Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Top gigs just the ticket for banishing gloom

In the midst of the credit crunch and the gloom and doom which seems to overshadow so much of the financial world and everyday life, it is good to know that some of our young people are in a lighter step with the times.

The latest reports indicate that concert-goers are still digging deep, and that a number of top entertainers are attracting sell-out audiences.

They include Northern Ireland’s own Snow Patrol, a lady called Pink and a Las Vegas group with the formidable title of The Killers.

Other top-selling acts due to grace our shores |include The Kaiser Chiefs, The Enemy, The Eagles, Franz Ferdinand, Counting Crows, Morrissey, the X Factor finalists’ tour, and UB40.

Even the names are enough to dazzle not only the fans themselves, but also the outside observers, who may wonder what this is all about.

Tickets for many of these events are not cheap, and they average around £35-40.

The obvious question to ask is how the young people, and indeed the not-so-young, are finding this

kind of money during a credit crunch. Obviously they are keen to watch their favourite performers ‘live’, and they also want to buy tickets to mark birthdays, anniversaries and special family or personal events. In doing so, they are prepared to spend less on other things.

Some people, however, will look on such concert-going as an extravagance. Many regard this period as a time for belt-tightening, although this view is not shared by the Prime Minister and other international leaders, who want us all to spend our way out of trouble.

Apart from such important considerations, the music fans who are flocking to concerts in such a big way are also showing us that there is a lighter side to life. Despite the setbacks, the financial scandals, and all the other challenges too numerous to mention, life goes on.

There is a long tradition in these islands of trying to make the best of life, even in the most difficult times.

This was apparent in Britain, with the street-parties which heralded the end of some of the greatest sacrifices which the world had known.

In our own community, there was widespread suffering for far too long, and many of these wounds have still to be healed. Yet, even in the worst of times, people tried to enjoy themselves, and some of the world’s greatest entertainers made a point of coming to Northern Ireland.

This was particularly obvious during the Belfast Festival at Queen’s, and this newspaper campaigned successfully to keep alive this flagship |series of events in times of recent financial difficulties. Happily, the show, literally, goes on.

Perhaps it is important also, to try to keep a sense of perspective about other aspects of life in our frenzied age, where a distressing culture of ‘blameology’ is becoming apparent.

This week, for example, the snow caused widespread difficulties for schools, employers and health and transport services.

However, it also brought great — though temporary — joy to countless children, and to those adults who remain young at heart.

How refreshing it is that not only the snow, but also a group called Snow Patrol, can remind all of us that there is, indeed, a lighter side to life.

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