I picked up a programme for Belfast Music Week and there is certainly an extensive programme of events, in a wide range of venues, running from 12 to 19 September. Much of the programme is Irish traditional music but there is also some country music, soul, jazz and classical music.
However I was disappointed to see that there is nothing in the programme at all to reflect the music of marching bands. It is Belfast Music Week and there are plenty of marching bands in Belfast. Is their music not part of the musical diversity of the city?
We have some excellent bands and that will be reflected in the forthcoming Festival of Marching Bands in the Ulster Hall., which is supported and sponsored by the NewsLetter. If flute bands, accordion bands and pipe bands can fill the Ulster Hall, in this case for two nights, and if they can also fill the Waterfront Hall, why were they left out of Belfast Music Week?
Another popular genre that has been omitted is gospel music. We have plenty of churches in the city centre that could provide a venue and plenty of really good gospel singers and musicians. And so my second question is why was gospel music left out of Belfast Music Week?
It seems from the programme that Belfast Music Week has been funded by Belfast City Council and the European Regional Development Fund and coordinated by the Council.
Perhaps one of the organisers can provide some answers and perhaps they can do something to compensate for these disappointing omissions. If we are to build a shared and better future that accommodates our cultural diversity then we cannot afford to settle for cultural exclusion, where some cultural communities and some cultural traditions are locked outside the door.