Members of rock acts Snow Patrol and Ash are throwing their support behind plans to create a dedicated music center in their Northern Ireland homeland. Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody and Ash lead
Members of rock acts Snow Patrol and Ash are throwing their support behind plans to create a dedicated music center in their Northern Ireland homeland.
Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody and Ash lead singer Tim Wheeler are rallying behind the project, dubbed Oh Yeah (the title of Ash's 1996 U.K. top 10 hit), aimed to be a multi-functional nucleus for musicians in the country's capital of Belfast.
An ambitious renovation schedule is planned for the three-story site, which stands at a former bonded whiskey warehouse in the heart of the city's Cathedral Quarter. The completed venue will feature rehearsal space, a recording studio, a cafe and office units catering to new music businesses.
"It's perfect," comments Lightbody, who first visited the site at Gordon Street in August 2006. "What [Snow] Patrol would have given for the advice of professionals; the space to rehearse or cut demos; a place to hang out and listen to music and meet people that might one day change your life."
Lightbody, who was born in Bangor, adds, "What is needed is a nexus to focus musical energy into and to unite the Belfast music scene in a way that has been elusive until now. It is staggering how simple music is when you boil it down: people, together."
Wheeler, who hails from Downpatrick, is similarly upbeat. "I think this is a fantastic, long-overdue idea for Belfast The music scene in Belfast needs a hub like this. It has a wealth of musical talent, but talent needs the right conditions to grow and develop," he says. "The music center would be a great place for this to start."
Oh Yeah is the invention of a team comprising broadcaster/journalist Stuart Bailie, Web guru Martin Neill and businessman David Matchett. A meeting with the Northern Ireland secretary of state Peter Hain was "highly positive," according to a statement issued on behalf of the project, and the team is currently in talks with various funding bodies, potential sponsors and media partners.