New children’s outdoor play area opens in rural community.

GICC children enjoy the exciting new facilities at the outdoor play area.

The Permanent Secretary for the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Gerry Lavery, recently visited Glencraig Integrated Children’s Centre (GICC) in Craigavad to carry out the official opening of their new outdoor play area.

Funded by the Department’s “Rural Childcare Programme”, the completion of the new play area took a lengthy two years of research, planning and development. This opportunity was only made possible by the DARD Minister; Michelle Gildernew’s innovative understanding that rural areas face their own, very specific, disadvantages in relation to quality, accessible childcare provision.

The design of the new outdoor area now allows for the optimum use of the available space and offers a range of imaginative play opportunities – a playboat, house and den as well as sensory elements in the construction, horticulture and minibeast areas.

It’s widely acknowledged that today’s children are less active than those from previous generations and research shows that the decrease in activity can impact in later life on a person’s psychological and physical health. Encouraging children to play outdoors breeds numerous benefits including the development of the imagination and creative thinking, the ability to problem solve and not forgetting the physical benefits of being active.

The lack of overhead cover had in the past restricted outdoor play at the Centre due to unfavourable weather but the new covered deck area increases the availability of outdoor play therefore providing a greater variety and choice for the children all year round.

Commenting on the outdoor play area, GICC Coordinator, Deirdre Kelly says:

“The funding support from the Rural Childcare Programme has enabled us to greatly improve the quality and safety of the childcare services we provide at the Centre. We are confident that the improved facilities and equipment now available to us as a result of this funding will help the children to source enjoyable experiences outdoors will make it more appealing for them, and that they will want to continue this in their own home environments.

Childhood is a time of exploration and discovery and it is vital that children have access to the wide range of physical and sensory experiences that can only be offered in an outdoor environment.”

After a tour of the outdoor area, and the chance to see the children from the Centre playing on the new equipment, the Permanent Secretary unveiled a plaque to mark the official opening ceremony.


The fifth annual Fate Awards, in association with Diet Coke, and the biggest bash in Northern Ireland ahead of the MTV Awards, will see the largest turnout of UK and homegrown celebrities, from the worlds of music, entertainment, politics, reality and some of the highest rated television shows, recognise the crème de la crème of Northern Ireland’s entertainment and hospitality industry.

On 15th April, host Patrick Kielty will be joined on stage in the Europa Hotel by ‘Celebrity Big Brother’ winners Chantelle Houghton and, soon to be Katie Price’s ex husband, Alex Reid together with former politician and ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ contestant, Ann Widdecombe; ‘Eastenders’ and ‘Gavin and Stacey’s’ actor Larry Lamb and the one and only Shane MacGowan from The Pogues.

‘X Factor’ hopeful Katie Waissel and mentor Sinitta will be there, while ‘voice’ of the ‘X Factor’ Peter Dickson, will announce the winners throughout the evening. More than 17 million people watched Katie’s first ‘X Factor’ performance so she is sure to have some keen interest when she glides along the red carpet.

Our very own, former Miss Northern Ireland, Zoe Salmon, will add some glamour to the evening and she will be battling it out with host Patrick Kielty, Cool FM’s Pete Snodden, TV Presenters Christine Bleakley and Julian Simmons, for the title of ‘Media Personality’ which was won last year by Gerard McCarthy and who will be on hand to pass it over to this year’s winner.

‘Starman’ Andrew Stone, who was catapulted to fame in the smash hit series ‘Pineapple Dance Studios’, will make his first Fate Awards appearance with music entrepreneur Rob Davies, who also featured in the hit show.

Nutritionist Gillian McKeith will be hoping there are no witchetty grubs on the menu, following her appearance on ‘I’m A Celebrity’, watched by more than 10 million people; and ‘Benidorm’s’ Madge (Sheila Reid) will be ditching her mobility scooter to walk the red carpet with Fate Awards stalwart Gail Porter.

Longest serving loose woman Carol McGiffin will be enjoying some lighthearted banter with Northern Ireland comedic genius Roy Walker although Harry Derbidge, known as the ‘catchphrase king’ from ITV2’s ‘The Only Way is Essex’ may give Roy a run for his money, while Harry’s co-star, glamour puss Sam Faiers, dazzles on the red carpet.

Local boy Aaron McCusker, Jamie Maguire from Channel 4’s ‘Shameless’, will be joined by Danny Miller from the Dales – Aaron Livesy of ‘Emmerdale’.

Michael Mervyn-Jones, Publisher of Fate Magazines, said; “I really can’t wait until this year’s Fate Awards. The excitement is building for the sold out event and we’ll be celebrating the fifth year of the Fates this year with the largest turnout of celebrities we’ve ever welcomed to Northern Ireland.

“We are really looking forward to welcoming Patrick onto the stage to host the evening as it will be an opportunity for us to applaud the initiative and risk that those in the industry have taken in these challenging financial times.

“I’m thrilled that we have managed to attract some of the biggest names in TV right now and I guess it shows how the awards have grown over the years. Some attending are Fate Awards stalwarts and some are Fate Awards virgins. The atmosphere will no doubt reach fever pitch as the winners receive their awards from some of the country’s top celebrities on 15th April.

“I am very excited at the prospect of this year’s celebrations and with the Europa Hotel completely transformed, we’ll celebrate those who have worked so hard to contribute to Northern Ireland’s thriving entertainment and hospitality industry.”

This year sees the addition of a brand new category – the Best Restaurant Critics Choice together with: Best Classic Bar, Best Style Bar, Best Gastro Pub, Best Front of House, Best Chef, Best Restaurant, Best Regional Bar, Best Regional Restaurant, Best Club, Best Regional Club, Best Club DJ, Best Gay Venue, Jim Aiken Live Venue, Colin Angus Best Media Personality, Best Hotel and Best Newcomer.

Last year’s winners were Best Classic Bar – Laverys, Belfast; Best Style Bar – McCrackens Cafe Bar, Belfast; Best Cocktail Bar – The Merchant Hotel, Belfast; Best Gastro Pub – The John Hewitt, Belfast; Best Regional Bar – Grace Neills, Donaghadee; Best Restaurant – No 27, Talbot Street, Belfast; Best Regional Restaurant – The Plough, Hillsborough; Best Club – Rain, Belfast; Best Regional Club – Sallys, Omagh; Jim Aiken Live Venue – The Belfast Empire Music Hall, Belfast; Best Hotel – Ten Square, Belfast; Best Front of House – Andy Carson, Bar Retro, Hillsborough; Best Chef – Danny Millar, Balloo House, Killinchy; Best Gay Friendly Venue – Kremlin, Belfast; Best Newcomer – Slide, Belfast; Best DJ – Stevie Simpson; Colin Angus Media Personality of the Year – Gerard McCarthy; Legend Award – Eamonn Holmes; Club of the Decade – Thompsons, Belfast; Restaurant of the Decade – Deanes, Belfast; Bar of the Decade – Apartment, Belfast; Best Overall Venue – Café Vaudeville, Belfast.

The Fate Awards in association with Diet Coke, will be held on Friday 15 April 2011 in Belfast’s Europa Hotel and is proudly supported by Becks Vier, BMI, Bacardi Brown-Forman, Victoria Square, Sunday Life and Hospitality Review. This year’s nominated charity is the Lyric Theatre. Keep up to date with the latest news and countdown to the awards online at, on facebook at www.facebook/fateni and on twitter @fateawards.

Win a AV3PFCR Flame Maple Cherry Red Electric Guitar worth £499.00!!

Get your hands on this beautiful Vintage AV3PFCR Flame Maple Cherry Red Electric Guitar worth £499 have teamed up exclusively with the Brian Keenan Guitar Centre Belfast to offer one lucky reader the opportunity to get their hands of an AV3PFCR Flame Maple Cherry Red Electric Guitar with an RRP £499.00!

To launch the new term of Guitar Lessons available from the Brian Keenan Guitar Centre, Brian has very kindly offered this superb prize for one of our lucky fans/followers.

To enter all you have to do is drop us an email to with the answer to the following question:

What 2 days a week does Brian take his kids/teen/adult group classes? Remember to include your name, address and a daytime contact telephone number in the email.

The answer can be found at To qualify your entry you must either be friends with Brian on Facebook (click HERE) or a follower on twitter (click HERE).

Good  Luck!  Please note the competition closes on Friday 15th April.

Competition Terms and Conditions:

  • The Promoter is
  • No cash alternative is available.
  • No purchase is necessary to enter this promotion.
  • This promotion will run from Thursday 31st March until Friday 15th April 2011 at midday.
  • Allocation of prizes will be to individual(s) only. No syndicates or groups will be allowed to participate.
  • These terms and conditions are governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of Northern Ireland.
  • To qualify for entry into this promotion, each entrant must include their their name, postal address and daytime telephone number to whatsonni via email (if requested by the publication).
  • The winner’s name can be found by [emailing/sending SAE to] after 15th April 2011.  Promoter’s decision shall be final and no correspondence will be entered into.
  • No employees or relatives of employees of Brian Keenan Guitar Centre  are eligible to enter.
  • Winners agree to take part in publicity including photographs and/or interviews as part of their prize experience.
  • The Promoter reserves the right to withdraw or amend this promotion in the event of any unforeseen circumstances outside their reasonable control.
  • The Promoter and their agents accept no responsibility for difficulties experienced in submitting an entry to this promotion.
  • Entrants are deemed to have accepted these terms and conditions by participating in this promotion.
  • A participant’s personal data will only be held for the purpose of selecting the winner and will not be used for any other purposes whatsoever without their prior permission.

If you are looking for guitar lessons in Belfast come to the Brian keenan Guitar Centre to learn from the leading guitar teacher in Belfast. The Brian Keenan Guitar Centre offers a full range of Electric, Acoustic and Classical guitars from beginner instruments to professional. Visit for all details. Brian Keenan B.Mus M.Mus has established himself as the leading guitar teacher in Belfast and classical guitarist in Northern Ireland. The Brian Keenan Guitar Centre (387 Lisburn Road) offers guitar lessons in all styles.

Brian runs a Kids Club for 7 to 11 year olds and a Teens club for 11 to 18 year olds alongside his hugely popular adult evening classes. Brian also has a small number of time slots for 1-on-1 lessons.

The Northern Ireland Social Media Awards are here – let’s get social!

As lovers of social media and the benefits it has we decided that there should be a way to celebrate those who are fanatical about Social Media in Northern Ireland.

Social media is a truly amazing tool. When used correctly, it allows you to communicate with those you’d never normally meet, converse with like minded people and talk about your shared passions and views. It allows companies to promote themselves, network and work with their customers – providing valuable insights, information.

The brainchild of a Crossgar native, the NISMAs aim to showcase the best that Northern Ireland has to offer on social media to the world!

We’ll be starting with nominations for each category. The nominations stage starts at 5pm 30th March and ends 8th April at 12 noon. Up-to 10 in each category, with the most votes, will be shortlisted for the finals.

People can nominate on Facebook or Twitter from 5pm today. A full list of categories and how to nominate can be found on the official NISMA Facebook page:
You can nominate as many times as you like, for as many people as you like. However, only once per person, per category.
The finalists will be announced mid April.  Full details of how to vote in the finals will be given then.

You are allowed to canvass for nominations.

For up-to the minute info follow us on the Twittersphere: @NISMAwards


1. Best YouTube channel

2. Best Facebook page

3. Best Tweeter

4. Best use of social media by a cross community group/initiative

5. Best blogger

6. Best use of social media by broadcast media

7. Best use of social media by a publication (magazine/newspaper)

8. Best use of social media by a charity (must be a registered charity)

9. Best use of social media by a club/club night/bar/restaurant

10. Best use of social media by a small business (less than 15 employees)

11. Best customer service through social media

12. Best social media campaign (PR companies may enter on behalf of clients)

13. Best use of social media for an event

14. Best use of social media by a tourist attraction

15. Best use of social media by a politician

16. Best use of social media by a personality/celebrity

17. Best use of social media by a school/college/university

“WIMPS Don’t Use Twitter” –

free Social Media Association for Business event as part of Imagine Create 2011

Derry’s Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin is hosting a free Social Media Association for Business event this Saturday as part of Imagine Create 2011.

Keynote speaker for the event is Davy Sims, Head of Social Media at Davy will be sharing his insights into audience engagement through social media. He’ll reveal some of the findings from WIMPS’ research in the area – and how the target of their message was not who they thought it was.

Following the keynote, the audience will be able to put their social media questions to a mixed panel of social media practitioners and business owners. The event will finish with an open-floor discussion where everyone can share their ideas and expertise in social media for business use.

Chair of the Social Media Association for Business, Tracy Dempsey, says: “Social media and its integration into your business is an ever-changing landscape; we’re all still learning and can all learn a lot from each other’s experience. That said, it’s important to distinguish the best of the information that’s out there from a lot of misguided or misleading information that’s being peddled. The Social Media Association for Business aims to be a forum for sharing best practice and the the latest credible research in the field, as well as for generating creative ideas in how to make the most of social media in pursuit of your organisation’s goals.”

The Social Media Association for Business is led by a group of volunteers, from small business owners using social media effectively themselves to practitioners in the field. The venue has been kindly provided free of charge by Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin, and refreshments have been sponsored by Digital Derry. Attendees are invited to register for this free event at

Imagine Create is a biennial event taking place at locations around the city of Derry~Londonderry from 29 March to 2 April 2011. Find out more about Imagine Create 2011 at

Derry sets the beat to win All Ireland Fleadh status!

Historic events took place this week as Derry officially launched its campaign to host the 2013 Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann at the city’s state of the art Irish language centre, Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin.

Invited guests from local arts, government, business, community and sporting organizations were invited to come along and hear how the entire region could benefit from a successful bid for the prestigious event. Speakers at the event included Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness; Mayor of Derry Colum Eastwood; Martin Bradley, Chairperson of the City of Culture Board and Eibhlin Ní Dhochartaigh from Comhaltas Dhoire (the organization spearheading the bid).

Eibhín Ní Dhochartaigh welcomed the launch of the campaign and said “Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann is the largest music and dance festival in the island of Ireland, attracting over 250,000 visitors each year and would bring an estimated £30 million boost to the local economy if a successful bid was accepted. Securing Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann host status will act as a tremendous catalyst in further developing Derry as a cultural tourism destination for music fans across the globe.”

Senator Labhrás Ó Murchú, the Director-General of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, the organisation responsible for awarding the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, also attended the event with a number of Ard Chomhairle members, all of whom are keen to know about Derry’s intentions to host the largest Irish music festival in the world. Senator Labhrás Ó Murchú was invited on stage to address the audience and commented “I would personally love to see the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann come to Derry in 2013. Although the bid process has some time to run and overcome a number of hurdles along the way, having the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Derry in 2013 would be a marvellous statement to the island of Ireland and the world. I fully endorse your intentions and I wish you every success in your campaign.”

Speaking after the bid briefing, Martin Bradley Chairman of Culture Company 2013 said that Culture Company 2013 was 100% behind the bid to bring the Fleadh to the city. “The Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann is a showcase of cultural talent and music. It has international recognition and has the potential to bring over 250,000 visitors to the city. We are a great location for this type of musical event and our cultural track record, makes the city the perfect choice for this celebration”.

Derry faces tough competition for the event from a series of cities and towns in Ireland and a final decision is not expected until June 2012. Members of the public can register their support for the campaign to bring the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann to Derry by visiting the campaign office in Cultúrlann Uí Chanáin, Great James St, Derry or online at

Find Your Sense of Adventure!

Saturday 9th April marks the start of the Northern Ireland Adventureland Weekend. The first of its kind in Northern Ireland, 23 activity providers from across the country are showcasing over 100 outdoor activities during a unique weekend of splashes, dashes and crashes in a bid to highlight a variety of adventure activities that will really get your adrenaline pumping. Moreover, all the activity events taking place over the course of the weekend will be on offer for only £10 per person.

This weekend is the perfect opportunity for groups of friends, couples and adventure seeking families to get outdoors and have a go mountain boarding in the Mournes, sea kayaking along the North Coast or paintballing in the Sperrins. For that little bit more adventure you can feel the full force of the Irish Sea swell coasteering along the Ballyhornan coastline or test out your mountain biking skills on Northern Ireland’s first ever pump track in Fermanagh.

There will be Sea Safari boat trips heading out along both the North Coast and Strangford Lough as well as opportunities for a more relaxing canoeing trip, picnic and BBQ along the Lower Bann Canoe Trail to name just a few.

This Adventureland weekend has been organised by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) in association with NITB’s Product Marketing Officer Helen Carey says this weekend provides the perfect opportunity for people across Northern Ireland to discover the wealth of opportunities to get active right on their doorsteps.

adFor those who maybe wish to try out a number of different outdoor activities there are 2 hour ‘taster sessions’ on offer sampling activities such as archery, laser skirmishing, canoeing, climbing and low ropes courses to name just a few.

Chris Scott from added, “This is the first time that activity providers in Northern Ireland have grouped together to showcase exactly what is on offer throughout the rest of the year. The Adventureland weekend provides such a great opportunity for us all to get outdoors and try out some exciting new activities, for fabulous value for money.”

No experience is necessary for any of the activities and participants will be looked after by fully qualified instructors. To view all the activities available or book your place visit As an added bonus all those taking part in activities during this weekend will receive a 10% discount off a further activity booking before the end of September 2011.


BUSHMILLS Master Distiller Colum Egan

More than 100,000 people tour the Old Bushmills Distillery every year, making it one of Northern Ireland’s most popular visitor attractions, but this year the distillery itself is set to go on tour as part of a global competition – ‘Make it 2 Bushmills’.

Following the successful Make it at Bushmills campaign in 2010, Make it 2 Bushmills will once again see the small village of Bushmills in County Antrim, become the focus of global media attention as pairs of friends from right around the world compete to win every whiskey lover’s dream prize.

Colum Egan, Master Distiller at the Old Bushmills Distillery, is offering two friends the chance to work alongside him for two weeks, to learn the skills of whiskey-making that have been alive and well in the Bushmills area for over 400 years, before he packs up the best bits of the Old Bushmills Distillery to go on tour. Destination? The winners’ home town.

Speaking ahead of the launch of Make it 2 Bushmills on St Patrick’s Day, 17th March, Colum said: “As one of Northern Ireland’s most popular exports, we know that our whiskey is enjoyed by people in countries right around the world, but not everyone can come to Bushmills and experience the distillery for themselves, so we thought it was about time that we visited them.

“We’re going to bring two friends here, give them behind-the-scenes access to the distillery, £5,000 spending money, luxury penthouse accommodation and the chance to together make their own unique blend of BUSHMILLS® Irish Whiskey. Then we’re going to take the distillery on tour, when we pack up some of the equipment, people and whiskey that make our distillery the home of the world’s Best Irish Whiskey¹, and bring them to the winners’ home town for the ultimate BUSHMILLS party, where the winners and their friends will be the guests of honour.

“We’ll have live music from some of Ireland’s best up and coming musicians, we’ll unveil our winners’ unique blend and we’ll even toast the occasion with a few bottles of our special Distillery Reserve – a whiskey you can normally only get at the distillery itself.

Make it 2 Bushmills will culminate in a global final – Bushcamp – a three day event taking place on Northern Ireland’s spectacular north coast this August. Two friends from each country², including Northern Ireland, will be voted by the public to go forward to Bushcamp, where they will experience what life at the Old Bushmills Distillery has to offer.

Colum said: “At Bushcamp we’ll be looking for our winners – the two friends who best represent the BUSHMILLS spirit of friendship, so we’ll be challenging our finalists to together try some of the things the team here love to do. I love my golf, so we might be asking our finalists to together take on my trickiest Par-3 on one of the world’s biggest bunkers, or, as I like to call it, the beach! We take our whiskey ‘mixing’ very seriously, so it could be fun to see how our friends get on when it comes to DJing, and we’ve got some keen cyclists here, so we may even organise a tandem race round the distillery!

“We’ll not be forgetting the whiskey of course – we’re also going to test the palettes of our finalists with a series of whiskey challenges.”

Make it 2 Bushmills will be judged by a panel of famous BUSHMILLS fans, chaired by Colum himself. The full panel will be announced in the run up to Bushcamp.

“We’re looking for real friends, with a genuine love for life and wicked sense of humour”, said Colum, “and do you know what? I’m sure we’ll find them.”

To enter or find out more, visit Entry opens at 16.08 GMT on 17th March 2010 and closes at 11.59pm GMT on Sunday 17th April 2011. Terms and conditions apply.

Drink Responsibly for the facts

The BUSHMILLS word, the Pot Still device and other associated logos are trade marks. © The Old Bushmills Distillery Co. Limited 2011.

The Armoy Armada – Official Launch 22nd March.

Awakin™ Digital Publishing invites you to the official launch of GO EXPLORE NI’s Armoy Armada – The Ultimate Road Racers Tour on 22nd March at 4 p.m. at the Mayor’s Parlour in Ballymoney Borough Council Offices.

Mayor of Ballymoney Council and well-known Road Racer, Bill Kennedy will be on hand to provide insight on the project and on Road Racing potential to the North Coast.

GO EXPLORE NI’s Armoy Armada – The Ultimate Road Racers Tour which is sponsored by Bayview Hotel, Portballintrae is a smartphone ‘app’ putting in your hands the only place to go to find out everything you need on the inspiring story of the Dunlops and their great road-racing heritage.  There is also information on the Northwest 200 as well as where to go and what to do in the area.

The “app” works on both android and Iphone’s and can be downloaded or streamed live.

We have also teamed up with, Northern Ireland’s premier events site and social media strategists to provide  up-to-date events and suggestions on where to go throughout the province.

GO EXPLORE NI is the foremost “app” for all information you will need on where to go and what to do in Northern Ireland.  With tours from, Belfast and Titanic Explorer, Derry/Londonderry-City of Culture-the Causeway Coastal Route, Bushmills Trail and now the Armoy Armada Trail, visitors and locals alike will be able to experience Northern Ireland as never before.

More information on GO EXPLORE can be found at or you can also go to our facebook page

Contact John Bustard at 07796614844 for more information or to arrange interviews.

Moving on Music Festival returns to Belfast 21-27 March 2011

Belfast is set to come alive with the sound of all kinds of music from 21-27  March, when the Moving on Music festival returns to the city for its fourth year.  Across seven action-packed days, in a wide range of venues, the 2011 installment of this annual festival will showcase everything from folk, to funk, to film, with lots more in between!

Since its establishment in 1995, Moving on Music has grown to become one of the leading promoters of electronic, jazz, folk, traditional, classical and world music in Northern Ireland. The organisation is dedicated to ideals of innovation and originality and is committed to championing new developments in music.  Through its annual festival, Moving on Music gives a stage to some of the best local and international artists making music today and provides unique opportunities for audiences from Belfast and beyond, to experience music that they may not often get the chance to hear.

Events on offer at this year’s festival range from film screenings at QFT (21-24th March) to community arts (New Songs From Sandy Row – 22nd March) to folk (Alasdair Roberts with support from Barry Kerr – 23rd March / Ross Ainslie + Jarlath Henderson Trio – 25th and 26th March / Spiers & Boden – 27th March) to experimental (SARC Composers – 24th March) to blues (Skip McDonald – 24th March) to bossa nova (Joyce – 26th March) to classical (Fidelio Trio – 24th March) to club (Hype Williams + Not Squares + Third Man Theme – 26th March).

For full details about the 2011 Moving on Music Festival, visit

Mon 21st March / Tues 22nd March
‘Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould’
QFT, Belfast
Time: 6.30pm
Tickets: Various prices from and 028 9097 1097

A fascinating portrait of renowned pianist Glenn Gould

Tues 22nd March
New Songs From Sandy Row
Sandy Row Community Centre, Belfast
Time: 7.30pm
Admission: Free

Young people from the Sandy Row are of Belfast will perform new songs and pieces of music that they have created

Wed 23rd March
QFT, Belfast
Time: 6.30pm
Tickets: Various prices from and 028 9097 1097

Award winning documentary following Steinway and Sons’ Master Tuner in Vienna

Wed 23rd March
Alasdair Roberts with support from Barry Kerr
Black Box, Belfast
Doors: 8pm
Tickets: £10 from and Belfast Welcome Centre (028 9024 6609)
Alasdair Roberts is a singer, guitarist, and interpreter of traditional songs and writer of new songs.  He has worked with a wide variety of collaborators from many different musical and artistic backgrounds. Multi-instrumentalist and song-writer Barry Kerr is a well known face on Belfast’s traditional music scene.

Thurs 24th March
SARC Composers
Sonic Arts Research Centre, Belfast
Time: 1.10pm (please arrive early to secure seat)
Admission: Free
A showcase of works by current PhD composers at QUB’s School of Music and Sonic Arts. The event will feature new works written especially for and with saxophonist Franziska Schroeder, who is a member of staff at the School.

Tom Zé: Liberated Astronaut
QFT, Belfast
Time: 6.30pm
Tickets: Various prices from and 028 9097 1097

An insight into the life and music of Tom Zé

Thurs 24th March
Fidelio Trio
Harty Room, Belfast
Time: 8pm
Tickets: £12/£10 from and Belfast Welcome Centre (028 9024 6609)

Classical music act Fidelio Trio brings together the virtuoso talents of Belfast-born violinist Darragh Morgan, Cork-born pianist Mary Dullea and cellist Robin Michael.

Thurs 24th March
Skip ‘Little Axe’ McDonald feat Alan Glen with support from Isobel Anderson
Black Box, Belfast
Doors: 8pm
Tickets: £10 from and Belfast Welcome Centre (028 9024 6609)

Skip ‘Little Axe’ McDonald has worked with musicians as diverse as Grandmaster Flash, Robert Plant and Megadeath.  He made his name as an integral part of the Sugar Hill house band, playing on many influential early rap classics and as a member of Adrian Sherwood’s On-U Sound crew he has been some of the most adventurous music of the twentieth century.  ‘Little Axe’ is Skip’s return to the blues he grew up with.  The sound is raw, stripped down and intense.  Skip will be accompanied by virtuoso blues harmonica player Alan Glen, who has performed with The Yardbirds. Support comes from Belfast-based musician Isobel Anderson – a musician, composer and visual artist studying for a PhD at SARC in Queen’s University Belfast.

Fri 25th March
Black Box, Belfast
Doors: 8pm
Tickets: £15/£10 from and Belfast Welcome Centre (028 9024 6609)

Singer, composer and guitarist Joyce is one of the great musical treasures of Brazil. Her sound combines Brazilian rhythms, jazz harmonies and intelligent lyrics through a wonderfully expressive voice. Since recording her debut album in 1968 Joyce has gone on to issue more than twenty solo albums and hear more than 300 recordings of her songs by many of Brazil’s most respected singers.  She has toured the world many times over and in 1996 she shared the stage with Liza Minelli, Tony Bennett, James Brown and numerous other legends at ‘The Songwriters Hall of Fame’ cermonies in New York.

Fri 25th March
Ross Ainslie/Jarlath Henderson Trio
Spectrum Centre, Belfast
Doors: 7.30pm
Tickets: £8 from and Spectrum Centre (028 9050 4555)

Dubbed the new stars of celtic music, Ross Ainslie and Jarlath Henderson first started playing together at the William Kennedy Piping Festival in Armagh and have since joined forces to create a pipe sound that pushes the boundaries of what both Scottish and Irish instruments can achieve together.

Sat 26th March
Ross Ainslie/Jarlath Henderson Trio
An Droichead, Belfast
Doors: 7.30pm
Tickets: £10 from and 028 9028 8818

Dubbed the new stars of celtic music, Ross Ainslie and Jarlath Henderson first started playing together at the William Kennedy Piping Festival in Armagh and have since joined forces to create a pipe sound that pushes the boundaries of what both Scottish and Irish instruments can achieve together.

Sat 26th March
Hype Williams/Not Squares/Third Man Theme
Black Box, Belfast
Doors: 9.30pm
Tickets: £10 from and Belfast Welcome Centre (028 9024 6609)

The enigmatic world of Hype Williams is one that’s submerged in vintage drum machines, detuned synth washes, disembodied vocal samples and rolling sub-bass.  The Berlin-based duo’s live shows are a mysterious proposition, blurring the lines between music, media installation and art happening.
Not Squares formed in 2008 off the back of a drunken conversation held in a dark alleyway about how Belfast needed a party-band.  Debut album ‘Yeah OK’ was released in November 2010 on the Dublin-based label Richter Collective.
Third Man Theme make music that blends together a range of musical interests, including Talking Heads, Can Neu!, The Beach Boys, The Modern Lovers, Spiritualized and Lizzy Mercier Descloux.  The result is sometimes (post-) punky, sometimes drony, sometimes edgy, sometimes sweet, sometimes all at once.

Sun 27th March
Spiers & Boden
Black Box, Belfast
Doors: 8.00pm
Tickets: £12/£10 (conc) from and Belfast Welcome Centre (028 9024 6609)

One of the most popular duos on the vibrant English folk scene, John Spiers (melodeon, concertina) and  2010 BBC Radio Two ‘Folk Singer of the Year’ Jon Boden (vocals, fiddle, guitar, stomp-box) promise to get everyone up dancing with their unique blend of high-octane dance tunes and traditional songs – with a contemporary twist.