Essential festival: Sound of Belfast

Stiff Little Fingers play The Ulster Hall on November 14

THE Sound Of Belfast music festival returns today for another series of gigs by local legends and emerging artists, plus music-related events and workshops.

Organised by Oh Yeah, this year's programme offers 27 events over nine days, kicking off with an intimate gig from Bronagh Gallagher (tonight, Oh Yeah) and climaxing with the Northern Ireland Music Prize awards show, which will include the presentation of an Oh Yeah Legend Award to Divine Comedy man Neil Hannon (November 14, Mandela Hall).

Other established artists participating include Stiff Little Fingers (November 14, Ulster Hall) VerseChorusVerse (The Empire, November 12) and Billy Harrison from 60s legends Them (Oh Yeah, November 12), plus new acts such as Jealous Of The Birds (November 7, The Pavilion) and Sister Ghost (November 12, Oh Yeah).

There will also be a Belfast premiere for Good Vibrations director Emma-Rosa Dias's new documentary For The Love of Mod (November 7, Oh Yeah) and a special Breaking Into Music Youth Conference (November 10, Oh Yeah), with panellists including BBC Radio One's Phil Taggart and Young Businesswoman of The Year contender Charlene Hegarty from Derry record label Smalltown America.

Representatives from organisations such as the BPI, Musicians' Union, PRS for Music, PledgeMusic, Music Canada, Help Musicians UK and Creative & Cultural Skills will be in town for special events on November 11 and 12, while community event Urban Affinity (November 11, Oh Yeah) will offer musical taster sessions to young people from disadvantaged areas.

:: Full programme details at


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