One of the biggest events on the music calendar is to be staged in Belfast, generating millions of pounds for the local economy.
The MTV European Music Awards are to be held at the Odyssey Arena on Sunday, November 6 and could see pop icons like Madonna, Lady Gaga and Jay-Z grace the red carpet in the city.
Confirmation that Belfast has won the bid to stage the star-studded, glitzy bash came during a meeting of the City Council last night.
Members agreed to contribute £320,000 with further funding to be drawn from a number of Stormont departments, Tourism Northern Ireland, NI Screen and commercial sponsors.
Belfast, which was pitched as an “edgy” location for the global event, staved off competition from Warsaw, Paris and Istanbul.
Last night Conor Maskey, chairman of the Belfast City Council’s development committee, which helped secure the successful bid, described the achievement as “no mean feat”.
Hosting the European Music Awards ceremony is part of a three-year strategy to put Belfast on the map as a “world class music destination” by the council and tourism bosses
The economic impact will also be massive.
When it was held in Edinburgh in 2003 the return on investment was £11.9 for every £1, and in Copenhagen in 2006 the return was £8.13 for each pound.
Last year Hollywood A-lister and Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria compered the ceremony in Madrid which was attended by pop sensations Rihanna, Katy Perry, Ke$ha, Shakira and Miley Cyrus.
Earlier this year the Belfast Telegraph revealed that scouts from MTV had visited a number of key venues including the Odyssey and the North Coast to test the province’s suitability for staging the major event.
Belfast’s bid was boosted by a successful “MTV Presents....” gig in the Waterfront Hall last September featuring Mark Ronson.
This was part of a week-long series that helped generate £1.6m for the city’s economy.
This year there will also be a week of smaller concerts to showcase Belfast and provide a platform to profile the Belfast music |industry.
This will include a Belfast music coach tour, Belfast music exhibition at the Oh Yeah Centre, the creation of one-off unique gigs, the promotion of Belfast’s music listings website Belfastmusic.org, the promotion of Belfast’s music iPhone application as well as international showcasing and marketing of Belfast’s musicians.
The first MTV European Music Awards were held in Berlin, four years after the wall was taken down.
George Michael performed Freedom surrounded by supermodels, including Naomi Campbell, and Bono received the Free Your Mind Award on behalf of Amnesty International.
Edinburgh, Stockholm, Barcelona, Rome, Dublin, Munich, Copenhagen and Liverpool have also held the awards in previous years.