Belfast Telegraph

Ash star hits out at cutbacks in funding for music

Funding for music development in Northern Ireland should be protected from cuts, a member of local band Ash has said.

The Downpatrick rockers played in the Ulster Hall last night and drummer Rick McMurray said the case for helping develop new bands was even stronger.

“It seems that in hard times like this there will always be stuff like this which will be the first to be cut,” he said.

“It is important for the arts to be funded all the more, for a lot of people from deprived backgrounds that is an escape route to a better life, hopefully it won’t have to have much of an effect.”

He said local people now were much more open to new music than when Ash broke into the charts back in the 1990s.

“There seems to be more acceptance from more mainstream people, more willingness to go out and see gigs by local bands, back then it was all about the charts,” he added.

All public spending has been affected by a reduced budget handed down by Westminster.

Northern Ireland bands like Cashier No.9 and Two Door Cinema Club have emerged in recent years, following the success of groups like Snow Patrol.

The Oh Yeah music centre in Belfast's Cathedral Quarter has been established to promote new talent. Local bands have also performed at the South By SouthWest festival in Texas, a platform for new emerging acts.

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