Northern Ireland

UNESCO City of Music

since 2021

Music has been a constant thread throughout Belfast’s history and is embedded in the daily lives of its people. The city is home to large cultural assets including 18 theatres, 28 arts centres, 60 galleries, over 90 playing fields, 15 museums, 6 stadia, 22 libraries, 80 heritage sites, and 71 open spaces and public parks. Belfast hosts 80 festivals per year and is home to Nobel Laureates and Oscar winners. The city has over 80 music venues from the 11,000 capacity SSE Arena and the historic Ulster Hall with the famous Mulholland Grand Organ to the prolific Grand Opera House. Belfast’s entertainment and conference venue, the ICC, and other small to medium sized venues offer audience and participation-based engagement. Belfast’s music heritage is reinforced by traditional Irish cultural organizations as well as a network of community-based flute and pipe bands. Diverse cultures are supported by a host of organizations and support agencies, and the sector is formed of all age groups. Economically, the music sector generated a direct output of USD 240.96 million in 2019 and a direct Gross Value Added of USD 112.85 million. 1,781 jobs, equivalent to 1.16% of the total workforce in Belfast, are supported by the music sector. The city of Belfast is dedicated to working with the music sector to develop a strong model for safe, inclusive, and accessible music experiences for audiences and musicians, through a series of well-being initiatives reaching 15,000 people.

As a Creative City of Music, the following steps will be important:

● Launching a dedicated music support service providing professional development, networking and music entrepreneurship advice, reaching more than 1500 musicians and music businesses annually;
● Transforming multiple vacant and public spaces for cultural use by collaborating with the film and design sectors;
● Working with other Creative Cities to deliver shared music and learning opportunities;
● Hosting a Global Summit on Sustainability reaching 2,000 delegates worldwide; and
● Creating new music stories with an international community of 350 young people.