Dream gig as Northern Ireland singer Callum Stewart opens for Snow Patrol
A young Northern Ireland singer-songwriter who opened for Snow Patrol at their first concert for five years has admitted he was more than a little star-struck.
Callum Stewart (21) from Magherafelt took a call from the Bangor rockers to join them on stage at London's Islington Assembly Halls for a sold-out gig.
"I only got the call a couple of weeks ago," he said after recovering from the excitement of last week's show.
"It didn't really sink in what I was about to do until I was walking around backstage waiting to go on.
"In terms of prestige, it's definitely the biggest performance I've done."
It's all a far cry from home for Callum, where he was a regular on the stage at Rainey Endowed School, playing the drums at spring and Christmas concerts.
Callum, who has been living in London for the past two years, says it was a chance meeting with Snow Patrol drummer Johnny Quinn at Brighton's Great Escape Festival last year that helped pave the way for his career.
"I was doing a small set at that festival in Brighton and Gary Lightbody and Johnny just happened to be in the audience," said Callum.
"I actually covered a couple of their songs and Johnny came over to me after the gig to say hello.
"I think he liked what I was doing and the Northern Ireland connection might have helped.
"Johnny was in regular contact and finally helped me sign for his company Polar Patrol Publishing.
"Since then I've been writing songs for a lot of other people, but I love performing and that, along with making records, is what I want to do."
Having stayed in touch with Johnny since that first meeting, Callum was still surprised when it was suggested he might open for Snow Patrol in their first gig for five years.
"I actually think they might have been as nervous as me and that made me feel a little better before going on stage, but I'm delighted with how it all went," he said.
"In terms of set up and sound it's the best stage I've been able to perform on.
"The whole night was incredible.
"The show was a sell-out with nearly 1,000 people there and it seems I was pretty well received which is a relief.
"You never know what an audience is going to think if they've never heard of you before, particularly when they've all come to hear someone else!
"The whole week has been a weird one and I'm delighted that the guys from Snow Patrol came over after the concert to say they were delighted with how it all went."