North Down To Celebrate The Jubilee 50s Style

To mark 60 years of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s reign the Diamond Jubilee will take place in 2012.

To celebrate the occasion, North Down Borough Council are planning a programme of exciting events which will centre around an extended weekend on 2nd, 3rd , and 4th of June and coincide with the national Jubilee celebrations.  The overall theme of the events will be Vintage in keeping with 1952, the year that The Queen was crowned.

The celebrations will kick off on Saturday 2nd June with the arrival of the HMS Bangor at The Eisenhower Pier.

On Sunday June 3rd, you are invited to attend The Big Jubilee Lunch which will take place in Castle Park.   This is the perfect opportunity for you to bring along a picnic, enjoy the splendid background of the Park and listen to a host of amazing live music celebrating the era.

Jazz fans will adore AJ Brown and The Swingshift Big Band at 2.00 pm.  This 18 piece band will perform favourites from the likes of Duke Ellington, Count Basie and pride themselves on bringing big band music into the 21st Century.

At 4.00 pm the internationally renowned Jacqui Dankworth Band will take to the stage. Considered to be “one of the classiest acts in British jazz singing” (The Guardian), Jacqui’s highly acclaimed recordings are stylistically diverse, incorporating elements of folk, blues and many other forms that have also demonstrated her superb skills as an eclectic songwriter.

At 7pm, an Interdenominational Church Service will take place and the evening will conclude with the premiere of the 3D Projection Spectacular, an amazing light show which will be projected onto the front of The Town Hall.

The entire Town Hall area will be transformed  – there will be a Cartoon Wonderland – look out for old friends Andy Pandy, Bill and Ben and other surprises in a celebration of the creations of the 50s. There’ll be treasure hunts, crafts, a tea party, plant-potting, dressing up and lots more, guaranteed to keep the kids entertained for hours with lots of nostalgia for the adults!

In the courtyard just in front of the Town Hall – a special Jubilee version of the popular Seaside Frock Vintage Fair will delight the shopaholic!  This will feature a fabulous line up of around 50 handpicked local vintage dealers and creative designers offering an extravaganza of vintage and handmade fashion, jewellery, furniture, homewares, collectables, gifts, sweet treats and much more.

For the car-lovers, a Vintage Car Display featuring cars and military vehicles from the era will be taking place.  There’s lots happening inside The Museum too with exhibitions based on Royal Visits to North Down and the Cinema Room will be screening films from The Coronation and previous Royal visits.

A recreated 1950s home will reflect the best of the 50s with sections on Food, Frolics, Frocks and Furniture.  The Council’s recycling team show you how to make the best of what you’ve got with themed workshops to turn your old clothes into outfits fit for a Queen.

All Town Hall activities will be repeated on Monday 4th June with some adjustments to the musical programme.

The Ulster Orchestra will be rehearsing for their grand finale performance from 4.00 – 6.00 pm in Castle Park, followed by the Ulster Youth Jazz Orchestra will be taking to the stage.

At 8.00 pm the Ulster Orchestra will perform a special Jubilee concert. Come along, bring a picnic and kick-back and enjoy this very special musical treat. The day’s events will conclude at 10.30pm with another 3D Projection light show onto the Town Hall, followed by The National Lighting of the Jubilee Beacon.

So get your vintage gear on and prepare to step back in time this June when you come and celebrate the Diamond Jubilee with us, lots of fun and entertainment for the whole family for the whole weekend!

For further information, please phone our Tourist Information Centre on: 028 9127 0069 or visit


Pictured are Martin Miller and his sons, Matthew and Owen, co-organisers behind the Titanic Yardmen Cycle and Walk with the Connswater Community Greenway.  The Millers are taking delivery of a donated chest of Thompson’s Titanic Tea from Thompson’s Family Teas, the family behind Punjana.

Ross Thompson, from Thompson’s Family Teas is an old schoolmate of Martin’s, and offered to support the Titanic Yardmen Cycle and Walk when he found out Martin was behind the charity effort to raise much needed awareness and sponsorship for Bowel Cancer UK.  The event is organised in the memory of Martin’s wife, Rosi Kirker-Miller.

As well as sponsoring the event, Ross will be providing Thompson’s Titanic Tea to all the walkers before they embark from their meeting point at Westbourne Church on the Newtownards Road, whilst all cyclists and walkers will be given a pack of Thompson’s Titanic Tea for to refuel and refresh when they get home from the event.  The sell out walk and cycle takes place on Sunday 1st April with the cyclists and the walkers congregating at Titanic Belfast between 1pm and 3pm.  Spectators are encouraged to support the Yardmen, as they make their way to the Titanic Quarter.

Thompson’s Family Teas, was founded by Robert Thompson who established the company is 1896, blending tea in his Belfast premises as he watched the Titanic take shape in the neighbouring shipyard.  His blend of tea helped fuel the thousands of men from Belfast and beyond as they laboured on the great liner.  Thompson’s Family Tea is the sole supplier of tea to the prestigious Titanic Signature Building.

For more details on the fundraiser log on to For more details on Thompson’s Family Teas log on to or like us on facebook at Punjana.


– Titanic to be showcased in unforgettable audiovisual experience –

A cutting edge digital projection show is coming to The Slipways in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter and the experience will be available for people to watch online at

tiAs part of the Titanic Belfast Festival 2012 and the ni2012 celebrations, the event will showcase the new iconic Titanic Belfast visitor attraction.  NITB and Belfast City Council have teamed up with video production company Geocast TV to make sure that even those people who didn’t get a ticket for the event can watch the whole performance unfold live.

Taking place on April 7, the ‘Titanic projection show’, produced by Culture Creative and designed and creatively directed by,  will use 3D motion graphics, synchronised pyrotechnics and bespoke sound design – all inspired by the RMS Titanic – to create an unforgettable 40 minute audiovisual performance to celebrate Belfast’s culture, heritage and bright future.

Lord Mayor of Belfast Mayor, Councillor Niall Ó Donnghaile, said:  “This is another example of how Belfast City Council is taking the lead in hosting world class events – and this is just one part of the exciting Titanic Belfast  Festival 2012.

“Our city is the focus of world attention and as First Citizen I am proud of all that we have to offer visitors and locals.  I would encourage everyone to enjoy the many activities that will be on offer from this weekend”.

NITB’s Destination PR and Marketing Manager Ruth Burns says the event is a unique experience for Northern Ireland.

“The Titanic projection show will kick-start an exciting, jam-packed calendar of celebrations, festivals and commemorations that will be taking place throughout Northern Ireland during 2012,” said Ruth.

“It is set to be one of the most challenging projection shows that has ever been attempted and will be a truly spectacular experience for everyone involved.  Don’t worry if you didn’t manage to get a ticket to the show as it will also be fantastic to watch the whole experience live online.

“The show will capture the spirit of optimism for the city of Belfast and promises to be an impressive and unforgettable experience.  There will be no better way to showcase the new Titanic Belfast building and I would encourage everyone to be part of the celebrations,” she added.

Richard Day from Geocast TV says they are looking forward to bringing the event to a worldwide audience.

“The Titanic projection show is shaping up to be a spectacular event and we’re delighted to broadcast it live online in a multitude of countries.  Everybody can get involved and watch the show in real-time on their home computers, laptops and even their mobile phones,” Richard said.

“There will also be another opportunity to watch the event again the next morning,” Richard added.


For more information on events, festivals and commemorations taking place during ni2012 click on or visit your local tourist information centre.  You can also visit

Walk your way ‘Barefoot’ into the Guinness Book of RecordsTM

If you are stuck for something to do on Easter Tuesday, why not walk your way into the record books…….. barefoot!

More than 3000 people are expected to converge on the Stormont Estate on Tuesday 10 April at 12.30pm to take part in the ‘World’s Largest Barefoot Walk’ World Record attempt.

To be able to claim you hold a Guinness World RecordTM, you just have to be prepared to expose all ten pinkies and walk one kilometre which for most people will take less than 15 minutes.

The organisers are urging as many people as possible to attend the walk in an attempt to break the world record which was set in India in 2010 by 2500 people, who walked a kilometre in bare feet.

John Kee, director of Summer Madness, who is leading the attempt explained, “All those who take part will be asked to remove their footwear and walk along a path which has been pre-swept to remove any sharp stones and pieces of debris. Millions of people don’t have the luxury of owning a pair of shoes much less have a clear path to travel and as a consequence suffer from disease and soil transmitted infections. By making this token gesture we aim to raise awareness of those who are too poor to even own a pair of shoes.

“There are a number of charities involved including Stand By Me, Tearfund, Fields of Life, Girls’ Brigade, Big House Ireland, Damaris Trust, 3 Rock Youth. We are building on a ‘One day without shoes’ initiative by TOMS, who donate a pair of shoes to those in need for every pair they sell. They have kindly donated a number of pairs to help our efforts and we will be giving these away to lucky participants on the day.

“There will be a £1 registration fee but ample free carparking will be available within the estate.”

Anyone wishing to take part should register for the walk online at or arrive from 11.30am to sign-up on the day.

John added, “More information is available online at our website or on our facebook page We would be very grateful if anyone interested could like and share our page to help us spread the word and encourage as many people to take part as possible.

“By breaking this record, we hope to show Northern Ireland to be world’s best in championing the needs of others, which is especially fitting as 2012 is our year to shine!”

Echo Echo dancers in rehearsals for Olympic-inspired production to be performed outdoors around Derry-Londonderry

Dancers from Northern Ireland’s leading dance company, Echo Echo Dance Theatre, started rehearsals this week for its next professional production, The Feel of Play, which will be performed at locations around Derry-Londonderry from 17th to 21st April, inspired by the 2012 Olympics.


The rehearsals will last for four weeks before the dancers take it out of the studio and perform it in locations both indoor and outdoor.

Echo Echo is planning to perform the piece to live music by local musicians at sites such as Guildhall Square, on the Walls, Templemore Sports Complex, St Columbs Park and Steelstown Primary School as well as a special performance at Flowerfield Arts Centre in Portstewart.

The Feel of Play looks at dance and sport in the run up to London 2012, iis an energetic performance that explores the rules and patterns of team sport exercises and training drills. Watchers will feel the energy, focus and excitement of a game but there is no goal to aim for- it is what the dancers do within the created structures and frame that matters.

Echo Echo Company Manager, Ailbe Beirne said:

“It’s great for Echo Echo to perform in different outdoor locations around the city as this opens up potential for new audiences who haven’t seen the company before. We’ve been planning this with new people and organisations in the city that we wouldn’t usually engage with, so the Legacy Trust UK programme has been a fantastic opportunity in that way.

“The performance is high quality improvisation work with live music score and quite fast-paced, so it should be fun to watch. Also the artist team are all locally based professional dancers and musicians so I hope the public come and support us!”

The Feel of Play is the final part of Echo Echo’s Into Contact project, funded by Legacy Trust UK’s Connections programme, which is managed by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Legacy Trust UK is creating a lasting impact from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games by funding ideas and local talent to inspire creativity across the UK.

Echo Echo is based in Derry-Londonderry and is known for it’s innovative projects and unique performance style. In 2010 and 2011, the company created and performed The Chess Piece which was awarded a prestigous Inspire Mark from London 2012.

For full details of The Feel of Play and Echo Echo Dance Theatre Company’s other projects, visit

Titanic street art launched in east Belfast

A new Titanic-themed street art piece, featuring the names of men and women who worked at the shipyard during the great ship’s construction, has been unveiled in Belfast.

Artist Daniela Balmaverde and Alderman May Campbell from Belfast City Council admire new Titanic-themed art panels on Castlereagh Street in east Belfast. The work, which lists the names of men and women who worked at the shipyard during the great ship’s construction, was created by cross community groups in the area as part of Belfast City Council’s Titanic community engagement programme.

Groups from the Mountpottinger and Short Strand areas of the city came together for this cross-community project which ran as part of Belfast City Council’s Titanic community engagement programme.

Located at a disused site on Castlereagh Street, the colourful art panels feature striking abstract images of Titanic along with names of Castlereagh Street residents who worked at Harland & Wolff and the docks in 1911, while the great ship was being constructed.

Speaking at the unveiling, Alderman May Campbell from Belfast City Council’s Development Committee said: “The unveiling of this beautiful art piece demonstrates the positive impact that Titanic is having throughout the city.  Groups from both sides of the community have worked together to produce an eye catching design that will transform an area that has previously been a target of vandalism and antisocial behaviour.

“The redevelopment of Titanic Quarter and the opening of Titanic Belfast bring fantastic opportunities for the city and this art project is just one of the countless community engagement projects that have been led by Belfast City Council over the past 18 months.

“A number of similar art projects are planned for sites across the city and the council will continue to work closely with each of the project groups to develop artwork that ties the Titanic legend to their local area.

“Community projects such as this highlight the possibilities for the future of the city.  By coming together for a common purpose we can all work together to create something from the past while looking to the future.”

Local artist Daniela Balmaverde worked with the community groups to develop the design and artwork.

“The enthusiasm from each person involved in the project was fantastic, “she said.

“Everyone brought their own ideas to the table and were more than happy to get involved in designing final piece which is a fitting tribute to the local people who helped to shape the Titanic legend.”

More information on Belfast City Council’s Titanic community engagement programme can be found at

Glasgowbury Tickets Now on Sale!

AHEAD of the first announcements for this year’s Glasgowbury Music Festival, the team have released details of tickets which are due to go on sale from Monday 26th March.

Glasgowbury, recently awarded the accolade of Northern Ireland’s ‘Best Festival’ at the first ever NI Music Awards, is an annual celebration of all that’s great and good about homegrown Irish music talent.

Last year the Sperrins spectacular showcased 60 acts across five iconic stages at the stunning Eagles’ Rock location just outside of Draperstown, which saw headline performances from the likes of Cashier No. 9, The Answer and Phil Kieran.

This year’s festival will take place across the weekend of July 21st with some of the most exciting new and emerging acts lining up with icons of the Irish music scene.

In order to keep prices as low as possible, Glasgowbury are also proud to announce that tickets for this year’s event will be available via an early bird special until the end of May – at 2010 prices!

Until May 31st, tickets will stick at 2010 prices of £30/€36 (Festival Only) and £40/€48 (Festival & Camping).

From Monday you can get your hands on tickets from and they will also be available from HMV stores and independent retailers across Ireland.

A festival only ticket will provide access to the festival site on Saturday only while a festival and camping ticket also allows for two nights camping and entertainment (Friday and Saturday).

2012 looks set to be the most exciting year for the ‘Small But Massive’ festival yet with some exciting announcements due in the coming weeks.

For all things regarding Glasgowbury, stay tuned to


Ghostpoet, Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Errors and Factory Floor added to Festival line-up

Happy Mondays have been confirmed for Titanic Lockdown, taking place on June 1st and June 2nd 2012.  The Manchester based band – who recently reformed their original line up – will be one of the headline acts at the brand new boutique festival set to take place under the iconic Harland and Wolff cranes.   It will be the first time the original band has played in Belfast for over 20 years.

Other acts announced for the festival taking place on the double bank holiday Diamond Jubilee weekend include Ghostpoet, Factory Floor, Glasgow based Errors and the legendary reggae producer Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry – a founding father of reggae music and the man credited with producing many of Bob Marley’s seminal recordings. According to promoters Hydroponic Music further acts are set to be announced in the coming days promising music fans a line-up worthy of Belfast’s musical pedigree.

Hydroponic founder and resident DJ Michael McKeown stated:  “Happy Mondays are the first of many bands lined up to play at Titanic Lockdown; we will be announcing other major headline acts in the coming days.  Titanic Lockdown is unique to the music scene in Northern Ireland.  The line-up will be fantastic, the venue is out of this world and the setting is simply world class.  Our launch gig on 31st March will provide music fans with the opportunity to celebrate the official launch of Titanic Belfast, get a taste of what Titanic Lockdown will deliver and snap up advance tickets for what promises to be the biggest party weekend of the year in June.”

Festival tickets will first become exclusively available at the all-day Titanic Lockdown launch festival on 31st March – the opening day of Titanic Belfast – and will go on general release on Monday 2nd April at and all ticketmaster outlets.

On 31st March, The Titanic Lockdown launch festival will feature a free all day-long programme of activity including DJ sets, continental food markets, live street art, urban sports demo’s, fashion workshops and firebreathers. Leading local bands will also be performing throughout the day including Pocket Billiards, The Bonnevilles, Katie and the Carnival and Verse Chorus Verse.  Activities culminate in a night time concert with cutting edge music performances from Roots Manuva, legendary DJ Gilles Peterson and London’s Soul Jazz Sound System.

Hydroponic Music promoter Andrew McFeeters added:  “Momentum is building towards our June festival and the feedback from music fans has been phenomenal.  Our launch festival will give Belfast’s music lovers a chance to see both leading local bands, world class talent and secure tickets to the June festival before they go on general release.  A perfect excuse for music fans to take part in the launch of Titanic Belfast.”

Titanic Lockdown, dubbed a boutique music festival for Belfast’s music lovers, will take place at T13, home to Ireland’s leading Urban Sports Park & Shared Cultural Space.  The venue will host both the indoor launch festival on 31st March and the outdoor boutique festival on June 1st and June 2nd 2012.

The daytime programme of activity at Titanic Lockdown on 31st March between 12pm and 6.30pm is free to all comers.   Under 18’s are welcome to all daytime events if accompanied by an adult.  The evening concert is for over 18’s and will run from 7pm to late with tickets priced at £23 (+ Booking Fee).   Tickets for the launch festival on the 31st March are available from and all Ticketmaster outlets.

Early bird weekend passes for Titanic Lockdown in June will be exclusively available at the March 31st launch festival.  Weekend passes will go on general release on Monday 2nd April at and all ticketmaster outlets.

To find out more log onto, follow us on twitter @TitanicLockdown (#titaniclockdown) or like us on facebook at Titanic Lockdown.

Web Links:

Twitter: @TitanicLockdown #titaniclockdown #nimusic

Facebook: Titanic Lockdown


40 Coca-Cola Future Flames selected to run with Olympic Flame in Northern Ireland

Pictured are just some of the Torchbearers at Coca-Cola’s ‘Walk of Flame’ (front to back) Dempsey Andrews, Dundonald; Pete Snodden, Bangor; Lucy Camlin, Dunadry; Peter Brittain, Bangor; Holly Hamill, Glengormley; Eorann O’Neill, Nutt Corner; Rebecca Nixon, Newtownards; David Sharkey, Coleraine; Charlotte O’Neill, Belfast; Nicola McLarnon, Belfast

Coca-Cola has  unveiled over 40 Future Flames from Northern Ireland – exceptional people who will be honoured as they carry the Olympic Flame during the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay this summer.

These inspiring individuals will join over 1,300 other amazing people from across the UK as official London 2012 Olympic Torchbearers, and will have the once in a lifetime experience of carrying the Olympic Flame as it embarks upon its journey throughout Northern Ireland, building excitement ahead of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Coca-Cola, the longest continuous supporter of the Olympic Movement and a Presenting Partner of the Olympic Torch Relay, launched its Future Flames nomination campaign last summer, aiming to recognise and reward the positive contributions made by young people every day in the UK by giving them the opportunity to run with the Olympic Flame.  The nationwide campaign called on the country to nominate people who use their passions in areas like sport and physical activity, music and dance, and community and the environment; to spread happiness in their local communities.

Cool FM DJ Pete Snodden who has been announced as one of the 40 flames said:

“Firstly what an honour it is to be involved with the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games – this is an opportunity that I will share with the grand children in years to come. I am very excited to be sharing my moment as a Coca-Cola Torchbearer with 39 inspirational people and can’t wait to get involved in the celebrations Coca-Cola is hosting as part of the relay.”

Dempsey Andrews from Dundonald who was originally selected as a Coca-Cola Future Flame said:

“I have been involved with Coca-Cola’s Future Flame campaign as an ambassador encouraging young people to nominate themselves to carry the torch – it is just amazing that my story has come full circle and I will actually be carrying the Olympic Torch this summer.  There are a lot of inspirational people out there doing great things so it’s nice that their achievements are being recognised in the local community.”

Eorann O’Neill from Nutts Corner also said:

“I am overwhelmed by the fact that I will carry the Olympic Torch this summer. When I was first notified by Coca-Cola that my entry had made it through to the final stage I never imagined I would actually make it as a torchbearer.  All my family and friends are very excited to cheer me on when I run my 300m with the torch.”
Coca-Cola is now calling on everyone to come out in force to celebrate their local Future Flames by cheering them on as they run along the UK’s roads or by attending one of the Evening Celebrations which will be held almost every evening along the route of the Olympic Torch Relay.

Coca-Cola also recently announced it is helping the London Organising Committee (LOCOG) and host Local Authorities to bring music and celebration to every corner of the UK through the Olympic Torch Relay’s 66 Evening Celebrations, showcasing up-and-coming British music talent and some of the country’s best loved stars.  This focus on music builds on Coca-Cola’s Move to the Beat campaign, which fuses music and sport to bring teens closer to the Olympic Games through a unique collaboration with GRAMMY award-winning producer Mark Ronson and chart topping dub-step vocalist Katy B.

James Williams, Director, Olympic Torch Relay, Coca-Cola, said:

“With the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games only months away, I’m thrilled that we’ve been able to start the celebrations early by confirming the Olympic Torchbearers we have selected through our Future Flames campaign.  They are all outstanding people who spread happiness in their local communities to make Britain burn brighter, and now they will be honoured with the amazing experience of carrying the Olympic Flame. I hope everyone joins us in cheering them on as they run along the route and at their closest evening event, so they can Move to the Beat in celebration of their local Future Flames.”

Details of the full line up of each Evening Celebration will be announced in due course.