Belfast Telegraph

Countdown begins for Derry culture year curtain-raiser

By Brendan McDaid

A huge concert celebrating Londonderry's most famous singers, musicians and actors will open the year of celebration as the first UK City of Culture.

The team tasked with delivering the programme for the year yesterday unveiled the first glimpse of what is planned as they switched on the digital countdown to the event.

To date £16m worth of funding has been raised to deliver the programme, and Derry's special year is set to be showcased over the coming months at the European Parliament in Brussels, the White House on St Patrick's Day and in San Francisco, New York and Montreal.

BBC broadcaster Gerry Anderson and Mayor Maurice Devenney joined with the City of Culture team for the countdown which is being beamed into the city centre on the recently-acquired big screen.

The Sons and Daughters concert will be held on January 12, 2013 at a new purpose-built pavilion at Ebrington.

No names have been released yet but it is believed the culture team are in talks with artists including Phil Coulter, Nadine Coyle, Dana, Feargal Sharkey, Glee's Damian McGinty and actresses Roma Downey and Bronagh Gallager.

The team at Culture Company 2013 have said that preparations for the year are well on track.

They have also promised that 2012 will be a fantastic lead-in year with a packed calendar of events that includes the opening of the Cultural Olympiad in the form of the Peace One Day concert in June, with headline act Massive Attack.

The world's sailing fraternity will then congregate in the city in July for the Clipper Round The World Yacht Race Festival and there will be a special welcome back for the City of Culture boat which has been competing in the event.

In March, a call for 3,000 volunteers will be issued to assist in the delivery of the 2013 programme. This recruitment drive will be managed by the North West Volunteer Agency and Culture Company 2013.

The chair of Culture Company 2013, Martin Bradley said: "We are delighted with our progress to date and can only say that with a full year to go, 2013 is shaping up to be an absolutely astonishing time.

"Our team are working tirelessly to make sure that we deliver something special."

Belfast Telegraph


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