The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has awarded the Northern Ireland city of Belfast the title of “UNESCO City of Music.” It is the third U.K. city to be honored, following Liverpool and Glasgow.
Cities of Music must meet certain UNESCO criteria such as experience hosting national and/or international music festivals and promotion of the music industry in all forms. It also must promote musical education in the form of music conservatories and other higher education institutions as well as containing cultural spaces suitable for practicing and listening to music.
To celebrate the city’s successful bid, numerous high-profile musical events are being planned. Investment in existing infrastructure is also being pledged. The city’s bid was made after the Belfast Council surveyed 20,000 residents. Predictably, music was a recurring theme in a lot of the responses.
Numerous people deeply involved in the city’s music scene helped with the bid, including Snow Patrol‘s Gary Lightbody and Emmy-nominated composer Hannah Peel. “I’ve watched, in these last 25 years of relative peace, the music scene grow and then thrive and now burst at the seams with fearless and limitless talent,” said Lightbody of the city’s music scene.
In keeping with the city’s musical heritage, local Belfast DJ and producer Marion Hawkes opened a new vinyl record store last month.