- 14 Sep 23
Sound of Belfast runs between November 9 – 19, 2023, with the support of the Arts Council Northern Ireland, Belfast City Council, BBC Radio Ulster, Music Venues Trust, PRS Foundation, PPL, IMRO, PRS for Music, Cathedral Quarter BID, Tourism Northern Ireland, Shine Promotions, and Music Video Marketplace.
The Sound of Belfast 2023 is an annual celebration of the city's musical talent, this year, taking place from November 9 - 19. Taking in Jazz, Rock, Blues, Trad, Folk, Pop, Electronic, Alternative and more, the festival celebrates Belfast's world class music community through collaboration, partnerships and specially curated events.
The breadth of musical styles reflects a city wide celebration that spans North, South, East and West Belfast in addition to the bustling heart of the city centre.
In exciting news, the Oh Yeah Music Centre has today announced the details of the annual event's lineup.
The festival begins with Get On It to mark the third birthday of Yeo Magazine. Oh Yeah is also hosting an Alternative Ulster anniversary party, to celebrate the 20-year inception of the magazine with Jonny Tiernan at the helm. Attendees can expect a night of early noughties nostalgia and surprise performances.
Other festival highlights include a very special 30th Anniversary Show of Nirvana MTV Unplugged, in aid of PiPS Suicide Prevention Ireland. The album will be recreated in its entirety with music from The Peat Muppets alongside a range of other local artists.
Emily White will also present her Amazon Global number one Best Selling podcast on how to build a sustainable music career.
In addition, the annual Women’s Work showcase returns as part of Sound of Belfast with an eclectic mix of new music. The only Youth Open Mic in Belfast will unearth new sounds of the city as will the Volume Control Clash of the New Breeds live final.
Beyond Skin will present a show titled Safe Harbour, Concert of the Diaspora with an exhibition called ‘Roots and Visions’, a display of arts and culture celebrating the diverse roots and inspiring visions of talented bipoc artists of the city.
Indie-pop artist Ferna teams up with some of Belfast’s finest traditional musicians in The Duncairn to reimagine a selection of songs from her critically acclaimed debut album Understudy with a new sonic palette. There will also be an exclusive curated event in Voodoo by Robyn G Shiels, 2013 winner of the NI Music Prize Album of the Year Award - a night not to be missed.
A unique storytelling aspect is integral to this year’s Sound of Belfast, to tell the tales behind the music. In Belfast Central Library, Duke Special will be discussing his new album Blood for Ghosts which is to be released both on vinyl and as a book. Eric Bell will take us through his autobiography Remembering, Before, During and After Thin Lizzy with Stuart Bailie in The Deer’s Head.
Other festival priorities include partnering and promoting some of the great work of other festivals and arts organisations based in the city. This year that includes: highlighting the Outburst co-production with Belfast Ensemble of queer theatre show The Headless Soldier; Belfast Tradfest’s video exhibition Traditional Music Postcards From Belfast; Sea Wrack featuring staged performances by Northern Irish and Irish artists by NI Opera; and an intimate Bernadette Morris concert in the historic setting of Conway Mill in collaboration with Féile.
CEO of Oh Yeah, Charlotte Dryden, spoke about the festival, saying: “Sound of Belfast is about showcasing the best and the most exciting music that we have right here on our own doorstep. From world class musicians and inspiring celebrated names to an emerging exciting scene full of diversity. This year’s programme is the greatest example of this to date with 62 events in 25 venues. Thanks to the artists, venues, partners, funders, sponsors and everyone that is on board with our vision in promoting Belfast as a thriving place for music. Together we make a great music city.”
Adding her thoughts about the festival, Gilly Campbell, Director of Arts Development, Arts Council of Northern Ireland said: “Sound of Belfast is another fantastic initiative curated by Oh Yeah, an arts organisation we are delighted to support with public funding. Oh Yeah has worked hard to deliver as much access as possible, for as many as they can, to first-class music events this November across Belfast city. We congratulate Charlotte and her team for their outreach work in helping to develop musicians across the year, and their ability to showcase the city’s musical talent in this way.’’
Sound of Belfast runs between November 9 – 19, with full details available at www.soundofbelfast.com