Northern Ireland

Eyes of the world fall on Belfast ahead of MTV EMA's

Lady Gaga blowing bubbles
Image caption Lady Gaga is to perform at the Belfast MTV awards

It is only six days until the MTV awards hit Belfast, on Sunday crews began building a huge stage at City Hall for Snow Patrol's concert on 6 November.

While there is tangible excitement, there will also be disruption.

One lane of Donegall Square North will be closed to traffic for the stage construction, some shops in the city centre will close at 16:00 GMT on Sunday, and it has already cost the city council and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board close to £1m to get MTV here.

So will it be worth it and what will Belfast get out of it?

The Department of Enterprise said our local economy will get a £10m boost.

More than 90 local companies are involved in providing services for the awards, from limo drivers to security teams.

Anthony Farrell runs a nightclub and drinks company.

He is providing bar staff across the three venues and at one of the big after parties.

His hostesses will be serving the top celebrities champagne in the V.V.I.P area of the Odyssey arena which is being called ''the glamour pit''.

Mr Farrell said it was a great opportunity: "It's pretty exciting, it's a big gig for ourselves. It puts us up there with the big guys and it means we will have the experience to project manage and provide services at events in other countries.

"It's a really big deal."

Long-term gains

Some apartments in the Obel, which overlooks the Odyssey Arena, have been rented out for almost £1,000 a night.

Every free flat in the Titanic Quarters ARC building has been booked and over 8,000 hotel rooms in Belfast and beyond are reserved.

Janice Gault from the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation said: "I've been talking to hoteliers in the past few days, they're ready, they're looking forward to hearing the champagne corks popping and lots of celebrities being photographed on their premises.

"But it's also about the long-term benefit - this event will put Belfast on the international map and really raise interest in the city as a destination."

Twenty thousand people from all over the world are expected to travel to the gig and of course they will be spending money when they get here.

However, Robert Fitzpatrick from the Odyssey Trusts believes it is what they tell people when they get home that is really important.

"This is a game changer, this puts us into a level we have never been in before," he said.


"We had the Tall Ships, we've had the Special Olympics, we've had presidents and prime ministers - this blows all of that out of the water.

"It's something that the city will reap benefit from for many years to come and with Belfast being seen in 600m homes across the world, its the best showcase we could hope for."

So big expectations for raising the city's profile and for the economy, but lets not forget the music.

On Sunday night Magherafelt band General Fiasco kicked off Belfast music week - 170 gigs across the city in the run up to the main event.

So what does MTV coming here mean to local artists?

General Fiasco's drummer Stephen Leacock said: "I think it can only be a good thing for putting the spotlight on local smaller artists and also hopefully bring a lot of tourists into Northern Ireland and to help the local economy as well.

"It's a fantastic jam-packed week, there's a real buzz.

"There's just so much going on you couldn't possibly even get to half of it."

Natasha Sayee will have exclusive reports on the build-up to the MTV Europe Music Awards all this week on BBC Newsline at 1830.

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