The general perception of Northern Ireland has taken quite a battering over the years, as have it´s people.
The media bias, as with other places which have experienced upheaval, focuses upon division rather than the consolidation and reconstruction. It is in part the nature of the news, and perhaps also the nature of reporters who seek to cut their teeth on ´tough´ stories.. Few journalists actually return when the fighting stops to see what happens next, and so the public are left with an impression which can be warped and wholly unfair.
Derry in the North of Ireland is one such place – a haven of good energy and positive thought which thoroughly deserves the attention, (as well as the money), of the 2013 ´City of Culture´ commission. There is so much is going on musically and culturally that makes the city worth a visit. When coupled with the warmth of it´s people and affordable flights from from the U.K., it is astonishing that more people have yet to discover the place. It is perhaps the most exciting city I´ve had the pleasure to work in, with the most compelling parties anywhere in the world and the richest of photographic possibilities.
The first time I went to Derry it was to cover the Celtronic Festival in 2004. Not knowing the city or how to find the venue, after dropping my bags at the hotel I asked a man on the street for directions to Sandinos bar. More than just pointing out a direction, the guy actually walked me the 800 or so meters to the place, leaving me staggered at his kindness at the door. The tone perfectly set for this first trip, over the next few years i was drawn back time and time again. It´s a place I will always visit.
You can read more about Derry and my time there on Burn Magazine by clicking the photograph above and skimming over the comments. For now though – CONGRATULATIONS to all the Derry promoters, musicians and gig-goers who have worked so hard to pick the city up over the past 10 years..