Snow Patrol to play one-off acoustic gig at Bangor seafront to mark Gary Lightbody being awarded freedom of his hometown

Singer Gary Lightbody is to be awarded the freedom of his hometown and to mark the occasion his band, Snow Patrol, will play a special acoustic gig at Bangor seafront.

By Graeme Cousins
Thursday, 7th July 2022, 12:08 pm

At a civic ceremony in August Gary will be awarded the Freedom of the Borough by Ards and North Down Borough Council – the highest honour the Council can bestow.

Gary grew up in Bangor before heading to university in Dundee, where he formed Snow Patrol. He has always maintained strong links with Northern Ireland and Bangor in particular.

He said: “I was born and grew up in the borough, and though I may have wandered for a few years, I made my home back in Bangor again.

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Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody on stage. Photo by Matt Mackey / Press Eye.

“Johnny, Nathan and myself are really looking forward to playing on the seafront. It’ll be great craic.

“This town, indeed newly minted city, has always been a part of me and always will be. I do still mourn Paul’s chippy on the seafront though.”

Snow Patrol acoustic concert takes place on Wednesday, August 31, the last day of Bangor’s Open House Festival.

All profits from the gig will go towards setting up a new music venue in Bangor.

Tickets, £22.50, are on sale from 10am tomorrow (Friday) from openhousefestival.com.

Open House, which is a small, independent charity who run events, said: “We believe that music, art, culture and festival events are the regenerative force that will transform Bangor into a modern, progressive seaside town.

“We are redeveloping the old Court House on Bangor seafront to create a non-profit music venue, due to open later this year.

“The Snow Patrol concert will take place directly opposite the Court House – particularly apt as Gary and the band are kindly donating all profits to the Court House project.”

The building, which was converted to a court house in 1954, was originally built as a branch of the Belfast Banking Company. It held a banking hall and a family home for the bank manager and his family.

Gary had been proposed for to become a Freeman of Ards and North Down by Alliance Councillor Karen Douglas back in 2019, for putting his home town on the map.

At the time she said: “We are recommending this award in recognition of the outstanding contribution Gary has made in our local area; both as a musician of international renown and as a champion of charitable causes, in particular mental health awareness and support for grassroots music makers in Northern Ireland.”

UUP councillor Craig Blaney, who seconded the proposal, added: “As a council we are very proud of all that Gary has achieved, and continues to achieve, in the field of music but also as both an entrepreneur and charity ambassador.

“Councillor members from all parties are supportive of the proposal and we know that people from across the borough, and especially those in Bangor, will be delighted that we are proposing to give him this award.”