Culture Night Belfast is set to go ahead with an online celebration of the arts that will include a rich mix of music, film, performance and much more on September 18.
Following an announcement in May that there would be no return this year to having the city streets packed with performers and the public due to concerns around Covid 19, the team behind Culture Night Belfast is determined to show resilience in the sector, despite the trying times.
Susan Picken, Director of Cathedral Quarter Trust, the charity behind Culture Night Belfast, promised that the 2020 programme will see a spectacular online display with the launch of CNB TV.
“Although this year’s programme will not be happening live on Culture Night we will be broadcasting over six hours of core programming free across a number of channels online.
“As every year this year’s core programming will promote arts and culture, diversity, inclusivity and accessibility for all.
“CNB TV will broadcast cultural diversity across a range of art forms including music, film, visual arts and arts for young people.”
Susan said everyone involved is determined to show that they are ready to rise to the challenge.
“The arts sector has been really badly impacted by this pandemic, but I think on the whole it has shown how determined people are to keep going,” she explained. “Resilience is a bit of the theme this year, almost like defiance when we are up against it.
“People have plugged away for years, and they’re not going to let something they’ve built be destroyed. People are creative and will always find a way to make things happen.”
With funding dramatically cut Susan says the backing of Belfast City Council and the Arts Council NI has been vital to make sure that they can take Culture Night on to the internet.
The full programme is set to be announced shortly, but it promises to be a packed series of events. Both the Oh Yeah Centre and the Black Box will be curating their own online events, Stephen Beggs is set to provide some children’s cabaret and the Graduate Show, delivered virtually by The Mac will once again provide a platform for students from Ulster University.
Whilst it will be a massive shift this year, requiring a lot of effort, Susan is determined that the core principles will remain.
“To me Culture Night is about celebrating the city and celebrating creativity in the city,” she said. “I love when you walk round the corner and there’s some weird performance or there’s something projected on a wall. It’s those types of things that I’d love to continue to bring forward to the future, but the online event will retain that at its core.”
With uncertainty remaining over when performances can return to venues and the streets of Belfast Susan hopes that they can deliver something in 2021.
“We’re still hoping to do something next September but it depends on a lot of things.
“Ultimately I’d like it to be an event where the creativity all comes together and shows the city at its best.”
Artists can still apply to get involved to share their ideas.
“Although our core programme is now complete we’ll still be able to give other artists and creators a platform to promote their work in the run up and over the Culture Night weekend.
“We’ll be launching a call for submissions for our online listings and promotional activity in the coming week and we look forward to doing whatever we can to support the wider arts sector during this turbulent time.
“We want to use this as an opportunity for people to fundraise for arts and culture. Maybe people won’t be out buying pints but hopefully they’ll donate what they would have spent to Culture Night and the artists and creators entertaining them.”
For more information go to culturenightbelfast.com or follow #CNB20.
New Belfast Radio Station Launches With Strong Local Focus
New radio station, Belfast 247, launches on Monday, May 10, at 10am, with a strong emphasis on local voices, local artists, as well as all the best hits to fill your day.
Broadcasting online, via the station app on Apple and Google, on smart speakers and later on this year broadcasting on the digital DAB platform.
The line-up includes many well-known, experienced, local presenters, including Kenny Tosh, who will host the breakfast show ‘Wake, Rattle and Roll.
Former CityBeat & Q Radio presenter Robin Elliott takes up the Mid-Morning Show after recently leaving Belfast 89FM.
Radio & TV Presenter Elliott, who has 25 years in broadcasting, said that he is excited about the launch of Belfast 247.
“It’s great to be working with a team of experienced presenters who are all passionate about music,” he said “We will be playing all the best music from 60’s to 90’s as well as featuring new tunes from the vast array of local music talent that we have here in Northern Ireland.
“The decision to launch a new station means that we are providing a strong brand to meet listeners needs with a focus on quality with a team who are familiar voices to listeners in the area.”
Among the many special guests set to appear is T’Pau’s Carol Decker, best remembered for hits such as China In Your Hand.
Kenny Tosh has more than 40 years’ experience in radio. “Belfast 247 will be playing music that other stations can’t play, and I am delighted to get up at 4.30am to play music I love,” he explained.
Over the years Kenny has worked at BBC 3 Counties Radio, Palm FM Torquay, Citybeat, Q97 (Head of music), U105, & Downtown Radio. His Revival Show can be heard weekly on stations in Australia, New Zealand, The Ukraine, USA & Canada.
Chris Hughes has been involved in Television and Radio from the early 1990’s, and has been a TV script writer, including Town Challenge and Saints and Scholars.
“I am looking forward to putting local back into the afternoons with lots of features, competitions and great guests,” he explained. “We will have regular contributors that will include Belfast author and historian Joe Baker and Restaurant Critic Joris Minne”
Robin Elliott said that the overall aim of Belfast 247 will be to make sure that the listener experience remains to the fore in everything they do.
“To launch a new radio station in the internet era is one that reflects the demand for people to be able to tune into something that is local to them,” he said. “We know that our listeners want to be able find a station that resonates with them.
“The app, and the online station, are part of making sure they can access Belfast 247 with ease, or even tell your Alexa or Google smart speaker to tune in,” he said. “It is also why we are finalising our DAB broadcast, so that in the near future you can listen when driving around the city.”
Tune in on Monday on belfast247radio.com
T.Cole Releases “Sipping Not Tripping”
Rippling synth arpeggios set the stage for introspective melodies, which are paired with a confident, outgoing outlook. The result is an intelligent pop song, coursing with gorgeous harmonies and irresistible rhythm.
T.Cole’s strong relationship with her production team is evident throughout – who built the track from a voice memo made while she was doing her chores at home.
“I couldn’t get this song out of my head.” T. Cole explains. “I asked my brother Josh to play some chords to it in the studio. And it just came together. Solo, my producer, jumped onboard, and we just created it around that melody.”
“I love that about it – I can hear my input. This song, I just find, is so different to how I’ve written in the past – writing to a beat.”
“It’s about missing someone.” T. Cole explains, on the meaning behind the track. “I wrote it about one of those moments in time. When you’re out with friends, and you think, ‘Oh, this person would love this’, or ‘I wish this person were here right now.’”
“It could be a love interest, or a best friend. It’s thinking about how I wish we were enjoying this moment together. Doing this together.” Eventually T.Cole is able to choose to let go and enjoy the moment. As the song reaches the chorus, she sings, “Get off my mind.” – she refuses to feel guilty for enjoying herself.
T.Cole is the alias for Tunolase Margaret Cole. Born and raised in Drogheda, Co. Louth, the singer began singing at the age of eight in her local church choir – for which she and her friends auditioned by singing a remix of ‘Push It to the Limit’, from Scarface, with the words, ‘I Wanna Join the Choir’. Encouragement and training from her local community in Drogheda, several years in a band, and joining forces with her friend and manager Mani, led her to feel she was ready to step out and begin a solo project. She was spotted by LJ Platform, and joined the agency’s roster in 2020. With a strong debut, ‘Thankful’, already under her belt, and a steady stream of strong singles ready to follow, T.Cole is ready to join the best of the rising talent emerging in Irish contemporary pop today.
T.Cole’s music is inspired by a host of popular genres, including classic pop, afroswing and R&B. She listens to everything, leaving her with a well-rounded sound. Prominent influences include Jackson 5 and Prince, as well as contemporary artists like Kiana Lede and Amber Marks.