Belfast Telegraph

Do you know these two girls who partied with Jimi Hendrix in Belfast?

It was 1967, rock hero Jimi Hendrix was headlining the Belfast Festival and he was pictured with two local girls. As the event celebrates its 50th anniversary, the hunt is on to track down the mystery women...

By Victoria O'Hara

Did you hang out with music legend Jimi Hendrix during his historic gig at Queen’s University in Belfast in 1967?

The search is on for two mystery women after this striking image was discovered by a team searching the extensive archive of the Ulster Bank Belfast Festival at Queen’s as part of celebrations to mark its 50th year.

The image shows Hendrix flanked by two fans as they present the legendary musician with a birthday cake.

Regarded as one of the most influential figures of his generation, Hendrix was at the height of his fame when he celebrated his 25th birthday on November 27, 1967.

He happened to be in Belfast that night, playing the Whitla Hall as part of the festival.

The two women helped him celebrate — and the question the archive team is asking is: “Where are they now?”

The remarkable photograph turned up as part of the work for the Belfast Festival Anthology, which is an ongoing documentation of over five decades of cultural history as part of a Heritage Lottery Fund and Queen’s University initiative launched today.

It is a three-pronged project that aims to celebrate and commemorate the 49 festivals that have gone before.

The new website hopes to attract a wealth of stories and memories from anyone who has experienced the festival over the years.

So, do you know these two women beside the world famous guitarist?

Or perhaps you listened to Humphrey Lyttelton at the famous Guinness Spot? Or maybe you listened to Seamus Heaney give his first reading in 1961?

Memories can be uploaded on the website and kept for future generations to enjoy.

As well as the memory website, there will also be a ‘Red Plaque’ tour of Belfast featuring 50 venues throughout the city that have been part of the festival at one time or another.

From the Arts Theatre in Botanic to Crumlin Road Gaol, every corner of the city has been touched by the popular arts event.

An outdoor exhibition featuring archive images and stories will also be launched on October 19 at Belfast City Hall, before moving to different locations.

This exhibition will include nods to international visitors over the years such as American jazz legend Dizzy Gillespie, trumpeter Lyttelton and comedians Michael Palin and Billy Connolly.

Belfast Festival Anthology project manager Hugh Odling-Smee said reaching a landmark 50th Belfast Festival at Queen’s is “something of an achievement”.

“Although Belfast often has a reputation for shunning the decadent arts, the existence of the Belfast Festival defies that stereotype of the city,” added Mr Odling-Smee.

“Over 50 Festivals the people of Belfast have celebrated what’s precious in life — be it laughter, music, tears or the stirring of the soul.”

Background

The Belfast Festival was started in 1961 by a group of students at Queen’s. This isn’t the 50th anniversary of the event, rather the 50th festival. Hugh Odling-Smee says: “In 1961-62 there was a jazz and arts festival at Queen’s. Nothing happened in 1963 but it returned from 1964-69. In 1970 and 1971 there was no festival, basically due to the Troubles.”

Belfast Telegraph

Popular

From Belfast Telegraph