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United Airlines Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival


“The festival has helped me build up my profile as a songwriter over the years. To play alongside great artists such as Nanci Griffith are opportunities that rarely come round in a lifetime. If I’m ever discussing my portfolio now, for working with bands or working with labels I always mention that I have been selected to play in the Belfast Nashville. A fantastic festival and a necessary part of helping promote our talent to audiences from and beyond these shores” 


Peter McVeigh, Belfast songwriter



Photo: Tom Baxter Gareth Dunlop & Brian Kennedy. Photo Nora Venney


“One of the highlights promises to be the Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival, which is one of the best showcases for established and emerging talent in Northern Ireland”

Matthew McCreary, Belfast Telegraph Editorial


“it blew me away - the crowd were energised, the artists were exceptional. Thanks to you for delivering yet again”

Barry Jackson, Manager United Airlines


“I write this from Northern Ireland, the morning after our second MCR at the Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival. I can’t even begin to tell you dear friends how special it was. Though the word, worn out from overuse, falls short. So let’s also say awe inspiring, tear-jerking, heart-lifting, world-embracing”


Craig Havighurst, Music City Roots, Nashville


“Success in the music industry relies on maintaining relationships. On an average day at Belnash local musicians get to spend time with writers, club owners, press, A&R staff and promoters. It's a great platform to learn, forge relationships and help your music career grow”


Photo: Cara Dillon, Jim Lauderdale, Foy Vance at Belnash 2015


Local artist, Simon Murphy


“Collectively, the Belfast Nashville Festival is a gathering of singer songwriters with many different thoughts and experiences, which are then shared and told. Within this community, doors and opportunities are given and opened and it's so encouraging” 

Katharine Phillipa Holland Local songwriter


“You guys seriously changed my life with that amazing opportunity. You know how much I love Belfast and will rave about it to everyone!!!”

Maddie Slate, Nashville



“I cannot tell you how much I appreciate all of your kind words, and your support. Thank you so much for a fantastic week. I can’t wait to come back to Ireland to see you all again” Jarrod Dickenson, Texas USA


Photo:Festival Director Colin Magee with Triona Carville and American Consul General Gregory Burton


“Every element of the festival was first-rate. The school event, that was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. I've been talking about it non-stop”

Maura Kennedy, Songwriter New York


“I want to say a massive thank-you for allowing me to perform at the festival & going out of your way to give me such an amazing opportunity! I am still reeling from the Nanci Griffith experience!! Unbelievable! Congratulations on running such a wonderful event”

Local Artist, Alana Henderson


“Every year I find this festival inspirational and it was a great privilege to participate. I have just finished writing some new songs - the festival always has that effect on me and it is so lovely to have the art of song writing so celebrated here in Belfast. Thank you and long may it continue” 


Ursula Burns, Belfast Songwriter


Photo: Jason Blume (USA)


“I have just had the most amazing weekend at The Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival. Been grinning ear to ear since the first event on Friday morning with Mary Wilson, a founder member of The Supremes! Lots of amazing workshops and gigs followed over the weekend, 7 days still left! Need some sleep!!”

Graham Bingham Belfast Songwriter

“ ‘Will The Circle be Unbroken’ with Chip Taylor, Donovan, Gareth Dunlop, Jim Lauderdale & more at Music City Roots Show - well done Belfast Nashville Festival!”

Ralph McLean BBC Radio Ulster


“A big thanks to you and all your very special team for such a dedicated and enthusiastic approach to nurturing the great talent and art that exists here. Lovely atmosphere throughout the festival”


Brigid O Neill, Local Artist


“Performing at BelNash was the first time I had ever played my own songs to a real audience, and so it was a really exciting opportunity. I have learnt so much from this experience, and I can't wait to build on that and continue pursuing my passion for writing and performing. The atmosphere at the festival was really supportive and encouraging, and I will definitely never forget it. I really can't thank you enough for all the organisation and work that has gone into the festival, and I am so glad I got to be a part of it!


Local Young Artist Karis Fitch



Photo: Maura Kennedy & Nanci Griffith. Photo by Nora Venney


“I met Gareth Dunlop as a result of the Belfast/Nashville Songwriters Festival, so we have a long history with the Festival. Panarts do an amazing job!”

Dianna Maher, Nashville Publisher


“It was fantastic to see what an impact the festival has on the local community; you do a fantastic job. It was great to see fresh up and coming talent and established artists play together”

Natasha Smith, Project Manager Maverick Magazine


“I had an incredible time this year at the Belnash Festival. Each year is completely different and rewarding in different ways. It was an honour to be on stage with such great talent- once more, a very humbling experience” 


Belfast Songwriter Morgan MacIntyre (now ‘Saint Sister’)


“Thank you so much for having me play at BelNash. It was a dream come true and I met some amazing writers and performers. Playing at Benash has led to an intro with a Dublin based DJ who is hoping to interview me in the next while and also play my music...I also sold some CDs!”


Claire Watts, Songwriter


Showcasing in Nashville


“It was a massive opportunity to get to showcase my music to the top people in the music industry”


Triona Carville, Local Songwriter

“Songwriters from Belfast dazzled Nashville audiences on three successive nights with a diverse array of talents. We are thankful the Panarts Organization continues to strengthen the link between our two cities by organizing these amazing songwriter showcases” 

Heather Cochran Cunningham, Executive Director, Sister Cities Nashville

“As a performer, some moments stand out amongst the others, gems that remain untarnished in any musicians career. Those moments that will never be repeated, don't need to be bettered, and will last a lifetime. The Belfast Nashville festival delivered this with every gig. The value of this experience as a writer is immeasurable”


Stephen Macartney, Local songwriter


“Having the opportunity to travel to Nashville as one of the four songwriters chosen by Panarts was a dream come true. Not only did I get to visit a city steeped in music history but I was afforded the opportunity to meet top people in the music industry and showcase my music to new audiences. As a songwriter the advice and insight I gained throughout this experience was invaluable. Getting to meet publishers, key players in the business and hit songwriters was amazing and so encouraging for any aspiring songwriter” 

Allie Bradley, Belfast songwriter


“I just wanted to say a huge thank you again for the incredible opportunity that you both afforded me in getting to travel to Nashville. I know I speak for the rest of the guys as well when I say that it's opportunities like this that help to keep the dream alive for us all and give us that confidence boost we so desperately need at times”


Local Artist Warren Attwell


“It has also stimulated my creativity, provided insight in how to market myself and my work, and given me greater confidence in all that I do in my music career”

Mark Graham, local Songwriter

Annual Panarts Song Writing Convention


“Really impressed with the convention this year and having my songs critiqued by 2 top songwriters was a scary privilege. I'm sure I've said it before - more of this kind of thing”


David McCann Belfast Songwriter


“The Panarts Songwriters Convention is a fantastic opportunity for songwriters in Northern Ireland to gain credible and valuable information from established and experienced music industry professionals. The panel discussion will give songwriters an insight into what financial support exisits to assist them as they develop their musical careers such as the Arts Council’s Artist Career Enhancement Scheme (ACES) funding programme”


Maria McAlister Arts Council of Northern Ireland


“And also really, really enjoyed the diverse workshops that have inspired us with new song writing tips! The festival has such a special, warm, friendly vibe and incredible breadth and diversity”


Kate Ellis England


“Epic Saturday at BelNash! Managed four workshops - Jason Blume's Melody masterclass was SO good; can't wait to get home and revisit all my 'finished' songs. The Kennedys' workshop was also really good. Had my song critiqued by Kim Richey which was also very rewarding and then off to the evening gig starring four songwriters with 39 No 1 hits between them!”


Franks Blades Bristol England


“Just a quick, heartfelt thank-you to everyone involved in this year’s Songwriting Convention. The organisers and presenters are all to be congratulated on delivering such high class, professional industry insight in the heart of Belfast, all the way from Nashville and Donovan as well, brilliant”


Trevor Conway, Local Songwriter

“The convention is a unique platform from which to be able to connect with songwriters and renowned musicians from a wide variety of backgrounds. Thanks so much!”

Local Songwriter Michelle Owens


“The Convention this year was particularly good and has started a chain of discussions around how to get songs to markets, how to improve the product and support local songwriters”


Local Songwriter Alan Sheeran


Schools Programmes


“The children gained enormously from the programme, in terms of building self confidence and self esteem. Finding out about other cultures, the children grew in self knowledge which was a very important part of the project”

Dinah McManus Principal, Holy family Primary School Belfast


“This was an excellent opportunity for the children to use skills of research to find out about themselves & their city, it also gave them the opportunity to develop their creative skills”

Anne Thompson Principal, Currie Primary School Belfast


“Nanci Griffith began this tour at the annual Belfast Nashville Songwriter’s Festival, joining more than 100 artists in 35 concerts over four days. She also works each year at the festival with Protestant and Catholic schoolchildren in workshops she’s been involved with for seven years. “I was a schoolteacher, so they trusted me,” she said, referring to her short-lived career as a teacher in the mid-1970s in Austin before taking the leap full time into music”

New York Times Article Feb 2012 about Nanci Griffith’s work in the Panarts Schools Outreach Programme



“Congratulations on another excellent Festival! An amazing line-up - getting John Oates was a master stroke”


John Darcy, Belfast


“Harry and I the most wonderful 4 days of music, creativity and craic. We were so lucky as we cruised from one spellbinding moment to another well into I the night. We are now back in Suffolk on the East coast of England but still enjoying the warm glow from the warmth and music of the festival'


Gill Dove, Suffolk England




“Dear Panarts, My brother (Jack) and I came to the Belfast Nashville songwriters convention last year. We are huge Foy Vance fans and thought it was worth flying from London to see him.

  However, when we arrived we were blown away by the amazing talent of your artists and had a wonderful time.My brother is a performer and writes his own songs so he attended the Jason Blume songwriting seminars. I feel the convention had a profound effect on his music. Since he's written some beautiful songs and organised a few "in the round" gigs. We will be coming again this year. Keep doing what you're doing, it's marvellous”



  Rachel Lewis London England