The ‘Belfast Punk Experience – walking tour, workshop and gig’ will take place for the first time on Saturday 25th March, in Belfast’s music hub, the Oh Yeah Music Centre. Tickets are on sale now from Visit Belfast, at a special introductory price of £25 (plus the booking fee).
Interest in the story of punk music’s eruption in Belfast back in the late 1970s continues to fascinate both visitors to the city and locals alike. With a pop-up punk choir to feature in the Belfast St Patrick’s Day carnival, and the Good Vibrations Show set to return to the Grand Opera House in May, now seems like the perfect time to launch an exciting activity that will help guests savour an authentic punk experience in an afternoon. Participants in the ‘Belfast Punk Experience’ will explore legendary punk rock sites in and near the Cathedral Quarter, sample the punk DIY ethos in a hands-on workshop activity, and after their creative work, settle down for a blistering live performance by the local punk band, Gender Chores. A light lunch is also included.
The idea is the brainchild of Dolores Vischer of Creative Tours Belfast who will share her memories of the old Harp Bar and stories of punk gigs back in the day, as well as now. Dolores tells us: “At the end of 2021 I qualified as a tourist guide and wanted a change of career, to do something I really loved. So, I set up my walking tours business to specialise in music tours. I love all genres of music, but punk has a special place in my heart. It was just so exhilarating back in 1978-1980 when I was 17 and 18 – and I still really love the energy and righteous anger of punk bands today in Belfast. I wanted to develop something that would help to tell the story of punk in Belfast and acknowledge the great music made by bands like The Outcasts, Rudi, Stiff Little Fingers, Ruefrex, Victim and more – as well as introduce people to the excellent punk bands of today. I was encouraged to organise this exciting afternoon programme by Tourism Northern Ireland.”
Those who are quick off the mark to snap up one of the special introductory priced tickets will meet at Oh Yeah and begin the afternoon with a guided look around the fascinating punk memorabilia and artefacts in the display cabinets of the Oh Yeah NI Music exhibition. Next, on a short walking tour around the nearby area, Dolores will point out several places important in Belfast’s punk story, including where the Harp Bar and The Pound stood and where the Good Vibrations record shop was located for a time: she will paint a picture of a night out in Hill Street in 1979.
Back at Oh Yeah, participants will enjoy a soundtrack of music by Northern Ireland punk bands, old and contemporary, while enjoying a bite to eat. Then it will be time to get hands-on to customise their own punk-designed t-shirt, using a screen printer or fabric paints, as well as designing a badge, with support from experienced Girls Rock School NI facilitators. The t-shirt and badge will be taken away from the afternoon, together with recommendations for films, books, magazines, bands and playlists that may be of interest.
To round out the afternoon, the group will settle down to enjoy a private and exciting half-hour set by the contemporary local punk band, Gender Chores.
Ciaran Doherty, Head of Regions & Investment, explained NI Tourism’s support for the new ‘Belfast Punk Experience’ saying: “Belfast is a city closely associated with punk music and punk has staked out its place in the rich and varied musical heritage of our UNESCO city of music. We are delighted to support this new experience.
“Taking part in this rich and varied afternoon activity with people like Dolores who has first-hand experience of the original punk scene and Shannon O’Neill who put the DIY ethos in practice by setting up Girls Rock School NI in 2016 and who will lead the hands on workshop activities, and then to hear a fresh punk band perform, is just a great new offering for the people of Belfast and visitors to our city.”
Tickets for the ‘Belfast Punk Experience’ on Saturday 25 March, 12-3 pm, are available to purchase now from Visit Belfast, priced at a special introductory offer of £25 (plus booking fee): https://visitbelfast.ticketsolve.com/ticketbooth/shows/873644679
This event is supported by funding from Tourism NI Market Led Product Development Programme 2022-23. For further information visit www.creativetoursbelfast.com
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