Video: Artists perform ahead of Belfast Nashville music festival

Dublin may have secured the legendary Garth Brooks for a five-night sell-out run during the summer, but Belfast is set to take centre stage on the music scene later this month with the return of “Belnash”.

Emerging musical talent in Northern Ireland will feature alongside established acts for the tenth Belfast Nashville Songwriters’ Festival.

Singer-songwriter Triona at the launch  of the 10th United Airlines Belfast Nashville Songwriters' Festival.

Singer-songwriter Triona at the launch of the 10th United Airlines Belfast Nashville Songwriters' Festival.

Having expanded to include 90 acts over a 10-day period, this year’s event looks set to be the biggest and best yet.

Headline act Donovan, Irish favourites Bagatelle, Midge Ure, Chip Taylor, Jim Lauderdale and Bap Kennedy will be among those to entertain fans at events in the Holiday Inn and Empire Music Hall between February 28 and March 9.

Festival organiser Colin Magee of Panarts said this year, being the tenth, is particularly special.

“Celebration is a real theme of this year’s Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival, and we certainly have a lot to celebrate,” he said.

“We started the Songwriters’ Festival back in 2004 to focus on the people who create the songs we love and to put them centre stage. Back then we could only have dreamed that 10 years on we would have such a line-up of local and international artists performing over a period of 10 days. It really is amazing how the festival has grown over the past decade.

“We would encourage anyone who loves live music to come to join us for this year’s festival as the city will come alive to the sound of singer-songwriters from Northern Ireland and around the world.

“From Americana to Blues & Rock, Country to Traditional Folk, there’s great live music on offer at The Holiday Inn Belfast and Empire Music Hall.”

Three of the four lucky performers chosen to visit Nashville to showcase their talents after the Belfast event, yesterday gave a taster of what is to come when they sing at the ‘In the Round’ fundraising concert as part of Belnash.

Triona, Peter McVeigh, Stephen Macartney and Wilfie were all chosen for the Panarts Showcase in America’s home to country music next month, on a trip sponsored by the Arts Council and United Airlines.

This year for the first time a one-hour television documentary on the festival will be filmed for American TV.

The future of the festival is strong, according to Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

He said: “As funders of Panarts we are thrilled to see the 10th vibrant addition to the music calendar and has become a key date for those professionally involved in the industry and those with a passion for music.

“We look forward to another 10 years of inspiration.”

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