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Van Morrison to play free Belfast gig

Wed, 18 Sep 2013
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Van Morrison will be honoured with a Freedom of the City award.

Van Morrison will be honoured with a Freedom of the City award. © Getty

Van Morrison is set perform a free concert in Belfast this November to celebrate his Freedom of the City award, it has been announced.

The one-off gig will take place at Belfast's Ulster Hall on Friday 15 November as part of the Belfast Music Week celebrations.

The concert will follow Van's conferment of the Freedom of the City honour, which Belfast City Council decided to bestow on the iconic singer for his "extraordinary contribution" to the city, at a specially convened meeting on Monday night.

Reacting to the announcement, Van Morrison said: "Belfast is my home. It is where I first heard the music that influenced and inspired me, it is where I first performed and it is somewhere I have referred back to many times in my songwriting over the past 50 years.

"I am delighted and honoured to receive the Freedom of the City."

Belfast Music Week runs from 11-17 November and will include a series of Ulster Hall concerts, showcasing the best in local talent.

The celebrations will culminate in a special tribute to Seamus Heaney with the Ulster Orchestra on Sunday 17 November.

In addition to the Ulster Hall programme, other highlights of Belfast Music Week will include the Northern Ireland Music Prize and the annual Belfast Music Week Showcase, which will feature 12 top NI artists as selected by a panel of local and international media and music industry judges.

Speaking about the upcoming events, Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Máirtin Ó Muilleoir, said: "Over the last four years, Belfast Music Week has helped to change the image and perception of the city, especially among younger audiences.

"The music sector in Belfast has grown significantly over the past three years, and now plays a key role in the overall economic development of the city.

"With a rise in the number, and quality, of musicians and bands making headlines and enjoying success in the international marketplace, events such as Belfast Music Week...have a significant role to play in developing the music industry, appreciating the ongoing success stories which make us proud of our unique, indigenous music scene and showcasing this on the global stage."

Ticketing arrangements for all events, including Van Morrison in concert, will be announced in the near future.

© UTV News

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