MTV countdown: Music’s biggest stars jet into Belfast
Belfast is bracing itself for an invasion of some of the biggest names in pop music ahead of this weekend's MTV EMAs.
With both the George Best City and Belfast International airports on standby for the arrival of private jets and commercial flights carrying many of the artists, several have already touched down early to prepare for the star-studded event at the Odyssey Arena this Sunday.
Rumours were rife yesterday that teen heart-throb Justin Bieber — at the centre of a paternity law suit — had checked into the Fitzwilliam Hotel around lunchtime as well as US singer/songwriter Bruno Mars. There were also reports that US rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers were among the first acts to jet into Belfast.
A spokeswoman for Belfast International Airport confirmed that one private jet had already arrived yesterday, as well as a Continental Airlines flight with leading MTV executives on board. She also said that much of the MTV ‘talent' — the artists who will be performing on the night — were due to come in on private planes early tomorrow ahead of afternoon rehearsals at the Odyssey. A big- name star is also expected to arrive on a Continental Airlines flight from Newark airport on Saturday.
She said: “Obviously we are expecting traffic to be very busy over the weekend with both private jets and commercial flights coming in. There will be a welcome desk at the airport to greet VIPs and to organise their transport onwards to where they are staying.” Some other MTV guests, including those who will be handing out awards on the night, are expected to arrive on Sunday. It is also understood that one or two artists will be flying into Dublin and arriving in Belfast by private helicopter.
At George Best City Airport, a number of private jets touched down yesterday with more arrivals due today and tomorrow.
A spokeswoman said: “There will be a lot of additional traffic over the weekend but we are coping very well.”
On Wednesday, EMAs hostess Selena Gomez took to Twitter to |tell her fans she was packing her suitcase ahead of the trip to Belfast.
She wrote: “Packing for the MTVEMA. Are you ready Belfast? Tune in Sunday, November 6. Big surprise for you guys.”
In an interview with the Belfast Telegraph, Gomez, girlfriend of Justin Bieber, said she was bringing her family with her and planned to turn the visit into a short vacation.
A spokesman for the Merchant Hotel confirmed that MTV had taken it over for a week and that one major talent was staying there.
It is also rumoured that Lady Gaga will stay at the Culloden Hotel, although according to other reports, the award-winning pop star has hired out a castle in the Irish Republic.
And according to sources, a number of rooms at the Europa Hotel have been fitted out as themed nightclubs in preparation for after-show parties. Other stars who tweeted their excitement at coming to Belfast included Katy Perry, who wrote: “Can't wait to head back to Belfast” and fashion designer Jeremy Scott, who said: “Yes, it's true. Im am going to Belfast to present an award for the 2011 MTV EMA. Now what shall I wear?”.