Home County Books Belfast Musicians Under City of Music Banner

  • By Anja Kniffen


Home County Books Belfast Musicians Under City of Music Banner

Home County Books Belfast Musicians Under City of Music Banner

Home County and the London Music Office have teamed up to bring two musicians from Belfast, Northern Ireland — another UNESCO City of Music — to the 48th edition of the Home County Music & Art Festival.

“We are thrilled to partner with the London Music Office on this initiative,” says Darin J. Addison, Artistic Director for the Festival. “This will be the first time Home County has featured non- Canadian performers in over 15 years.”

The musicians are Belfast-based singer-songwriters Niall McDowell and Ciara O’Neill. Niall will perform a concert set on the Saturday Mainstage at 7:00p.m. and Ciara will be on the Sunday Mainstage at 6:20 p.m. Both musicians will also collaborate with other festival performers on afternoon workshop stages (full schedule to be announced).

The idea for this venture began in December 2022 as the London Music Office and Home County explored ways to embrace London's newfound status as Canada’s first UNESCO City of Music (London received the UNESCO City of Music Designation in November 2021).

“Home County has been a summer staple in London since 1974. As a UNESCO City of Music, we are thrilled to extend this fantastic tradition to welcome artists from Belfast,” says Cory Crossman, Music Industry Development Officer (Tourism London) and UNESCO City of Music Focal Point. “Partners like Home County enable international collaboration and exchanges to take place. We are thrilled to be working with Belfast City of Music and Home County to showcase Canada’s first and only UNESCO City of Music.”

Not only will the Belfast artists be performing in London, they will also participate in co-writing sessions with Home County performers, and will be supported by Fanshawe College Producers and Engineers.

“Niall and Ciara are two absolutely wonderful artists and very kind people,” says Nikki MacRae, Culture Development Officer (Music Lead) and Crossman’s counterpart for the City of Belfast. “I am so delighted that you chose them for this opportunity, they deserve it so much and I am confident that they will be both a joy to host and to witness performing live.”

For more information on the Home County Music & Art Festival, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter and Instagram, or visit

About Home County

The Home County Music & Art Festival began in 1974 as the Home County Folk Festival. Home County features more than 35 musical acts on six stages, over 90 juried Canadian craft artisans, over 25 food vendors serving a variety of international cuisines, a local craft beer garden and a community/open stage. Home County continues to be accessible to all, as entrance to the Festival is Admission-By-Donation.

About UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN)

The UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) strives to promote cooperation with and among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for sustainable urban development. The cities within the Music network, including London, commit to developing both local and international opportunities for their music community.

About London, City of Music

London has deep roots in the creative field of music and continues working towards improving and growing the sector. London is Canada’s only UNESCO City of Music and is a recognized hub for music education, production and engineering. As a leading city in music events, London’s music community continues to elevate local while attracting national and international events and performers. UNESCO City of Music designation will develop London into a more robust, culturally diverse and enriched music community. Learn more about London’s UNESCO City of Music Action Plan at

About Belfast, City of Music

Belfast is only the third city in the UK and the first on the island of Ireland to become a UNESCO City of Music. Over the next few years, Belfast – as a holder of the title – will deliver a series of high profile music events, aim to build its infrastructure to further support music creators, and will see music woven into public spaces and places to ensure the power and benefits of music can be felt by all who live, work in or visit the city.

Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Ryan Murphy said: “Belfast City Council is delighted to take part in this exciting exchange, which will see two of our talented folk artists - Ciara O’Neill and Niall McDowell - collaborate with the London music community as part of Canada’s Home County Music & Art Festival.

“Like the City of London, Ontario, Belfast joined the UNESCO Network in 2021, when we became the first UNESCO Cities of Music in Canada and Ireland respectively.

“One of our key strategic goals as a council is to showcase our music and incredible artists across the UNESCO network and beyond, so this is a great opportunity to build upon what our cities have in common and promote our homegrown talent in a fellow City of Music.

“Ciara has recently been nominated for Best Emerging Artist at the 2022 RTE Radio 1 Folk Awards and Niall just completed a year on the Scratch My Progress programme, so there’s no better time for them to have been selected by Home County to take part in their festival. I wish them both the best of luck!”



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