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Belfast secures UNESCO 'City of Music' Status

Posted 10th Nov, 2021

Georgia Thornton-Smith Marketing Assistant

Belfast is named the City of Music by UNESCO - in honour of celebrating the city's rich musical heritage and recognising the importance of music for Belfast's future.

Belfast is the first city on the island of Ireland to receive this status and only the third city in the UK to be given the title as Liverpool was won it in 2016 and Glasgow in 2008.

Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody and Emmy-nominated composer Hannah Peel have been awarded official Belfast Music patrons, having supported and committed to the delivery of the Belfast bid.

Gary Lightbody UNESCO

This was led by a City of Music Steering Group and submitted by Belfast City Council following outstanding engagement and partnership work.

Lord Mayor of Belfast, Kate Nicholl, said she was “thrilled” that Belfast had been bestowed this prestigious title.

Belfast is proud of its music culture. Creativity and resilience are in the very fabric of our city and our people. Last April, we launched a 10-year cultural strategy which will see a ‘year of culture’ in 2024. The UNESCO accolade is the perfect way to kickstart these plans, much of which revolves around music.

Belfast’s UNESCO journey began in 2017 when Belfast City Council asked 20,000 people — ‘What does home mean to you?’ It was discovered that for many people, home has an emotional connection — a sense of belonging and within these responses, music was a recurring theme.

An opportunity arose to open a new era of collaboration between the city, citizens and music communities. When Belfast City Council announced it's decision to work in partnership with private and public sector partners to apply for the UNESCO designation. This encouraged music innovation, connected thinking and co-operation.

The next few years will see Belfast as the UNESCO 'City of Music' deliver a series of music events, aim to build infrastructure to support music creators, and will see music woven into public spaces to ensure the benefits and power of music can be felt by everyone who live, work in or visit this city.

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