Busy week at t’ mill!

Ben Kelly - 'The Voice' star has been promoting Derry at a series of events in recent days.
Ben Kelly - 'The Voice' star has been promoting Derry at a series of events in recent days.

City of Culture media director Garbhan Downey countinues his 2013 countdown....

The DSD set the ball rolling on Monday, when Minister Nelson McCausland confirmed he would fund a 4,600-capacity pavilion at Ebrington.

The new ‘Vital Venue’ is several times the size of any indoor facility in the city – and it gives us a year to prove if the northwest could sustain a permanent £30m-£40m building.

International event promoters and convention organisers demand venues of this capacity – so, with interest in the city rising all the time, it’s a good time to assess our capacity.

The DSD cash injection is the latest in a series of public and private investment sourced directly, or indirectly, because of City of Culture. The running tally is now comfortably in the tens of millions – and that’s before we factor in next year’s predicted tourism rise, the value of the media exposure and, of course, the Fleadh.

On Tuesday evening, more than a hundred corporate leaders, politicians and cultural champions took part in a special Derry reception, organised by the NIO at the House of Lords.

The guests, who included senior Westminster figures and our First and Deputy First Ministers, heard David Gavaghan of the Titanic Project declare that “LegenDerry” would “soon be recognised as one of the world’s great cultural capitals”.

Then yesterday, midsummer’s day, we had a host of top musicians and celebrities – and 10,000 fans – at Ebrington for the Peace One Day concert.

As we went to press, the national and international media were gathering in the city to report on the occasion, which was, of course, the first event of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad,

Yes, a busy week all round – but a very productive one. Just like buses – you wait ages for a major event to come along, and three turn up in a row. And it’s still more than six months to go before our year kicks off proper!