The day we hosted a mini music festival on Belfast Live

On Friday, May 1st, 10 local musicians came together on Belfast Live's Instagram channel to lift the lockdown mood with a special nine-hour mini-festival, streamed live, as part of our #InThisTogether campaign. One day, nine hours, 10 gigs...we called it Lockdown Sessions and it was one massive triumph! 

We partnered with the Oh Yeah Music Centre and Gary Lightbody’s Third Bar (yes – Snow Patrol Gary Lightbody who also helped select the bands) to bring our readers the mini-festival live from Belfast Live's Instagram. It was hosted by BBC NI’s music presenter and Across the Line legend Rigsy, who, by the way, also writes a column for The Beat published in the Daily Mirror every Friday called The Beautiful North - you should check that out!

The whole thing was kind of a big deal to us because not only was bringing together ten artists, all in their different locations, with no fancy tech tests or slick production set-up no mean feat, but it coincided with online music company Bandcamp, on which our featured musicians sell their wares, waiving their revenue share on all music and merchandise sales for one day only.

That meant 100% of all sales that first Friday in May went directly to the artists - financial support that will prove invaluable to Northern Irish artists during these tough times.

Throughout the sessions, we had another stream of activity going on over on Twitter, drumming up support for the featured artists and encouraging fans and new fans alike to check out the artists' Bandcamp profiles and consider purchasing. Over a quarter of a million tweet impressions later (342k to be exact!)...100% profit.

Talking about the initiative, our Brand Partnership Manager Paul McCarthy said:

“The local music industry is facing a great deal of uncertainty through the cancellation of events and the closure of entertainment venues. Belfast Live has become synonymous with the music scene in NI and we are committed to providing a platform for musicians to speak to our community that last month numbered over 800,000 visitors."

The line-up:

Click the links for the artist profiles on Belfast Live
  • Derry indie-folk artist, Reevah playing her latest EP, A Different Light

  • Bangor based Irish folk duo, The Darkling Air

  • David C Clements, an emerging alternative folk singer from Belfast

  • The newly formed teenage alternative band The Florentinas from Bangor

  • Problem Patterns, a screamo punk band from Belfast

  • Stunning songstress and powerful singer, Amy Montgomery from Belfast

  • Belfast based award-winning singer-songwriter, Joshua Burnside

  • ‘Best Emerging Artist’ award winner and Glastonbury 2017 performer, Roe

  • Brand New Friend, an indie-pop band of north coast siblings Taylor, Lauren and Jogan Johnson.

  • And the headline act was Portaferry singer Ryan McMullan who has had a non-stop schedule for years, playing small gigs across Ireland as well as supporting some of the world’s biggest acts, including Snow Patrol, Ed Sheeran and Kodaline.

In addition to each of the live sessions, we set-up this specially created hub on Belfast Live full of vital information on financial, creative and health support that is available to support musicians through these tough times, doing more than 6,000 total page views pre and post-event.

The performances were truly amazing and eye-opening with over 11,000 live viewers tuning in over the nine hours of pure escapism that gave us an opportunity to come together to appreciate and celebrate the role music plays in our lives, all while supporting our brilliant local talent.

If you missed the live sessions, you can relive them over on Belfast Live IGTV where we'll be sharing them over the next wee while. Or you can immerse yourself in everything about Lockdown Sessions via the hub.

Missed this one but like the sound of another one happening? Stay tuned...