Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland's arts in 2014 - Cuts and cancellation

Garth Brooks Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Garth Brooks insisted he would play all five Dublin shows, or none at all

2014 has been a bumper year for stories about the arts.

Some have brought sadness and anger, but there was also news to bring a smile to faces.

The year held massive disappointment for fans of the singer Garth Brooks who had queued for hours to snap up tickets for concerts by the global superstar.

But as time approached for the five gigs in Dublin, fans were horrified to hear that not all would be permitted and, after frantic negotiations, the singer said it was all or nothing.

In the end it was nothing, and the concerts were cancelled.

John Madden from north Belfast was unhappy as he tried to claim a refund: "We camped outside for two days and paid cash and 46 of us lost our coach fares. It's ridiculous to have the most famous music star in the world and not let him play. It's ridiculous."

Funding problems

On a wider scale, funding problems are forcing arts organisations to rethink their spending and some could face closure altogether.

The Northern Ireland Tourist Board is passing on cuts that will affect events like Culture Night, an evening of free performances held in Belfast.

Its director Adam Turkington said the small amount spent brings in a lot of money to the economy: "We estimate it is worth about £2.5m to the economy, and that is in jeopardy because of a £30,000 cut".

More proposed cuts from the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure could drastically reduce the amount spent on developing the film industry.

That would affect the Cinemagic film festival, the Nerve Centre in Londonderry, and many more bodies.

Pearse Moore, the Nerve Centre's chief executive said it may have to make between eight and 12 staff redundant.

Image caption Gerry Anderson died at the age of 69

In August, the BBC broadcaster Gerry Anderson passed away after a long illness.

Fans and friends mourned his loss and attended his funeral.

The broadcaster, Eamonn Holmes, said Northern Ireland has lost one of the "big beasts of broadcasting".

On the positive side, the visual arts got a huge boost in October with the launch of the international £20k Mac Art prize.

Image caption The Ulster Orchestra employs 63 musicians and 17 staff

More than 1,000 artists from 30 countries entered, and the prize went to a Northern Ireland-born video artist, Mairead McClean.

It has been a bad year for the Ulster Orchestra as it fights for survival, appealing for enough money to stay solvent.

A public campaign is lobbying Minister of Culture Carál Ní Chuilín. to increase their funding, once its business plan has been reworked.

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