Belfast was awarded City of Music status by UNESCO, celebrating the city’s rich musical heritage.
Belfast is only the third city in the United Kingdom to become a city of music, with Liverpool having received it in 2016 and Glasgow in 2008.
Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody and Emmy-nominated composer Hannah Peel have been named official patron of Belfast Music.
Belfast Mayor Kate Nicholl said: “We are delighted and honored that Belfast has been awarded the prestigious title of Unesco City of Music and to have Gary Lightbody and Hannah Peel on board as official patrons.
“Belfast is proud of its musical culture. Creativity and resilience are in the very fabric of our city and our inhabitants. “
Over the next few years, the city will host a series of high profile music events and aim to build its infrastructure to further support music creators.
Lightbody said: “Music is woven into Belfast’s DNA. We have so many amazing bands and artists – and more every year. Over the past 25 years of relative peace I have watched the music scene grow and flourish and now explode to the max with fearless and boundless talent.
“I would put Belfast now, without bias, at the level of one of the great musical cities of Europe. The heart of Belfast beats fervently to the beat of the music.
“Being designated the Unesco City of Music honors the gigantic effort made by the entire music scene to help bring Belfast out of its darkest times.”
Peel said: “Belfast is a vibrant, vibrant and musically powerful city.
“Now is the time to celebrate those who make a difference in music, in culture.
“In addition to artists like Van Morrison, there is female punk, new wave, British nominated EDM, jazz and an abundance of classical music flowing through this city’s veins and yet in the whole world is unheard of, underground, eclipsed by its past, but still providing a boost and dynamism that must be praised for the future.
James Bridge, Director General and Secretary General of the UK National Commission for Unesco, said: “Throughout its history, the city has nurtured various stages and musical acts, from harpists to counterculture punks, through rock, ravers and exceptional traditional music.
“There are more and more emerging talents. Belfast is now part of the UK Unesco Creative Cities family and represents the British music scene to the world, along with Liverpool and Glasgow, the other two British Creative Cities of Music.