Belfast Telegraph

Van Morrison's key to city of Belfast gathering dust at Waterfront Hall

By Ciaran Barnes

Van Morrison's key to the city of Belfast is gathering dust in a security room at the Waterfront Hall.

The famously grumpy singer was presented with the honour by Lord Mayor Mairtin O'Muilleoir last month before a concert at the venue to celebrate being awarded the Freedom of the City.

But following the triumphant gig Van left without the large key and leather-bound scroll.

“The key has been sitting in the security room for five weeks now, ever since the night of Van's concert,” said a council source.

But a council spokeswoman dismissed any suggestion that Van wasn’t interest in keeping the valuable key and said it was being kept safe for his return from a tour.

“The item is being stored for safe keeping in a 24-hour security control room at Belfast Waterfront as arranged by Van Morrison’s management team,” said the spokeswoman. “These arrangements were put in

place as Van was going on tour abroad immediately after the Freedom of the City event.

“He is currently in Europe, but delivery arrangements are in place to coincide with his return to Ireland.”

Van was back in the news in his home town last week when he denied claims he would be playing a residency in Belfast's Harp Bar in which he will stage a one-off New Year's Eve gig. A message on the official Van Morrison website said: “Van has never performed in pubs and does not intend to start now.”

The recording legend's Freedom of the City concert in the Waterfront Hall last month was also caught up in controversy – although it was not of his making.

The council was criticised for picking up the £35,000 fee charged by Van's backing band.

But the concert itself was a triumph. Van treated the audience at his free concert to six decades of hits including classics Brown Eyed Girl and Days Like This.

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