Co Down artists Ryan McMullan and Ash will be among the special guests performing at this year’s NI Music Prize event in Belfast next month.
After a year away from the stage due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the awards ceremony will return to the Ulster Hall on November 17.
The Prize which honours and celebrates the best of new, established and emerging Northern Irish music, is an annual awards night organised by the Oh Yeah Music Centre.
As well as performances from Portaferry singer/songwriter McMullan and Downpatrick rock trio Ash, the evening will also see shortlisted artists including Amy Montgomery, Dani Larkin, New Pagans and TRU, take to the stage.
Sasha Samara will perform as last year’s winner of the BBC ATL Introducing Contender Award. The event will also stream on YouTube.
Broadcaster and DJ Rigsy and BBC Radio 1 Introducing presenter Gemma Bradley will host the show. There will be guest contributors, with live announcements and presentations.
The awards include Best Album, Best Single and ATL Introducing Contender in association with Oh Yeah. The winners of Best Single and ATL Introducing Contender will be awarded a cash prize of £1,000 and £3,000 will go to the winner of Best Album.
The event will also celebrate the work of Help Musicians to thank the charity for the support it has given to musicians throughout the pandemic. Help Musicians is a charity that loves music and for 100 years has been working hard to make a meaningful difference to the lives of musicians across the UK.
Since March 2020, the charity has provided financial hardship funding to help musicians survive while live music was paused. This monthly support helped nearly 800 musicians in Northern Ireland.
Commenting on this year’s event, Charlotte Dryden, from Oh Yeah said: "It has been a long and challenging 12 months for musicians.
“That is why this year is such an important coming together, not just to celebrate the great wealth of talent that has produced world-class records throughout the pandemic, but also to thank and let the music community take a moment to reflect, start to rebuild and look to the future.
“It’s going to be a very special evening indeed.”
Dan Chalmers, director of YouTube Music EMEA, said: “Supporting new musicians has never been so important after the very difficult times we have been through and with access to live music challenged.
“We are proud to sponsor such an important moment celebrating the best music coming out of Northern Ireland and we look forward to an especially poignant and celebratory event”.
The NI Music Prize takes part during the annual Sound of Belfast, a festival that celebrates the music of the city, from grassroots to established names. It runs November 4 to 18 and there are over 50 events in 11 venues featuring 56 artists. All events can be found at www.soundofbelfast.com
A limited number of tickets will go on sale at 10am on Friday, October 22 from The Ulster Hall at https://www.ulsterhall.co.uk