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Belfast City Blues Festival Announces 2020 Festival To Move Online “Live From The Bunker”

Earlier this year the Belfast City Blues Festival 2020 was cancelled as a live event due to the Covid 19 pandemic.

However, organisers have worked hard over the last month to find a way of bringing the music to the fans.

Festival director Seamus O’Neill said: “I haven’t let our music fans down yet with the festival and I’m not about to start.”

This year although fans won’t be able to attend the live gigs they will still get their dose of music as a special online show on Saturday, June 27 from 2pm-10pm.

Seamus O’Neill said that the decision in April  to postpone the 11th outing for the best of local, national and international musical talent had not been taken lightly.

“The wellbeing of our friends, fans, musicians and Blues family, alongside the amazing staff, volunteers, sponsors and festival team who support us every year was always our number one priority,” he said.

“As we consider what we can do later in the year or next year we’re pleased to host this special online show live from the Blues Bunker.”

Artists confirmed so far are Lee Hedley, Sam Davidson’s Taste, Mirenda Rosenberg, who will stream from the US, The Johnny Max Band, streaming from Canada, The Red Hot Roosters, Dom Martin, Tony Villars and more to be announced.

Lee Hedley said it was important that the Belfast City Blues Festival annual celebration is acknowledged.

“Each year the festival has grown and become such a vibrant part of the city’s musical calendar,” he said. “I’m delighted that we all can play, albeit online, for fans and hopefully raise some money to make sure the festival comes back bigger and better than ever.”

Seamus said that while they are considering a scaled back festival later in the year the June 27 show will again demonstrate the commitment to the best of musical talent.

“From an idea 11 years ago the Belfast City Blues Festival grew to such an extent that by 2019 22,500 visitors flocked to venues,” he said. “The success of the festival is testimony to what we can achieve when we come together.

“Thank you to everyone who has been part of the festival to date and I promise that in 2021 we will be back, bigger and better than ever.”

The online show Live From The Bunker kicks off at 2pm on June 27 and will run for eight hours until 10pm.

For more information and to book your ticket go to https://bit.ly/3hqJ3eY

Music

Sarah O’Moore Drops New Single ‘I Need U’

Irish singer songwriter, Sarah O’Moore latest single ‘I Need U’ is available now on all streaming platforms. The song is an energetic anthem that examines the wrong doings in society. The boisterous sound coupled with matter-of-fact lyrics allows the song to flow through an honest ravine.

Making heads turn with her timeless, sultry, powerhouse voice is Irish singer-songwriter Sarah O’Moore. Raised on a diet of rock Gods & folk legends, is it any wonder that her style pogos from contemporary RNB to soul? Drawing comparison from Amy Winehouse to Billie Holiday. Sarah is a voice in her own right penning deeply introspective and profoundly outlandish work. Borrowing from her Corkonian roots, Sarah’s songs carry the dark underbelly of societal demise and her hybrid fusion of rich lyricism and melodic roots make her a touchstone for current times.

From an early age, Sarah has always been attracted to the soul talent of Nina Simone, Otis Redding and Sam Cooke. It was through cosmic wordsmiths such as Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen and Van Morrison, Sarah was able to hone her craft. Pursuing her dreams, Sarah set shore to Bristol; where she is currently studying Songwriting at BIMM.

O’Moore has said that the song is about ‘the political undertones of the past year. Its after showcasing the Omnipresence of racism in society and the ongoing battles of minority groups. It’s reignited our need to combat these issues. Lets not have the victors steal the narrative and have its victims forgotten.

The song is rallied with immediacy with the use of synth textures and raw vocals. The song questions the latent attitudes of government power. It’s time to support, speak up, press play and listen away.

Sarah plans to launch her debut E.P, “social paralysis” later this year. Which will act as a testimony to James Joyce’s “Dubliner’s”. She will embark on bringing these 20th century archetypes to life.

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Music

Iconic NI band The Outcasts to take Punk to the Park

The ever-popular Belfast punk band, The Outcasts are set to make an explosive return to the stage at Ward Park in Bangor at Punk in the Park this summer as restrictions are eased and live gigs are permitted.  

The event, taking place on Sunday 22 August 2021 at 3pm – 5pm, is part of the Open House Festival as it resumes after a year’s hiatus with live music, comedy and spoken word events throughout August and September. The Belfast born punk group, made up of brothers Greg and Martin Cowan along with JP and Petsey Burns, will take to the stage in their first performance since 2020, supported by local Bangor band Wasted Talent.

Formed in 1977, the Outcasts are legends on the Belfast music scene having signed with Terry Hooley’s infamous Good Vibrations record label. Branded by local media as “the band you love to hate”, The Outcasts embraced their bad boy image and were central to the development of the youth punk scene in Belfast. Forty-four years on, the band are now signed with Philadelphia-based record label, Violated Records and released an EP under the label in 2019, their first since 1983.

Lead singer and bassist, Greg Cowan, said:

“We are thrilled to be taking part in our first live gig in 18 months. 2020 was due to be one of our busiest periods including our first ever tour of America, which unfortunately was cancelled due to the pandemic.

“We can’t wait to get back on stage and play together to unite everyone with a love of punk and celebrate the vibrant music scene Northern Ireland has to offer. With the tough times the music business has been through lately, it’s important for the public to get out and support local bands and musicians. So, I would encourage as many people as possible to come out to the event to celebrate the world opening up again.”

The outdoor gig marks the beginning of a flurry of activity for the punk icons as they prepare for a busy 2022, with tours through France and Switzerland before they return home for an Irish tour with fellow local rock band, Therapy.

Held in the open-air of Ward Park, all the Music in the Park events at the Open House Festival are free to attend for all ages and do not require booking. Guests are encouraged to pack a picnic and head down to Bangor for a Sunday afternoon of live music and an electric atmosphere.

The Outcasts can be found on Facebook @officialoutcasts.

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