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A big deal for a small city

by : 
Steven Grattan

Northern Ireland’s ongoing peace progress brings top music awards show to capital.

Over the past decade Belfast has taken a dramatic curve away from its turbulent past of car raids and terrorist bombings.

Nowadays the only thing turbulent about the Northern Irish capital is the magnificent nightlife, music and ever-changing modernity of a place that, fifteen years ago, was a city where most musicians and celebrities bypassed for fear of the troubles that were happening between Catholic republicans and Protestant loyalists.

On the sixth of November 2011, Belfast, the birthplace of Titanic and Snow Patrol, hosted one of the biggest music events of the year and probably one of the biggest events ever to take place in the history of the small city - the MTV European Music Awards.

For 10 years, Belfast has been bidding with MTV for the chance to host the event, beaten by major European capitals such as Madrid and Berlin in the recent past. However, due to new and ongoing expansion Belfast finally made the cut, proving that they were able to cope with the high demand of hotels and facilities that MTV needed to have available.

Making it to the untraditional pink coloured red carpet this year was the always impressively eccentric Lady Gaga, Essex born singer Jessie J, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Coldplay and local heroes Snow Patrol who played a concert for 15,000 people on a stage in front of the city hall. The show was hosted my American starlet Selena Gomez and the biggest winners of the night were Lady Gaga, who collected four EMA awards, and Justin Beiber, who also performed at the show and collected two awards.

This years’ celebration paid a fan-made video tribute to the tragic loss of 27-year-old singer Amy Winehouse, but the main tribute of the night was the Global Icon award presented to Queen by Katy Perry, who gave a very emotional and personal speech beforehand. They closed the show with a performance medley of some of their most famous hits like We Will Rock You and We Are The Champions  fronted by American singer Adam Lambert

During his acceptance speech for the award Brian May, Queen Guitarist said: “How wonderful for us to be here 40 years later...and here in Belfast, which is finally showing its beauty and setting an example to the world by finding, out of grief and tragedy, the beginnings of truth and peace.”

It is expected that the awards show will generate an extra £10 million to the Belfast tourism industry in the coming years.


Who are your favourite pop acts at the moment? Who do you think should win the MTV awards next year? Why?