ST. PATRICK GETS THE X FACTOR FIX
Tickets are released for this yearâ€™s spectacular St Patrickâ€™s Day concert in Belfast city centre, headlined by Northern Irelandâ€™s very own â€˜X Factorâ€™ star, Eoghan Quigg.
For the fourth successive year, the Council has organised a spectacular carnival procession and free concert, on Tuesday 17 March.
The carnival procession, featuring hundreds of participants from all corners of Belfast, will leave the City Hall at 12 noon.
Exploring the theme of â€˜Legends, Myths and Storiesâ€™, The Beat, who are organising the carnival on behalf of Belfast City Council, have been working with community groups from across Belfast to create their own colourful carnival pieces to take part in the parade.
Announcing details of this yearâ€™s event, Lord Mayor Tom Hartley said:
â€œOver the past number of years, St Patrickâ€™s Day has become one of the undoubted highlights of Belfast City Councilâ€™s events calendar, and this year will see the event continue to grow.
â€œThe council has worked extremely hard to make the event fully inclusive, so that it appeals to all sections of the community, and this work definitely has paid off, to make St Patrickâ€™s Day an occasion which can be enjoyed by all the people of Belfast, and visitors alike,â€ said the Lord Mayor.
Eileen Branagh, Project Manager with The Beat, said that the sign up for the 2009 Carnival has been very successful, with many new groups taking part, building on the achievements from previous years. Groups will be joined in the parade by a host of carnival performers, Beatâ€™s signature carnival floats, music and percussion from local traditions fused with carnival styles
The carnival will make its way along Donegall Place to Castle Junction into Castle Place, then along High Street and Victoria Street, into Custom House Square.
The main concert, once again compÃ¨red by Pete Snodden of Cool FM, will start at 1pm. The first half of the bill will feature Celtic fusionists BrÃ©ag, Belfast-based traditional Irish five-piece At First Light and pioneering percussionists Torann.
The headline pop act will be Dungiven teenage singing sensation Eoghan Quigg, star of the last series of â€˜The X Factorâ€™.
Due to the expected high level of demand, admission to Custom House Square is strictly by ticket only. These are available exclusively from the Belfast Welcome Centre from today (Monday 23 February) and are limited to six per person. There will be no admittance on the day without a ticket.
Please note that no alcohol will be sold or permitted on the site, and standard Belfast City Council terms and conditions apply. For further information on the concert, or how to become involved in the carnival parade, visit www.belfastcity.gov.uk/events or call (028) 9027 0516.
Later that evening, two more special concerts will round off St.Patrickâ€™s Day in style. The Ulster Orchestra will be giving their now traditional concert at the Belfast Waterfront, while the newly reopened Ulster Hall will be hosting â€˜Sham-Rockâ€™, a tribute to some of Irelandâ€™s music greats, such as Rory Gallagher and Thin Lizzy.
Belfast City Council also has funded a wide variety of community groups across the city, to help people celebrate St. Patrickâ€™s Day in their own neighbourhoods. Almost 100 organisations have received a share of Â£30,000 in grant aid from the councilâ€™s Good Relations Fund.
On the Saturday beforehand (14 February), St Georgeâ€™s Market will be briefly transformed into St Patrickâ€™s Market, with traditional music by â€˜Toss the Feathersâ€™ on Uilleann pipes and flute, Irish dancing by the Cathy Oâ€™Connor School and a cookery demonstration of traditional Irish fayre by Oxford Exchange restaurant.
For details on all events on and around St Patrickâ€™s Day, visit belfastcity.gov.uk/events
Photo by Fabrizio Belluschi