WE do confess that our idea of pop music ended when that New Romantic phase in the 80s replaced the energy of punk – thus when the MTV Video Music Awards came to Belfast last year we noted that some lady who was Ga Ga arrived with a teen pre-pubescent young soul called Bieber.
Who would have thunk it then that Ms Ga Ga, young Mr Justin and Snooze Patrol could have generated £22m for Belfast. Turns out that the rocking in Belfast last November might just have been the resounding clatter of cash registers as hoteliers giggled with glee and speciality caterers arrived with all the blue MM’s removed from the platter. (This is a music related ‘rider’ joke associated with the demands of pop stars, or so we are assured by one of the more hip and trendy members of our staff!)
It is quite remarkable that the Belfast City Council can generate this type of figure and have it carried in the media with such delight – we reckon the true benefit from the MTV Video Music Awards may be much higher.
Cynical souls such as us are used to knocking incompetent spending and lack of decision-making associated with local politicians that we have had to take a step back and actually say ‘well done’ to this rare piece of good marketing. And at £840,000 it is cheap at the proverbial price. Added to that the Titanic centenary, the golf marketing and Game of Groans – sorry Thrones – it does seem that if nothing else Norn Iron is getting a wee bit more positive coverage with all the associated tourism benefits.
How much of that £22m will translate into ongoing success remains to be seen, but we do, sincerely hope that should another massive event such as the MTV Video Music Awards come to town two things will be put right: firstly the fawning local media will not go into hyperbole mode for global stars while ignoring local talent the rest of the year; and secondly that our antiquated licensing laws won’t tell the visiting celebs that the only parties we have here are political parties.