Belfast Telegraph

Van Morrison to host free concert to mark Freedom of Belfast Award

By Dave Whelan

Stuart Bailie (Broadcaster and Co-founder of the Oh Yeah Music Centre), Lord Mayor of Belfast, Mairtin O Muilleoir, and Terri Hooley at the launch of Belfast Music Week which runs from November 11-17. The conferment of Freedom of the City on Van Morrison will be the highlight of the week Paul Moane/Aurora PA

Van 'The Man' Morrison is set to host a free concert in Belfast to mark his Freedom of Belfast award.

The east Belfast born musician will attend a ceremony at the Ulster Hall on Friday, November 15, following a decision by Belfast City Council to grant the 68-year-old the title.

The ceremony will be followed by a free concert featuring Van and his band as part of Belfast Music Week.

Speaking after the announcement, Van Morrison said: "Belfast is my home. It is where I first heard the music that influenced and inspired me, it is where I first performed and it is somewhere I have referred back to many times in my songwriting over the past 50 years. I am delighted and honoured to receive the Freedom of the City."

Belfast City Council is hoping that the 2013 programme of events will eclipse last year's event which had more than 250 events attended by more than 41,000 in 70 venues across the city, generating almost £2.1m for the local economy.

The Belfast Music Week will run from November 11 – 17 and will include a series of special Ulster Hall concerts, showcasing the best in local acoustic, heavy metal, and dance music.

Lord Mayor of Belfast, Máirtin Ó Muilleoir said: "Over the last four years, Belfast Music Week has helped to change the image and perception of the city, especially among younger audiences.

"The music sector in Belfast has grown significantly over the past three years, and now plays a key role in the overall economic development of the city. With a rise in the number, and quality, of musicians and bands making headlines and enjoying success in the international marketplace, and new and innovative music businesses based in our city, events such as Belfast Music Week, and the council's support for it, have a significant role to play in developing the music industry, appreciating the ongoing success stories which make us proud of our unique, indigenous music scene and showcasing this on the global stage."

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