Belfast Telegraph

Legacy plan to ensure City of Culture stands tall as beacon of arts

By Donna Deeney

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland has contributed £450,000 to a City of Culture legacy fund for Londonderry, matched by the same sum from Derry City Council.

This £900,000 will be added to the £2m contribution announced last month by Culture Minister Caral Ni Chuilin. Additional funding is also expected from other Government departments.

Derry mayor Martin Reilly said the essence of the legacy plan was about providing cultural sustainability and encouraging residents and visitors to continue to connect with culture and the city.

He explained: "The city has made amazing progress during 2013 in how we look and feel and we want to continue with this.

"Today's announcements will build upon this strong foundation to capture the opportunity for cultural, economic and community growth.

"During Music City 2014, Derry City Council will be hosting music concerts with local and international artists.

"I am also delighted to announce a dedicated website, First Break, to match musicians with venues across the region."

Chairman of the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Bob Collins, said: "In addition to the announced funding, the Arts Council is committed to the on-going arts-led regeneration of Derry-Londonderry, which will benefit from the Northern Ireland-wide Creative Apprenticeships Programme that will support 100 apprenticeships over a three-year period across the arts and cultural sector."

There is a commitment that the traditional music scene be supported with investment in a fusion performance between An Culturlann and Solus Productions, with further opportunities for musicians to be involved in new commissions through an open call for expressions of interest in 2014.

First Break pairing website will build partnerships early in the new year, with an opportunity to register both venues and musicians for that perfect gig. The website will be live from early 2014. To support this, a series of concerts and events are planned, beginning with a public launch event on January 17 to welcome in 2014 and to say thanks to everyone who participated in the 2013 City of Culture celebrations.

Next years Derry will once again host the Clipper Round the World Yacht race. This will be marked by a number of public events, not least among them a huge open-air concert by The Beach Boys and a week-long maritime festival.

On the 2014 events calender too is the Pan Celtic Festival, which follows what was for most people the highlight event – The All Ireland Fleadh.

As the city winds down from what was a momentous year in its history as the first UK City of Culture, the curtain falls tonight for the final time at The Venue, as 220 musicians perform Shaun Davey's Relief of Derry Symphony.

The work, commissioned by Derry City Council to commemorate the siege of the city in 1689, was originally performed to great acclaim in the Guildhall in Derry in the summer of 1990 and has since become known as The Symphony Of Peace.

It is the most ambitious concert to be staged in this giant venue, which was erected specifically for the City of Culture events, part of the Department for Social Development's contribution to this year's celebrations.

Our highlights from a great year

"I absolutely loved the Return Of Colmcille in June and what I loved about it was the confidence and theatre of local people being involved. It was something that belonged to the city, it was so authentic to the city, this was the Patron Saint of the city and it was a proud moment for me.

"Who didn't love One Big Weekend? We could pretend we were in our 20s even if we are not really, and of course Lumiere."

"I will never forget Music City, which took place on the longest day of the year and began at dawn in Grianan Fort with a hot air balloon orchestra over the city. The entire day showed the substantive music talents that exists here and it will certainly be one day that I will never forget.

"Another highlight for me was one of the earliest events, The Home Grown concert, which followed shortly after the Sons and Daughters concert."

"Lumiere was unbelievable, the Fire Garden was incredible; just walking around it was so quirky and wonderful, it was almost medieval, people coming together, and even the whole walk across the city, Austins, Ebrington – all of it was astounding."

"For me, the highlight was the atmosphere that existed amongst the people. Everyone was smiling, saying to strangers 'isn't this just great' and generally just being incredibly proud that this was our city, and the people who had come here were quickly understanding why Derry people love Derry.

"Lumiere was another highlight for me, again largely because of the ambience it created."

"My personal highlight was when Radio One's One Big Weekend came back to the city for the record-breaking second time. The atmosphere in Derry in August during the All-Ireland Fleadh was phenomenal, with the entire city packed to capacity throughout the week-long celebration.

"Frank Cottrell Boyce's Return Of Colmcille left myself and all who saw it utterly amazed. Camille O'Sullivan's raw, stripped-back portrayal of both rapist Lord Tarquin and his innocent victim Lucrece in Shakespeare's Rape Of Lucrece was true genius also."

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