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The Arts

New Belfast Radio Station Launches With Strong Local Focus

Belfast 247 Presenters Chris Hughes, Robin Elliott, Pauline Carville, Paddy Boyd, Daniel May & Kenny Tosh

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

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The Arts

Spectacular Ogham Grove Opens Tonight In Cathedral Quarter

Cathedral Quarters Writers’ Square will tonight (September 17) be transformed into a spectacular installation from the creative team for CNB21 Presents: The Ogham Grove.

From 6pm tonight through until Sunday evening visitors can experience an interactive celebration of the ancient druidic language, with massive representations of trees, sounds and lighting weaving a path of learning about the language and the chance to win prizes.

Ogham Grove replaces the previous city centre based programme of street based activity and pop-up events.

Although the plans for this year are monumental in size, Culture Night Belfast and CQ Trust director Susan Picken said visitors should not expect the same on-street celebration as years gone by.

Prior to the pandemic, Culture Night had been one of Belfast’s largest free events, a cultural celebration that attracted almost 90,000 local, national and international visitors to the Cathedral Quarter and Belfast city centre. The impact of COVID has led to a major review of the event however.

Susan said: “Culture Night 2021 will be much smaller in scale and scope and will take the form of an on-site installation that people can drop into and enjoy over the course of the weekend – this different format will allow us to focus on safety as well as making sure everyone has a great time.”

The brains behind the concept include creative lead Gawain Morrison, artist and prop designer Dylan McCaughtry, designer Neil Beattie, lighting designer Tomás FitzGerald and drum loop producer Damian Mills.

Gawain Morrison said that the concept of The Ogham Grove “draws inspiration from the ancient Celtic Ogham Tree alphabet which dives deep into the era where nature and myths intertwined”. 

This year, as well as experiencing The Ogham Grove itself, visitors will be able to take part in an accompanying interactive experience that will lead them through the Cathedral Quarter, and also take them on a journey of personal discovery.

According to Gawain the immersive nature inspired trail and competition will mean visitors can take something special away from the experience.

“For somebody who will be coming to this, the several points of access means it is going to be a very experiential and sensory experience,” he explained. 

“I hope that as visitors walk around whether it’s in the day or night, that they will take something away from it.”

Across the Cathedral Quarter area, there will be five zones each representing one of the five families of the Ogham alphabet.

To be eligible to win a prize, participants must find and scan a QR code found on one of the trail’s bespoke wooden plaques and take note of the lines of poetry displayed.

Prizes to be won include vouchers for restaurants, gift tokens to purchase your own pieces of art and tickets to shows coming up in the Cathedral Quarter and will be announced at the end of the Culture Night weekend.

This year’s Culture Night Belfast is supported by Belfast City Council, Arts Council for Northern Ireland, Tourism NI, Belfast Harbour Commissioners and Translink.

To keep up to date with all the CNB Presents The Ogham Grove updates go to culturenightbelfast.com or follow #CNB21 on social media

Issued by Excalibur Press on behalf of CNB Presents: The Ogham Grove 

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The Arts

£5m Fund to Retain Skills in the Creative Sector

A £5million fund to prevent the loss of the talent and expertise of individuals and freelancers working in the creative sector has been launched by Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey.

The Creative Individuals Recovery Programme, which opens at noon today, will provide a grant of up to £2,000 per individual eligible application including DJs, artists, performers, sound and lighting technicians, writers, events managers and many other professionals who have been impacted as a result of the public health restrictions on the creative sector.

There is evidence that the creative sectors rely heavily on self-employed and freelance individuals and that many have already left the sectors because of the pandemic, with those remaining facing jobs vulnerability and unaffordable costs relating to re-establishing their creative practice.

Minister Hargey said: “I have listened to the recommendations of the Culture, Arts and Heritage Recovery Taskforce, and I have also engaged with the sector. As a result I am today launching a support scheme to provide grants to individuals to encourage them to remain in the creative arts sector.

“The culture, languages, arts and heritage sectors have been disproportionately impacted by Covid-19 restrictions as they rely heavily on people’s ability to get together which is why the Executive has provided £13million in 2021/2022 to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic.

“There is a risk that self-employed and freelance individuals may be forced to leave the creative sectors as a result of the pandemic. As the sectors rely heavily on individuals, this could destabilise the sector and the benefits it delivers including social, economic and wellbeing. This new £5m funding scheme aims to prevent loss of sectoral skills for self-employed and freelance individuals and safeguard the sector for the future.

“This fund will help with costs of reactivating, maintaining and enhancing their creative trade, vocation or profession. It is designed to prevent individuals, and their talent and expertise, from leaving the creative economy; and help them re-establish their contribution to the important benefits these sectors deliver.”

Welcoming the funding, chair of the Culture, Arts and Heritage Recovery Taskforce Rotha Johnston said:  “Freelancers and the self-employed are critical to the recovery and sustainability of the creative and cultural sectors as a result of the impacts of Covid-19. Many have been deprived the opportunity to use their skills, perform or practice their art in the last 18 months. The Taskforce is of the unanimous view that support for individuals is essential to protect the viability of the sectors going forward. The Taskforce’s findings and recommendations have been developed following extensive engagement with people from across the sectors and our conclusion is that this public investment in culture, arts and heritage will deliver significant benefits to individuals, society and the economy in the short, medium and long term”.

The fund, co-designed by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland (ACNI) with the Department for Communities, will be delivered by the Arts Council. For information on how to apply including eligibility criteria please visit http://artscouncil-ni.org/funding/for-individuals

D/deaf and disabled artists will be supported via a separate award via ACNI to the University of Atypical who regularly support this particular cohort, to ensure that artists with particular needs are appropriately supported through the application process.

The scheme is open until 12 noon, 6 October, 2021.

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