Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 28 May 2016

Video: Brian Houston helps launch the 2016 Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival

By Gary Grattan

Published 19/01/2016

The very best of song writing talent will take centre stage in Belfast in March for a captivating series of concerts, musical showcases and workshops.

The occasion is the annual United Airlines Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival returns for its 12th year.

Founded by arts organisation Panarts, the five-day festival (2nd-6th March) will showcase over one hundred performers, forty concerts and twelve interactive workshops, celebrating the art of song writing and featuring a wide variety of music styles.

Taking place between the Belfast Empire Music Hall and Clayton Hotel, ‘BelNash 2016’ will feature some of the very best in Northern Ireland talent including: Brian Houston, Iain Archer, Triona, James Huish, Ciara O’Neill, Best Boy Grip, Peter McVeigh, Brigid O’Neill, Colum Sands, Cup O’ Joe, Simon Murphy, AER Club, Society Session, Belfast Guitar Society, twelve year old Ben Cutler, The Savage Five and John T Davis.

This year will also see the event film a television special, recorded with Music City Roots in Belfast and Nashville, Tennessee which will feature many of the festival artists performing their own songs alongside traditional music.

The special will be broadcast to a captive audience in October across 85 channels and into more than 60 million homes across the USA.

One of the main highlights of the festival is the Song Writing Convention which offers aspiring song writers the chance to take part in 1-2-1 workshops and music industry panel discussions. Headed up by famed American song writer, Jason Blume (author of ‘This Business of Songwriting’) who has worked with artists such as Britney Spears, Diana Ross, Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, these sessions will teach the tools and approaches Nashville songwriters use to take their songs to the next level.

Panarts Director Colin Magee said: “BelNash is now in its 12th year and we’ve got a fantastic series showcasing great local talent with international artists in our unique ‘In The Round’ and solo music concerts.

“With several performers coming from Belfast’s Sister City, Nashville and other countries including Australia, Holland, England and Scotland, it’s going to be another great year for live music.”

Stephen Bishop, Gallagher & Lyle, Kevin Gordon, Krista Detor, Jim Lauderdale and Gary Burr are just a few of the award winning international artists performing this year. Irish band Ulaid are joined by Liam Ó Maonlaí of Hothouse Flowers fame and John Spillane is supported by Anton Glackin.

This year’s festival will have a strong focus on young song writing talent with the introduction the Forestside & Panarts School Song Challenge. Budding young songwriters can compete in the centre’s open mic sessions every Saturday until 20th February 2016 to win a place at the festival.

Lee Cutler, Centre Manager at Forestside explains,

“We are pleased to be working in partnership with Panarts and delighted to be helping emerging talent in our local arts scene. We’ve had a fantastic response to the competition so far and we’re looking forward to meeting a fresh wave of local talent.”

The songwriter’s festival is created by Panarts and sponsored by Arts Council NI, United Airlines, Cool FM and Downtown Radio, Tourism Ireland, Dawsons Music, Belfast City Council, Department for Social Development, Arts and Business NI, Avalon Guitars, Clayton Hotel Belfast, The Empire Belfast.

Tickets and schedule can be found online at www.belfastnashville.com or Visit Belfast Welcome Centre (opposite City Hall) 028 9024 6609

From the web

From Belfast Telegraph