Agenda item


(Councillor Duffy in the Chair)


            The Committee considered the undernoted report:


“1.0     Purpose of Report or Summary of main Issues


1.1            The purpose of this report is to provide Members with an update on the Major Events programme, including:


·        Belfast Maritime Festival

·        St Patrick’s Day 2024-2026 Tender

·        One Young World

·        an update on the bid for the Fleadh Cheoil na h’Eireann

·        an update regarding the UK and Ireland bid to host the European Football Championships in 2028

·        Antrim Coast & Belfast - Northern Ireland Official Bid - World Road Running Championships 2025 – 2026

·        Approve officers working with DfC to understand the requirements of a future bid for the Oireachtas na Samhna festival in 2025/26. With future reports coming back to this committee prior to any binding bid being submitted.


2.0       Recommendations


2.1       It is recommended that Members:


·        Note the update on the Belfast Maritime Festival.

·        Note the contents of the update on St Patrick’s Day including the procurement approach for 2024-2026

·        Note the update on One Young World

·        Note and approve support for One Young World Delegates under the 2024 programme development strand.

·        Note the update on the bid for the Fleadh Cheoil,

·        Note the update regarding the UK and Ireland bid to host the European Football Championships in 2028

·        Note the request for support for the World Road Running Championships 2025 – 2026 and the proposal for officers to provide a non-binding letter indicating a road closure application will be submitted if the bid is successful


3.0       Main report


3.1       Belfast Maritime Festival


            This year’s ‘Belfast Maritime Festival’ will be held on Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th September 2023, 11am – 6pm, in the Titanic Quarter with a programme that stretches from Queens Quay to HMS Caroline/Titanic Distillers. The aim is to create an inclusive event that appeals to all demographics celebrating all that is good and creative about Belfast, at an accessible location in the city highlighting our current tourism, heritage, culture, and maritime offering and showcasing our existing landmarks.


            The event is coordinated and implemented under a governance structure with key working groups reporting to the Programme Board, which consists of senior representatives from Council, Belfast Harbour Commissioners and Maritime Belfast Trust.



3.1.1    The draft programme includes:


·        An interactive kid’s zone at the front of the SSE, adjacent to Queens Quay which will host several visiting vessels including Granuaile, the Grace O’Malley, and both the Royal Navy and Irish Navy

·        Street Theatre in the Arc, with further visiting vessels within Abercorn Marina

·        The area around Hamilton Dock (the Nomadic) will host traditional shipbuilding displays and a large-scale community co-design photography project, delivered in partnership with Maritime Belfast Trust.

·        The Titanic Slipways will be a hive of activity, hosting the Belfast Bazaar - food and craft markets – and the unique ‘Science Street’ curated for the festival by NI Science Festival

·        Music is a core element of the festival, and the Slipways will be the location for the main stage, hosting a full day of artists. This will be supplemented by other stages at Hamilton Dock and the Soundyard

·        Due to major infrastructure programmes, the event footprint on the Co. Antrim side of the river is unfortunately limited, but Sailortown have been engaged to programme activity including within St Joseph’s.

·        Waterfront Neighbourhood Groups in and around the Lagan will be engaged to participate in the Photography Co-design Project via Maritime Belfast Trust.


3.1.2    Visit Belfast and BCC Corporate Communications have developed a regional and out of state campaign in as per the terms and conditions of TNI’s Letter of Offer.  The festival press launched on 24 July 2023 with all paid activity commencing 31 July until the 10th of September 2023.  The Campaign will consist of outdoor, digital, radio, social media across NI and ROI.


3.2       St Patrick’s Day 2024-2026 Tender


            The purpose of this part of the report is to provide Members with a brief update on the recent tender exercise. At the April Committee, the Tourism and Events Workplan was presented, and members approved the allocation of £300,000 to St Patricks Day 2024.  Furthermore, in June, members were provided with information on the tender exercise required for engaging the creative sector to deliver elements of future St. Patrick’s Celebrations. This tender has now been posted, with submissions expected at the end of August. The tender will be for a period of three years (1 + 1+ 1) to allow for product development. However, projects will be evaluated on an annual basis. Successful organisations would be expected to co-ordinate activity in support of each other.


3.3       One Young World


3.3.1    Members will be aware that Belfast is hosting the One Young World Global Summit in Belfast from 2-5 October 2023. A global summit with a mission to create a world where leaders are empowered to build a fair, sustainable future for all through identifying, promoting, and connecting the world’s most impactful young leaders. Previous host cities include Manchester, Dublin, London, Bogota, Ottawa, and Munich, with Belfast handing on the baton to Montreal for 2024. The Summit provides a global forum for young leaders to experience four days of speeches, panels, networking, and workshops, partnering with 190+ global businesses and educational institutions. It traditionally attracts delegates from 190+ countries, which sees some 2,000 + young delegates visit the host city for four nights, generating an estimated economic impact of £3.4m. As well as the young delegates, the summit attracts some 40+ global leaders, 100+ international journalists and 100’s of leading global companies. One Young World will give Belfast global exposure as a young, vibrant, welcoming city as well as providing a legacy for the city on top of an economic return.


3.3.2    The Summit programme for the four days is summarised below:


Monday 2nd October 2023


Arrival & Registration, Exhibition & Side Stage Open

ICC Belfast


Opening Ceremony

SSE Arena

Delegate Dinner

St George’s Market/ICC Belfast

Tuesday 3rd October 2023


Summit Sessions

ICC Belfast

Cathedral Quarter Takeover

Cathedral Quarter

Counsellor Dinner

City Hall

Wednesday 4th October 2023


Summit Sessions

ICC Belfast

Community Dine-Around

Various venues. The Mac, Queens University, and 2 Royal Avenue

Thursday 4th October 2023


Summit Sessions

ICC Belfast

Closing Ceremony

ICC Belfast

Delegate Dinner & After Party

Titanic Belfast / Titanic Quarter


3.3.3    Attendance opportunities for Council officials and members across the week are currently being considered, with invites and briefings being issued in coming weeks.


            BCC is currently seeking budget approval that corresponds to sponsorship opportunities for 20 delegates to attend the event, with a total value of £63,000. This budget is intended to be sourced from existing departmental funds and will be synchronized with the programme development of Belfast 2024. The intent I to ensure that the leadership qualities, knowledge, and ambassadorial roles of the delegates would be incorporated into the development and outreach aspects of the year’s programming.


            Additionally, the budget includes an initiative to establish a Youth Panel/Forum. This new platform would serve for engagement and culture alongside the advocacy board. The board would also offer a means for other sponsored delegates, supported by organisation such as the Education Authority, SEUPB, HLF, and Deloitte, to maintain an ongoing relationship with the city.


3.4       All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil Na h’Eireann


            The purpose of this report is to provide Members with further information on the status of Belfast’s bid to host the Fleadh Cheoil Na h’Eireann.


3.4.1    At CG&R in June, Members were briefed on the Lessons Learned from Belfast’s bid. The Belfast bid received very positive feedback from all sources. In June, members agreed to commit to supporting the Ards Branch in attendance at several crucial events. In addition, members were furnished with financial information on the bid, including costs associated with Council staff attending Mullingar.


3.4.2    A Belfast delegation will be attending the Fleadh Cheoil in Mullingar from Wednesday 9 - Saturday 12 August 2023, which includes representatives from Belfast City Council and Ards CCÉ. Representation from Belfast is expected at this event to show commitment to the bidding process and to garner votes. The Lord Mayor, Chief Executive and Director of Economic Development will attend the Ard Ollamh Gala Awards dinner on 9 August along with members of Ards CCÉ. The Chief Executive and 2 senior Council officers will also attend the Oversea’s Reception on 10 August with Ards CCÉ. Three Council officers will also attend the Comhaltas National Folk Orchestra event on the 11 August with Ards CCÉ, one of the main Comhaltas events of the week and a key opportunity for networking and lobbying. Lastly, Belfast City Council’s contracted Health & Safety advisor for the Events Team will also attend the event on 10 August for a one-day operational site visit.


3.5       Bid to host the European Football Championships in 2028 


            Officers are working closely with key bid stakeholders (Tourism NI, IFA, Central Bid Team, and UK Sport) in the interim period before the official bid announcement in the Autumn. It was anticipated that preliminary feedback from UEFA on the UK and Ireland bid would require some additional clarifications, but this was managed by the Central Bid Team


            A Host City briefing from the Central Bid Team will take place early August. Members will be furnished with regular updates on the bid as and when further information is available.


3.6       Antrim Coast & Belfast - Northern Ireland Official Bid - World Road Running Championships 2025 – 2026  


            Belfast City Council are being asked to support a bid by the organisers of the Antrim Half Marathon to host the World Road Running Championships in 2025/26. The event consists of several road races,


-       A mass participation ½ marathon to take place outside of Belfast

-       A 5km elite to take place in Belfast City Centre

-       A 1-mile elite race in Belfast City Centre


3.7       It is expected that the event would cost circa £1.5m to host. At this juncture the organisers have not received a commitment of support from Tourism Northern Ireland or another agency in support of the bid.


3.8       The specific support sought from Council at this stage is a course guarantee which in essence,


-       Irrevocably undertakes, guarantee, and shall ensure that: The competition course will be made available to the MF to organise and stage the WAS event and shall give access to the MF and its guests in order to conduct visits.

-       There is no restriction in respect to WORLD ATHLETICS and / or DENTSU on installing commercial adverting in the Competition Course.


3.9       Officers have reviewed the course guarantee and believe that given Councils power for road closures it would not have the relevant statutory powers to provide such a guarantee. Any event road closure is subject to consultation and cannot therefore not be guaranteed.


4.0       Instead, and in consultation with the bidding party, officers are suggesting providing a non-binding letter stating that if the bid is successful Belfast City Council will apply for the required road closures. But that application is subject to the standard process, including consultation, and cannot be guaranteed, and nor can any other form of support form Belfast City Council at this juncture.


4.1       Officers have been approached by officials from the Department of Communities to begin exploring a potential bid to host Oireachtas na Samhna festival in 2025/26. This is the longest running Arts festival in Ireland and is a celebration of the original Oireachtas – or congregation of authorities – which was first established in the 7th century.  This Irish speaking event welcomes people of all ages and descriptions from singers, dancers, poets, writers, storytellers, actors, impersonators, and musical composers.


4.2       The event which typically takes place during the first week of November would be expected to take place in several cultural venues across the city and bring as many as 50,000 visitors to the city.


4.3       At this juncture the resource requirements, or precise role for Belfast City Council is yet to be established, and when this is understood it will be brough back to this committee for consideration. At this stage officers are seeking permission to continue working with DfC to understand the requirements of any future bid and will revert to committee to seek approval from members prior to any bid being submitted that might commit Council to a role or resources.


4.0       Financial & Resource Implications


            All expenditure agreed in respect of the the Belfast Maritime Festival, St Patrick’s Celebrations, and respective Fleadh and UEFA bids are within existing departmental budgets and approvals.


            There is a request for approval of £63,000 to sponsor the attendance of delegates at OYW though existing departmental funds of programme development for Belfast 2024


            Equality or Good Relations Implications/Rural Needs Assessment




            During discussion, one Member raised concerns in relation to families from deprived areas accessing the events outlined in the programme.


            The Committee:


·        Noted the update on the Belfast Maritime Festival;

·        Noted the contents of the update on St Patrick’s Day, including the procurement approach for 2024-2026;

·        Noted the update on One Young World;

·        Noted and approved the support for One Young World Delegates under the 2024 programme development strand;

·        Noted the update on the bid for the Fleadh Cheoil;

·        Noted the update regarding the UK and Ireland bid to host the European Football Championships in 2028;

·        Noted the request for support for the World Road Running Championships 2025 – 2026 and the proposal for officers to provide a non-binding letter indicating a road closure application will be submitted if the bid is successful; and

·        Agreed that a report be submitted to a future Committee looking at the range of events and animation taking place in the city.


(Councillor Nic Bhranair in the Chair)


Supporting documents: