Northern Ireland news

£600,000 war chest set up to help struggling musicians from the north

Co Derry-born musician Henry McCullough played with Paul McCartney, Joe Cocker and jammed with Jimi Hendrix
Michael McHugh, Press Association

A £600,000 war chest has been lined up to help struggling musicians in Northern Ireland.

Hundreds are expected to benefit from money raised by the charity Help Musicians Northern Ireland.

The region does not have enough live venues for a touring circuit after years when music artists felt they had to leave to get opportunities, the organisation's director Christine Brown said.

She admitted there is a general lack of infrastructure for artists, adding: "Six hundred thousand can help a lot of musicians in Northern Ireland."

The charity helped Henry McCullough, the former guitarist in Sir Paul McCartney's band Wings, after he became unwell and could no longer support himself financially.

Support from the charity included making adaptions to his home before his death a year ago, aged 72.

It is now helping celebrate McCullough's life and contribution to music and will be curating the Henry McCullough stage during the Stendhal Festival at Ballmully Cottage Farm in the Roe Valley in Co Derry from August 11-12.

The charity will also be contributing to the artists' hospitality at the event, providing support for volunteer travel and selecting a host of artists to join the bill including Echobelly, Meadowlark, REWS and Pat Dam Smyth.

Ms Brown said: "Curating the Friday evening artists on the Henry McCullough Stage is a privilege, we pay tribute to his incredible career, as musician the charity supported, and we are honoured to be part of a festival which remembers his musical legacy."

The renowned musician played lead guitar on Wings' James Bond theme, Live And Let Die.

McCullough also jammed with Jimi Hendrix, and was said to have been the only Irish musician to have played at the famous Woodstock festival in 1969.

And while he may not have been a household name he counted Joe Cocker, Marianne Faithfull and The Who among those he also played with.

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