avenue. The concert is part of the EastSide Arts Festival.

The street became famous around the world when the singing superstar penned a song of the same name for his Astral Weeks album in 1968.

Morrison was born in nearby Hyndford Street in 1945 but once said of Cyprus Avenue: "It wasn't far from where I was brought up and it was a very different scene. To me, it was a very mystical place. It was a whole avenue lined with trees and I found it a place where I could think."

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