VIDEO: Van Morrison to celebrate 70th with gig on Cyprus Avenue

He immortalised the leafy tree-lined avenue in song, now Van Morrison is going to perform on the very street that helped propel him to worldwide fame.

To celebrate his 70th birthday, the east Belfast singer/songwriter has agreed to play a gig on Cyprus Avenue as part of the EastSide Arts Festival this summer.

Cyprus Avenue inspired some of Van Morrison's best-loved songs

Cyprus Avenue inspired some of Van Morrison's best-loved songs

The track – from the landmark Astral Weeks album released in 1968 – was inspired by Morrison’s early memories of the affluent avenue’s mystical qualities.

Promoters say the local residents have given their full support to the planned open air concert on August 31.

An East Belfast Partnership spokeswoman said: “This will be a unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience, not to be missed. Quite simply, you will want to say you were here.”

Despite sharing a junction with the working-class Beersbridge Road, Cyprus Avenue with its large, comfortable houses was a world away from Morrison’s boyhood home on nearby Hyndford Street.

Pacemaker Press 22/8/2014'Legendary musician  and past pupil Van Morrison performs  during a special performance as part of the Eastside Arts Festival  for ex-staff and pupils at Orangefield High School in East Belfast with two more gigs to take place this weekend,   before it closes its doors for the last time.''Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Pacemaker Press 22/8/2014'Legendary musician and past pupil Van Morrison performs during a special performance as part of the Eastside Arts Festival for ex-staff and pupils at Orangefield High School in East Belfast with two more gigs to take place this weekend, before it closes its doors for the last time.''Pic Colm Lenaghan/Pacemaker

Democratic Unionist Party founder the Rev Ian Paisley was one of its best-known residents. Morrison vividly remembers it as a street he associated with wealth and tranquillity.

He said: “It wasn’t far from where I was brought up and it was a very different scene. To me, it was a very mystical place. It was a whole avenue lined with trees and I found it a place where I could think.”

It is also mentioned on Morrison’s equally well-known Madame George, another track from the timeless Astral Weeks album.

Residents have been consulted throughout the planning stage and the festival’s website outlines the extent of the disruption that can be expected.

Van Morrison

Van Morrison

It says: “We expect the event to last less than three hours. No alcohol will be available on site. We expect the [crowd] limit to be agreed at 1,500.”

East Belfast Partnership chief executive Maurice Kinkead said there had been “huge support” from those living in the area.

“Generally everybody is really enthusiastic about it and really looking forward to it,” he said.

Mr Kinkead said he has been inundated with ticket inquiries from around the world.

“At this moment in time I have had more interest from overseas visitors than from local people, I’ve had inquiries from all over the United States, Canada, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, Italy and Spain and I’ve probably left some out of that.

“They are all wanting to know where to get tickets but I can’t tell them that because we’re not able to announce that for another week.”

The much sought after tickets are due to go on sale on Monday, March 2 at 9am.