Sound of Belfast launched!

Sound of Belfast 2018

Belfast’s festival dedicated to local music.

November 8-15

Sound of Belfast is 5!

The Oh Yeah Music Centre is pleased to announce the Sound of Belfast programme for 2018. The weeklong series of events takes place 8th – 15th November and aims to embrace, promote and celebrate the sounds and the efforts of the musicians of the city and provide audiences with a snapshot of what is on offer all year round.

The festival includes a mix of live gigs and talks, awards, conferences and music industry panels and workshops, as well youth, family, community and collaborative events. There are over 70 locally based acts in the programme and events take place across nine venues including Limelight 2, The Empire, The Sunflower Bar, Voodoo, Black Box, Accidental Theatre, Ulster Hall, and 39 Gordon Street.

The week begins with an evening at Oh Yeah to honour the late Jazz and Blues musician Jackie Flavelle. The evening is curated by his daughter Lisa and will include a posthumous Oh Yeah Legend Award presentation led by Stuart Bailie. There will be music and performances from top artists including Ciaran Lavery, Matt McGinn, Ronnie Greer and John McCollough, Linley Hamilton, Lewis Smith, Suzanne Savage, John Wilson, Sam Davidson (Taste), Billy Boy Miskimmon, Reverend Doc, Chris Taplin and Jackie’s grandson Ben Flavelle-Cobain. Proceeds will go to Help Musicians NI, the charity that supported Jackie before he sadly passed away in September 2017.

Other events across the week include Rude Health, a fundraiser for mental health charity AWARENI. The event will feature performances from some of our finest acts from across a variety of genres including Catalan, Hot Cops, Malojian, Susie Blue and many more. There will be a Belfast tribute to the late Scott Hutchinson of Frightened Rabbit, with proceeds towards funding the delivery of the AWARENI Mental Health First Aid training programme. The Native Music Mart returns, Outburst Queer Arts Festival will host a special youth takeover at the Black Box and Shizznigh Promotions will host events at 39 Gordon Street and The Empire including a special GIFTED album launch with The Crawling. There is a special event with Billy Harrison of Them and the Oh Yeah youth project Volume Control, Clash of The New Breeds will showcase the future sounds of the city. The NI Music Prize will take place at the Ulster Hall and features performances from Hannah Peel, Ciaran Lavery, ROE, Ryan Vail, The Wood Burning Savages and Brand New Friend. There is also the annual Music Cities discussion and Brexit is still very much on the agenda along with panels and workshops with leading music industry experts.

Charlotte Dryden, of Oh Yeah says, “There is a lot of great work being done in Belfast across the year by musicians, creators, venues, promoters, and dedicated music fans. Sound of Belfast is about celebrating that. The programme is packed full of great events, and this year we felt it was important to try and highlight and support the work that is being done for mental health and wellbeing, an issue that affects many musicians. There will be events to support the work of AWARENI and Help Musicians NI and it is with thanks to our dedicated and committed music community that we are able to do this. We are also honoured to be able to pay tribute to and add Jackie Flavelle to the Oh Yeah Legend series this year. Overall the Sound of Belfast festival is a celebration of all that is great about our music community. We strongly encourage people to come out and support these events, and beyond the festival and across the year.”

For more info and full programme details go to

Supporters, partners and funders include Belfast City Council, The Arts Council of Northern Ireland, British Council, Invest NI, Belfast Harbour, PPL, PRS for Music, PRS Foundation, Help Musicians NI, UK Music, Musicians’ Union, Shizznigh Promotions and The Thin Air.


All tickets from Waterfront Hall Website.


NI Music Prize Event Details Announced.


Ulster Hall, Belfast, November 15.

Performances from:

Brand New Friend

Ciaran Lavery

Hannah Peel


Ryan Vail featuring Arco String Quartet.

The Wood Burning Savages


7PM, £10 + booking fee

Ticket link:

The Northern Ireland Music Prize honours and celebrates the very best of Northern Irish albums, and this year includes three additional categories for Best Single, Best Live Act and The Oh Yeah Contender Award.

The evening will feature performances from six of the nominees across the four categories. Hannah Peel will perform music from her shortlisted album Mary Casio: Journey to Cassiopeia, live with colliery brass and synths, an exclusive for NI. Best Album, Live and Single nominees The Wood Burning Savages will bring the pulsating riffs and rebellious spirit and Brand New Friend will bring their unending positivity and joyful harmonies. Best Single and Oh Yeah Contender nominee Roe will own the stage with those electro pop sounds, and former NI Music Prize winner and third time album nominee Ciaran Lavery returns with full band. Best Live and Album nominee Ryan Vail is promising lasers and will be accompanied by the Arco String Quartet, a collaboration that made its debut at Moira Calling earlier this year.

The event host is Rigsy (BBC Radio Ulster), with the winners of all four categories to be announced by special guests on the night. The evening will end with an after party at Limelight 2.

The NI Music Prize event is supported by Belfast City Council, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, British Council, PRS, PPL, Help Musicians NI and Tourism Ireland.

The night is scheduled to take place during the Sound of Belfast 2018 festival, which runs 8th – 15th November. The full programme for this will be announced on the 4th October. It is a week of live performances, industry workshops with national and international music professionals, talent development sessions for aspiring artists, showcases and community music initiatives to support the city’s music scene.

NI Music Prize shortlist announced

NI Music Prize shortlist announced.

The NI Music Prize shortlist for 2018 has been announced. The event, which will take place on November 15th at the iconic Ulster Hall, is now in its 6th year and includes the return of three categories that formed part of the very first NI Music Awards back in 2011.

Over 80 industry and media cast their vote for the best Album of the last twelve months. They were also invited to nominate for Best Live, Best Single and the Oh Yeah Contender Award for best emerging act.

There will be a second round of voting for all but Best Single, which will go to public vote later this week. The winners of all four categories will be announced on November 15th.

Oh Yeah is also pleased to announce that the winners of each category will be awarded a cash prize. Best Single, Best Live Act and Oh Yeah Contender will receive £1,000 and £3,000 will go to the winner of Best Album.

The NI Music Prize is coordinated by the Oh Yeah Music Centre and is supported by Belfast City Council, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, British Council, PRS (Performing Rights Society), PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited), Help Musician’s Northern Ireland, Invest Northern Ireland and Tourism Ireland.

Ticket link

Further details are to be announced in the coming days, but for now, here is the shortlist…..

Album of the Year

 And So I Watch You From Afar – The Endless Shimmering

Ash – Islands

Bicep – Bicep

Brand New Friend – Seatbelts For Aeroplanes

Ciaran Lavery – Sweet Decay

Girls Names – Stains on Silence

Hannah Peel – Mary Casio: Journey to Cassiopeia

Malojian – Let Your Weirdness Carry You Home

Robocobra Quartet – Plays Hard To Get

Ryan Vail – Distorted Shadows

Snow Patrol – Wildness

The Wood Burning Savages – Stability

Best Single

Arvo Party – Liberté

Ash – Buzzkill

Brand New Friend – Girl

Cherym – Take It Back

Hot Cops – Decay

Joshua Burnside – A Man of High Renown

Kitt Philippa – Human

Robocobra Quartet – You’ll Wade

ROE – Hey Thomas

Rosborough – Burn Blue

Snow Patrol – Life on Earth

The Wood Burning Savages – I Don’t Know Why I Do It To Myself


Oh Yeah Contender Award


Hand Models


Rebekah Fitch


Best Live Act

And So I Watch You From Afar

Brand New Friend

Robocobra Quartet

Ryan Vail

The Wood Burning Savages

Album Shortlist




Scratch My Progress 2018 Acts Announced

Oh Yeah is delighted to reveal the five fresh new acts that have been selected for Scratch My Progress 2018. It has been a record breaking year for applications to our dedicated talent development programme which is now in its 7th year.

Here is the Scratch cohort for 2018…

Dena Anuk$a
Gemma Bradley
Kid Trench

Scratch My Progress will support each of the acts across the next 9 months. The programme will offer them mentoring, advice, signposting and support from industry professionals. They will work with our dedicated Talent Development Coordinator to uncover opportunities and take part in workshops, studio time, professional photo shoots, showcase gigs, vocal coaching and more. They will avail of free rehearsal time and receive PR and digital marketing support.

Oh Yeah is an official Talent Development partner of the PRS Foundation along with 39 other cohorts working with new music across the UK. The programme is supported through the Help Musicians UK National Grants Programme. This will give Oh Yeah access to network alongside the 20 other committed organisations in receipt of the grant and will support Scratch in promoting and nurturing strong emerging talent, both locally and to audiences, industry and festivals on a wider level. Oh Yeah and Scratch My Progress is also supported by Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

Belfast Music Recommends Spotify Playlist

Oh Yeah curated a playlist for Belfast City Council as part of the Belfast Music initiative.

The playlist will be updated every two weeks with music from Belfast and Northern Ireland. A mix of well know classics, fresh new sounds, ones to watch and hidden gems.

Use the code below to go directly to the playlist on Spotify – you do this by opening Spotify on your phone, tap search, then tap on the camera on top right – then hover the camera over the code and that’s you!

OR check it out here…


More Volume Take Over

Our More Volume project is working with Eastside Arts to bring all ages local and live music to the local community via this years festival.

They take over the Strand Arts Centre, August 9th, 7.30 doors – 10.30pm.

Free event but donations to Strand Arts Centre welcome.

line up includes:




NI Music Prize 2018

The NI Music Prize returns on Thursday 15th November and will take place at The Ulster Hall.

Now in its sixth year the Prize is an annual celebration of great new music from Northern Ireland, highlighting 12 shortlisted albums and promoting them to a wider audience.

The event, which is coordinated by the Oh Yeah Music Centre, was established to champion artists based in or from NI, by providing a snapshot of what is out there and celebrating outstanding new records, with an academy of over 100 industry and media involved in choosing the overall winner.

This year will include three new categories including Best Single, Best Live Act and the Oh Yeah Contender Award for emerging acts. The shortlist will be announced in September when the public will be invited to take part in voting for the overall winner of Best Single. The winners will be announced on 15th November at the Ulster Hall.

To date a mix of established artists through to debut records have won the award including Foy Vance, SOAK and Joshua Burnside.

To see more info and a long list of albums – go to

Stay tuned for even more announcements coming soon!

Oh Yeah seeking new talent to support development in 2018

Talent Development at Oh Yeah

Scratch My Progress 2018 – Now Recruiting – APPLY HERE 

The Oh Yeah Music Centre is now accepting applications for 2018 for its Scratch My Progress talent development programme.

Oh Yeah is Belfast’s dedicated music hub and Scratch My Progress is an annual project as part of the centre’s commitment to supporting, nurturing and developing new music. Since 2011 the scheme has supported 26 emerging music acts through workshops, signposting and one to one mentoring, as well as studio and rehearsal time, professional photo shoots, performance, showcasing and promotional opportunities. Previous acts have included Kitt Philippa, Owen Denvir, Hot Cops, Emer Maguire, Strange New Places and Reevah.

Once recruited, four successful Scratch applicants will spend up to nine months taking part in meetings and workshops with music industry professionals, including lawyers and accountants, vocal coaches, PR experts – in previous years the Scratch artists have benefited from one-to-one sessions with Warner Music (Muse, Green Day, Birdy), Domino Records (Arctic Monkeys, Anna Calvi), Jeff Robinson PR (Wolf Alice, The 1975). The talent development artists will write and record a track professionally in Start Together Studios. This track will be released via Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, and Amazon – the single will then be promoted through a special live music showcase in the Oh Yeah Music Centre as part of the Sound of Belfast festival in November 2018.

Previous Scratch My Progress artists have gone on to sign professional management deals, international booking agents, live gigs in UK & Ireland and secure further investment from funding bodies including PRS Foundation and Arts Council Northern Ireland. In the past year the Oh Yeah has further developed the programme to provide the hardest working Scratch acts with further showcasing and international opportunities including but not limited to a showcase event at the UK’s Biggest New Music Festival – The Great Escape in Brighton.

For more info, guidelines and an application form contact

Oh Yeah is a PRS Foundation Talent Development Partner and is also supported through the Help Musicians UK National Grants Programme.

Applications are being accepted from June 15th – July 6th (6pm deadline)


Oh Yeah at Stendhal Festival 2018

We’re pleased to announce we will be returning to Stendhal Festival for a 4th year in a row. We will be curating a day time stage on Saturday 11th August. It will consist of a mix of artists and projects we have been working with in the centre across the last year.

Stage times: 12 noon – 6pm. Sat 11th August.

Artist stage times to be confirmed. More info soon.

Back by popular demand – The Over The Hill House Band – old time classic and family friendly songs that every generation will know, performed by our very own Music and Older People Manager Paul Kane who also leads on his own project Over The Hill Music Collective – he will be joined by some of the musicians he has been working with over the last few years to kick off proceedings on the Saturday at noon.

Also on the bill will be 3 solo artists discovered through the Capital XTRA project – each act performed at the iconic KoKo in London back in May as part of the Music Unleashed showcase that featured acts from Belfast, Birmingham and London. This will be their first festival appearance as artists in their own right – come along and support Alice La, Conor Maley and Jonny Brooks.

We are also delighted to welcome along two acts that were on our 2017 Scratch My Progress talent development programme.

The brilliant Hand Models

and Cut In Blinks.

We are also delighted to have the unstoppable Girls Rock School NI – Bandeoke on board – This was a massive hit back in early June as part of the Women’s Work Festival – the Rock School house band will invite you up to sing – a list of options are provided along with the words.

More info on stage times coming soon – but mark 12noon – 6pm in the diary!