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Belfast rocks out for Haiti

The organisers of a massive Belfast4Haiti gig today said they were “overwhelmed” by the support they have received from Northern Ireland’s music industry and the public.

Over 50 bands and artists have given up their time for free to take part in a one-day concert tomorrow to raise funds for the survivors of the Haiti earthquake.

Around 900 tickets have been bought for the event — supported by the Belfast Telegraph — which takes place across three venues: Katy Daly’s, the Limelight and the Spring and Airbrake.

Among the acts signed up to play are Co Down rockers The Answer, Grammy-nominee Joe Echo, hotly-tipped General Fiasco and Cashier No 9. Also taking part are the Beat Poets, Panama Kings and Mojo Fury.

Across the road at the Stiff Kitten, world-famous DJ and producer David Holmes will be lending his skills to another fund-raiser.

The Belfast4Haiti gig is the brainchild of local musicians, Aaron Abernethy and Anto O’Kane, whose respective bands, Black Bear Saloon and Tinpot Operation will be taking to the stage.

Aaron said: “We just got chatting on an internet forum about doing something for Haiti and the idea for the gig came about.

“Once we started the ball rolling we were surprised at how easy it was to get support from within the music industry here.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the number of bands and artists who have come forward. Sadly we had to turn some away because there were just too many.

“So far, we’ve raised about £10,000 through ticket sales alone, but we’re expecting this figure to rise to about £20,000.”

Aaron said the power of social networking sites had helped spread word about the event, with 5,000 signing up to Belfast4Haiti’s gig page on Facebook.

He said there was plenty more people could do to raise funds: “It doesn’t matter how small the event ... every penny counts.”

The Belfast4Haiti campaign is also expecting around 400 people to turn out tomorrow morning for its Fun Run.

All money raised from both events will go directly to the Disasters Emergency Committee, an umbrella group of 13 aid agencies which are assisting in the earthquake relief effort.

Belfast Telegraph