Forestside School Song Challenge

February 24, 2016

Forestside is delighted to announce the winners of our School Song Challenge for Belfast Nashville Songwriters Festival in association with Panarts, supported by Arts & Business NI and Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

Bronagh Dempster.

Ciara McDermott

Over the last six weeks we have auditioned 15 young people of school age who have written and performed their own, original material hoping for a place on the Belfast Nashville line up from 2nd – 6th March. First, second and third place artists will secure a spot at the festival which is an fantastic opportunity to play alongside Grammy award winning songwriters and established artists from around the world.

Emma Stirling.

Hugo Boitel-Gill.

They will perform on Saturday 5th March supporting Jim Lauderdale who has written songs for Patty Loveless and The Dixie Chicks amongst others and is a Grammy recipient. Sonia Leigh and Bangor artist and friend of Forestside Sam Wickens will complete the line up. Tickets for this gig in the Titanic Concert Room of the Clayton Hotel cost £7 and are available from or the Belfast Welcome Centre. First, second and third place winners will also receive £300, £200 and £100 respectively and all of our entrants will get to perform in a Forestside concert to be held in April after the Belnash festival. In addition, we will give any of the  artists who would like their own professional recording and video from our Forestside ‘Under the Tree’ sessions on mall as well as monthly song writing unplugged sessions in the Centre.

Jessica Logan.

Lucy Bell.

The judges were so impressed by the standard of performance from our young songwriters that they have decided to award a joint fourth place category as well as our top three and these artists will also get to play the Belnash Festival.

Muirin McCreanor.

Rebekah Wilson.

First place was awarded to Johnson Tanaka Furusa, second place went to Michael James Warke and third was Lucy Robinson. Huge congratulations to these three extremely talented young people.

Johnson Tanaka Furusa.

Joint fourth place was awarded to Taylor Lally, George Robinson and Lucy Bell in recognition of outstanding performances that were just outside the top three.

Michael James Warke.

Centre Manager Lee Cutler said he was delighted at the number and quality of entrants for the School Song Challenge. Our 15 competitors achieved a remarkable standard and Forestside is committed to doing everything we can to help these young talents contribute to the bright future of songwriting in Northern Ireland.

Lucy Robinson.

Sarah Coulter.

Taylor Lally.

George Robinson.

Sasha Deegan.



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