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12th Jun 2019 in Arts

Pull on your cowboy boots and practise your drawl, y’all – Nashville is back in Belfast, baby!

From 12 – 16 June, Belfast comes alive with music, food, culture, film and craic to celebrate the unique connection with its sister city, Nashville. The two cities have a special relationship dating back over 20 years but in reality, we’ve had ties to the Tennessean city since the 18th century when Scottish and Irish people first settled there.

This year’s Nashville in Belfast festival is headed up by Belfast City Council, proudly supported by the Cathedral Quarter Business Improvement District (BID) and a host of other partners, including Cathedral Quarter businesses and organisations Coppi, Buba, Belfast Cathedral, House Of Zen, The MAC, The Oh Yeah Centre, Saint Anne’s Square, The Sunflower and The Ulster Historical Foundation.

The headline CQ event kicks off on the evening of Wednesday 12th June; Summer in the Sister City sees Saint Anne’s Square transformed into a Nashville wonderland, with Tennessean street food on offer from the Square’s top restaurants, as well as live music to get those cowboy boots a-tapping! Entry is totally free, you just have to buy whatever food you want to eat – there will be plenty to choose from!

That’s on between 6 and 8pm, and once you’ve eaten as much tasty American grub as your body can deal with, mosey on round to the Oh Yeah Centre, where there will be some fantastic live music on between 8 and 9 – only a fiver in and that includes a Nashville dessert, just to put the cherry on top of a gorgeous evening.

Then on Thursday and Friday, the Oh Yeah Centre plays host to The Sister City Summer Songwriters’ Symposium (festival organisers are not scared of a little alliteration!)

This two-day intensive workshop in The Cathedral Quarter offers keen music writers the chance to work on their songwriting skills, under the expert guidance of Grammy-nominated folk musician John McCutcheon and Northern Ireland music legend Tommy Sands.

The £75 ticket includes the workshop, songwriting collaboration and admission to the Sisters In Song performance on Friday. Hosted by John and Tommy, this series of intimate musical performances will feature the work of the symposium attendees; non-attendees can purchase tickets for £10.

The Belfast Cathedral is the perfect venue for the penultimate CQ event of this festival – The Last Supper and Songfest, where you’re invited to “enter as strangers, leave as friends”. Grab a seat at any of the communal tables, where you’ll enjoy Tennessean food served family-style, courtesy of Monell’s owner Michael King (who is famous for his Southern Fried Chicken!). John McCutcheon and Tommy Sands, fresh from their two-day songwriting extravaganza in The Oh Yeah Centre, will provide the live music, paying tribute to that unique Nashville-Belfast bond.

Rounding the week off (sorry, not sorry) is Emma Wallace, joined by friends ‘in the round’ in classic Nashville style. You’re invited to pull up a chair for a night of original music and storytelling – things for which both cities are well known! Some of Ireland and the UK’s best singer-songwriters will be here, so it’s a unique opportunity to hear and see them perform in an intimate and relaxing setting in one of the CQ’s best-loved little bars. Tickets are just £10, so be quick.

The full programme can be viewed online at nashvilleinbelfast.com, and you can also purchase tickets on the site. Please use the hashtag #NashvilleInBelfast, and do please tag Belfast City Council into any of your social posts, and ourselves if you’re enjoying the craic Nashville-style at any of the Cathedral Quarter Belfast events – we are @cqbelfast on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. 

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