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Amanda St John and Joe Rocks, Arts and Events Officer with Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, pictured in The Braid Arts Centre in Ballymena
Amanda St John and Joe Rocks, Arts and Events Officer with Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, pictured in The Braid Arts Centre in Ballymena

Press release -

Documentary on thriving local music scene brings summer of sound to perfect close

It’s been a summer of sound across Mid and East Antrim with a feast of entertainment, live and online, helping to celebrate the wealth of musical talent on our doorsteps.

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is delighted to have been involved with musicians, artists and businesses as we rolled out an exciting programme of performances and events, including Midtown Sounds, Friends Goodwill, Larne Arts Festival and the very popular ‘Feel Good Fridays’.

While the entertainment has been a mix of virtual and in-person, the buzz created in recent months has helped encourage people to continue supporting our wonderful business community by shopping local and enjoying the famous Mid and East Antrim hospitality.

Following hot on the heels of the hugely successful Virtual Midtown Sounds, which was streamed across Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s social channels, Joe Rocks, Arts and Events Officer, has produced a stunning documentary on the Ballymena music scene, featuring live performances and footage from the best-known venues which have hosted global names over the years.

The film, which is available to watch on YouTube, was shot by filmmaker Stephen Reid of Grafters Media, and gives a snapshot of Ballymena at its best.

Local soul sensation Amanda St John gives a lovely stripped back performance of her track Bring Me from the Atrium of the Braid Arts Centre, while discussing her journey to success with her latest album, “Muscle Shoals Sessions” recorded at Fame Recording Studios, Alabama.

Blues Taxi, who are back playing together again, give a storming rendition of the Albert Collins blues standard If You Love Me (like you say).

One of the most exciting live acts on the local music scene, the band formerly known as Taxi enjoyed success in the 60s and 70s, supporting bands like Thin Lizzy, Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac and John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Councillor William McCaughey, congratulated all those involved with celebrating the local music scene.

“We have a wealth of talent in the arts and music, right across the Borough, and I am delighted to see live events taking place again.

“Music has provided a real sense of joy to people throughout history, but never more so than during the past year when it helped to keep our spirits up when times were difficult.

“Congratulations to all those involved in delivering a variety of events, both virtual and in-person, this year. Here’s to brighter days ahead for us all!”

Council Arts and Events Officer, Joe Rocks, explains what music fans can look forward to in Ballymena and beyond.

“The documentary finishes with a call to action.

“Starting with one lone voice from the newly established Busker Spot in Ballymena’s Greenvale Street, our local musicians come together for a rousing rendition of Bruce Springsteen’s My City of Ruins.

“As more and more businesses, venues and events begin to open up, and normality resumes, so too will the music. We have so much to be proud of in our Borough, and let’s hope we can enjoy more live music and performances in the future.”

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Press contacts

Chris Kilpatrick

Chris Kilpatrick

Press contact Head of Communications 07721 302 568
Annamay McNally

Annamay McNally

Press contact Press Officer 07721 305 586
Deborah Cummings

Deborah Cummings

Press contact Press Officer 07920 544 094
Megan Mackay

Megan Mackay

Press contact Press Officer 07827 802 643

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Mid and East Antrim Borough Council's newsroom

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is a multi-award winning local authority which leads the way in the transformation of ever-more efficient and improved public services for its 139,000 citizens.

The traditional engine room of the Northern Ireland economy, the borough has a proud manufacturing heritage, diverse and dynamic business community, and a rapidly expanding tourism and hospitality sector.

Mid & East Antrim Borough Council
The Braid, 1-29 Bridge Street
BT43 5EJ Ballymena