Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

Can Poots lure David Beckham to Ulster?

Northern Ireland's minister for the arts and sports will be jetting off to the bright lights of America's West Coast this week to help promote the province as a cultural location.

Among the key engagements on Edwin Poots' itinerary will be meetings with film studio executives to promote Northern Ireland as a filming location, as well as discussions with David Beckham's club, LA Galaxy, over the potential of a friendly match with the Northern Ireland football team next year.

"For a small country, Northern Ireland has an abundance of talented people and my mission is to promote that talent in the United States," said the Minister.

"My short programme is packed but the aim is to encourage decision makers in the US to consider Northern Ireland as a location for their type of business, be that music, film or sport. I want them to visit us, to sample our lifestyle and enjoy the vast range of arts, cultural and sporting activities we have to offer."

"We have the ability, drive, enthusiasm and now the track record to attract Hollywood blockbusters and our landscape, scenery and friendly people, make a wonderful backdrop for film makers."

The centrepiece of Mr Poots' visit is the launch of the world tour of chamber music ensemble, Camerata Pacifica in Los Angeles on April 22.

Mr Poots said that he was looking forward to launching the tour for the group, which is based in Santa Barbara, California.

"High quality events such as this provide the perfect platform for our musicians to perform with equally talented people from other parts of the world and it highlights that Northern Ireland is an exporter of extraordinary musical talent," he said.

Camerata Pacifica's tour takes the ensemble from LA to Washington and on to New York, London, Dublin and Londonderry, arriving in Belfast on May 3 where the Minister will join them for the final concert in St Anne's Cathedral.

"This imaginative concert tour is due to the foresightedness of Adrian Spence, a native of Northern Ireland, who founded the ensemble and Ian Wilson, also from Northern Ireland, whose music will be performed by Camerata Pacifica," the Minister said.

"I will also be visiting the Sacramento Valley Scottish Games and Festival, where six young drum majors from Northern Ireland will take part in the a competition under the direction of Brian Wilson, a former world champion drum major."

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