Ash to headline concert for Covid-19 key workers

Ash to headline concert for Covid-19 key workers

13 October 2021

LOCAL band Ash and singer Ryan McMullan will be performing at a free concert to honour key workers who went above and beyond during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Downpatrick band and the Portaferry singer/songwriter will share a stage with other artists such as Cara Dillon, Foy Vance and NI Opera at Belfast’s Waterfront Hall on October 22.

Comedians May McFetridge, Paddy Raff, Tim McGarry and Mickey Bartlet will ensure the laughter while the culture will be supplied by Games of Thrones actor Ian McElhinney who will be reading from the poetry of Seamus Heaney, Ciara Carson and Leontia Flynn.

All of the performers in this diverse entertainment showcase will give freely of their time to the audience of representatives from the health, social care, food retail workers and charities.

It will be the second major gig for Ash in Northern Ireland since the lockdown as they headlined the Stendhal Festival in Limavady over the summer.

The platinum selling band was founded in 1992 at the age of 15 by Tim Wheeler with fellow Down High School students Mark Hamilton, also from Downpatrick, and Rick McMurray, from Killyleagh.

A former St Patrick’s Grammar School student, Ryan will be performing some tracks from his forthcoming debut album.

Ryan, whose songwriting talent has led to sold-out shows across the world, was featured in an eponymously named film, Debut: The Ryan McMullan Story, on BBC One Northern Ireland on Sunday. It will be screened again on BBC Two Northern Ireland tonight at 11.15pm.

The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) said it intends to allocate more than 60 per cent of the free tickets to “key workers in health and social care, food retail and charities”, describing it as “a small token of Northern Ireland’s enormous gratitude to key workers who have supported us all throughout the pandemic”.

It’s also understood that the NIO is working with health trusts, food retailers, charities and councils to distribute the ‘key worker’ tickets.

The remainder will be awarded to the general public via competitions run through media outlets.

In a joint statement, Joe Dougan from Shine and Carolyn Mathers of Snow Water, said the forthcoming event is a “unique opportunity” to showcase Northern Ireland’s fantastic artists and performers,to support the arts sector and to bring them together to perform live after so many months of theatres and concert halls being closed.

They added: “We are grateful for the funding support of the UK Government which made this event possible.” 

The free concert is also supported by the Arts Council NI, NI Screen and BPI (British Phonographic Industry).