SXSW 2016 Interview: Deputy Lord Mayor of Belfast Guy Spence

By on Tuesday, 29th March 2016 at 1:00 pm

For the past three years running, I’ve had the pleasure of covering a number of talented Northern Irish musicians chosen to showcase at SXSW. Northern Ireland, and the city of Belfast in particular, has a recent history of providing exemplary support to its artists and musicians, and each year that I’ve attended SXSW, Northern Ireland has hosted a high quality showcase. In the past, the Northern Irish showcase has taken place on the Monday night between the Interactive and Music festivals, but for SXSW 2016, Output Belfast opted to host a riverboat show on that Convergence Monday, moving its official showcase to the Thursday afternoon, coinciding with St. Patrick’s Day.

Guy Spence

Output Belfast is a cooperative effort between the Belfast City Council and Generator NI, and its SXSW 2016 showcase event at the British Music Embassy was co-emceed by Generator NI Head of Programme Development Mark Gordon and Deputy Lord Mayor of Belfast Guy Spence. Before the start of the performances on Thursday, I took a moment to chat with Deputy Lord Mayor Spence about Output Belfast and the role of the Belfast City Council in sponsoring this year’s SXSW showcase. Spence emphasised that while fostering Northern Irish musicians is a key element to Output Belfast’s mission, the trek to Austin for SXSW is about more than just music, encompassing creative, digital and interactive industry components as well. He also pointed out the benefit to the city of Belfast, both in terms of global recognition for his city’s contributions and in terms of raising morale and optimism in the city itself as Northern Ireland emerges from its rather dark political history.

Spence mentioned near the end of this interview that the Belfast City Council and Generator NI feel positive about pursuing their collaboration at future events. We at TGTF are pleased with the success of the partnership so far, and we look forward to a continuing tradition of fine Northern Irish showcases at SXSW, as well as continued coverage of the musicians showcased here at SXSW 2016.

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