Belfast Telegraph

Q&A: BBC Radio 1 DJ Annie Mac talks saying goodbye to Shine at Mandela Hall

BBC Radio 1 DJ Annie Mac leads the line-up for the final Shine at Mandela Hall this week before the long-running event moves to the Old Belfast Telegraph building.

The huge music event will take place on Saturday, July 28.

Annie credits Shine for inspiring her interest in music after she spent many nights on the dancefloor during her years at Queens university.

Ahead of the farewell gig, she spoke to the Belfast Telegraph about saying goodbye and what's in store...

Would it be fair to say this Mandela Hall gig will be an emotional one?

Yes.

What are your fondest memories of the Shine nights in this venue?

Being a punter early on… making so many friends on the dance floor, stamping people's wrists on the door, and then getting promoted to guarding the door to the green room.

I would sit on a stool right underneath the DJ booth and watch them play , watch how they moved the crowd. It was an education.

Shine was also a coming of age for me - the place where I heard the music that would set me on a path for the rest of my life.

Why do you think the venue is so important to student culture in Belfast?

Shine is a globally respected club - its reputation brings the worlds finest DJs to the Mandela Hall.

It's such a privilege for students to be able to witness this level of expertise.

It’s also just vital for students to have a safe and regulated space to let loose. It’s a massive part of student life and completely enriches the student experience. I have so many fond memories of the QUSU.

What can revellers expect during your set?

Some great new music they haven’t heard and some absolute classics that I was exposed to on the dance floor of the Mandela Hall.

What is the best thing about what you do?

Spreading joy through music.

What has been your career highlight so far?

Just getting to be on the radio every day. I love radio so much so doing my show five nights across the week on Radio 1 is my dream come true.

Which of your own gigs have been the most memorable and why?

My first time playing at Shine was a really big deal for me. I wanted it to be great.

Also some big Irish festivals, I played once at the dance arena for Oxygen festival and the band on after me sound checked all the way through my set and then lowered their visuals screen down right in front of me half way through my set. I was completely obstructed from the audience. I was raging at the promoter! 

What have been the most memorable gigs you have attended?

Candi Staton at the Jazz Cafe made me cry… also The Roots at the Jazz Cafe in London were amazing... Lauren Hill in London years ago, where she was an hour late and then sat and read her song lyrics from a piece of paper like poetry.

She made up for the lateness by playing 20 minutes of her biggest hits at the end.

Recently we have had some amazing gigs as part of my events series AMP - a rapper called Octavian played for us at The Jazz Cafe and was incredible.

What song is your biggest guilty pleasure?

I don’t really have any guilty pleasure you know… I love a lot of what some people might consider cheesy music - I have no qualms about playing stuff I love in my DJ sets.

What words of wisdom would you bestow on the next generation?

Be kind! Get off your phone! Stop eating meat!

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