Belfast Telegraph

Eminem in unholy row over Bangor gig

By Anne Madden

Fears have been raised that a performance by controversial rapper Eminem in Bangor could disrupt a missionary prayer service taking place just yards away.



The outspoken US performer will bring his over-the-top show to Tennent’s Vital at Ward Park on August 24.

But on the same date Bangor’s Missionary Convention, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary, will be taking place at the nearby Hamilton Road Presbyterian Church.

And one local man is so opposed to the Eminem show that he will be lobbying North Down Borough Council tonight to call for it to be cancelled. Brian Ashworth claims that he is representing scores of objectors in the town.

The 47-year-old is concerned that as it is an open-air event, the rapper’s explicit lyrics will be audible beyond the park venue, particularly to those taking part in the missionary event.

He said: “I have no issue with a family-friendly concert in a park but this is a performer who uses the crudest language — language that degrades women and has the foulest, most twisted content.

“I have been doing a survey to determine how far the lyrics will be heard and local residents tell me that they heard previous concerts at the park. The council should never have allowed this.”

An entertainment licence has not yet been granted for the event but an estimated 55,000 tickets have already been sold for the two-day music festival — with tickets sold-out for the second day, headlined by Eminem.

Mr Ashworth is the only resident to formally object to the application for an entertainment licence by MCD Promotions for the Tennent’s Vital event.

He will voice his objection to the council in a 10-minute deputation at a meeting at Bangor Town Hall tonight and is encouraging other residents to join him.

“This is a Slane Castle-style event but that is held in a 1,500-acre estate — this is taking place in a town centre park,” he said. “The main motivation for this event is to make money, and while it is important to stimulate the economy, it shouldn’t involve breaching decency.”

A spokeswoman for the council said a decision on the entertainment licence will not be made until July and that all issues would be taken into account. She noted that the council has received just one objection and that most queries have come from residents asking for free tickets.

She added that noise levels would be monitored by the council throughout the event.

Factfile

Eminem, also known as Slim Shady, has attracted both adulation and revulsion for his lyrics and on-stage performances. His Texas Chainsaw Massacre act, which often kicks off his live shows, typifies his knack for headline-grabbing. He is n banned from Sheffield University students' union, and was condemned by gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell as homophobic. When he toured in Ontario, Canada, some politicians tried to ban him from the province, saying his lyrics promoted violence against women.

The Bangor 75th Missionary Convention takes placed from August 20-27 at Hamilton Road Presbyterian Church. The theme for the week will be ‘God @ Work... around the world'.

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