Foy Vance joy as his album captures Northern Ireland Music Prize
Singer-songwriter Foy Vance has been named the inaugural winner of the Northern Ireland Music Prize.
But in typical showbiz fashion the Bangor musician was unable to attend the Belfast Music Week award ceremony last night due to work commitments.
His producer and band collected the award – for the album Joy of Nothing – on his behalf.
The Oh Yeah Music Centre-backed event, at the Mandela Hall in south Belfast, was a celebration of some of Northern Ireland's best creative music talent.
Vance, who is touring in the US, said: "We are all very proud to have been nominated, let alone to have received the award for best album.
"I'm gutted I couldn't be there on the night but the award has been collected by the people who made it possible – so justice has been served."
Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody's new country outfit, Tired Pony, were among the 14 acts shortlisted for the 2013 album prize, as were the chart-topping Two Door Cinema Club, instrumental musicians And So I Watch You From Afar and electronic group Space Dimension Controller.
A selection of shortlisted acts played live at last night's event, including Girls Names and The Bonnevilles.
A spokesman for the NI Music Prize said the new award is about recognising "the great wealth of recorded music from these parts".
"NI music is experiencing a creative boom," he said.
"The quality and quantity of great records from all genres is enjoying an all-time high point and the NI Music Prize provides recognition of this fact."
An academy of music industry professionals connected to Northern Ireland created the final shortlist of 14 albums.
Among the judges were Sunday Life's John McGurk, Paul McCarthy from Aiken Promotions and broadcasters Ralph McClean and Pete Snodden.
Now in its fourth year, Belfast Music Week has become a focal point for the music scene in Northern Ireland and the NI Music Prize was a highlight of this year's festivities.
For more information visit www.nimusicprize.com