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Nashville Mayor and Lord Mayor of Belfast, Northern Ireland to kick off Music City Irish Fest


Former Nashville Mayors Dean and Purcell to remember Dr. Ian and Katherine Brick in special ceremony for their contributions to Nashville and Belfast’s Sister City Relationship

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Nashville Mayor Megan Barry along with former Mayors Karl Dean and Bill Purcell are set to join Belfast Lord Mayor Arder Carson among other dignitaries in the opening ceremony of the second annual Music City Irish Fest (MCIF), Saturday, March 12, 2016 on Demonbreun Street near the Music Row Roundabout.

MCIF is pleased to announce that Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Arder Carson, will be attending this year’s celebration along with Belfast City Councillor Carole Howard and other esteemed representatives of the city of Belfast. Lord Mayor Carson will preside over the opening ceremonies of MCIF 2016 with Nashville Mayor Megan Barry.

Former Nashville Mayors Karl Dean and Bill Purcell will also speak in special recognition of the late Dr. Ian and Katherine Brick, who worked to establish Nashville’s Sister City relationship with Belfast, Northern Ireland and were instrumental in maintaining the relationship for more than 20 years.

“What an honor to welcome the Lord Mayor of Belfast to Nashville as we celebrate the incredible musical and culture heritage of Northern Ireland, while strengthening the bonds of our two cities in the process,” said Mayor Barry.

Belfast, the capital of Northern Ireland, has been Nashville’s official Sister City since 1995. The diplomatic partnership focuses on social justice projects and educational exchanges along with musical, cultural and economic development opportunities. The ties between the two regions date back to the Scots-Irish settlements in Tennessee in the eighteenth century.

A highlight of this Sister Cities relationship is the thriving and star-studded Belfast-Nashville Songwriters Festival, an extremely successful gathering and exchange of our respective communities’ deep love for music and song now in its 12th year. Each year many established artists, up-and-coming writers, and political figures travel from Nashville to Belfast to grow a unique friendship forged through the making of music. For the last several years, Music City Roots has broadcast live from the festival.

“Belfast today is full of ambition, optimism and above all energy. A great city held back for too long, today we are ready for investment, ready for visitors, ready for fresh challenges, ready for those with get up and go,” said Lord Mayor of Belfast Arder Carson. “I’m delighted to be in Nashville at the Music City Irish Fest celebrating music and culture with our Sister City of Nashville. Music provides an exciting connection for us; however we’re also focusing on trade and investment, tourism and education.  Belfast’s greatest export is music. It’s the currency of our time, used to express our rising fortunes and the pain of the past. American presidents and veteran punk rockers alike have all been enthralled by it and together Belfast and Nashville are a force to be reckoned with.”

The first MCIF featured multiple winning singer-songwriters from the Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival on its main stage.  This year the two festivals are excited to be exchanging artists. Jessica and Jeremiah Willis, singer-songwriters from Nashville-based The Willis Clan, performed March 2nd in Belfast. Only days later, six Irish artists from the Belfast festival are set to perform on the MCIF 2016 main stage.

MCIF aims for those of all ages to embrace Nashville’s heritage and explore its Irish musical roots.

Opening ceremonies are March 12 at 11 am. Viewers will see a special dance performance by The Willis Clan dedicated to the visiting foreign dignitaries.  The festival's FREE musical performances will take the stage 11:30 am – 11:00 pm, featuring some of Irish Music's top groups including We Banjo 3, The Willis Clan and Altan.

Music City Irish Fest is held every March in Nashville. Last year more than 10,000 people attended the inaugural event. This year more than 20,000 people are expected to take part in the daylong festival. Other highlights include traditional Irish food and drink, crafts and instruments.

MCIF 2016 is sponsored by Tourism Ireland, Dark Horse Institute, WSM Radio, Lightning 100, CIE Tours, Harp and Fiddle, Guinness, Yazoo, Lyft, McNamara’s Irish Pub, Prime Tours, Sister Cities of Nashville, Yazoo, Barnes and Noble, The Keenan Group, Fireball Designs and CapStar Bank.

Follow us:
Twitter: @musiccityirish  #musicityirishfest
Instagram: @musiccityirishfest

Information about Sister Cities of Nashville can be found at
Twitter: @scnashvilleTN

Go Green. Go Nashville. Go Ireland.