Spotlight is a series of Interviews with some of the people that make the Belfast Music scene tick. Our first piece is with Shizznigh Promotions’ Jonny McKee as we find out the story of how his DIY promotions venture came to exist.

What inspired you to first get involved in the local scene?

I went out to a lot of shows when I was about 16/17 and began running gigs around 7 or 8 years ago. I guess I started it because I loved going out to those, loved local music and seeing international acts basically. My first show was in the Rossetta with Coax and Stalemate, i think they were called. Then I didn’t do any proper Shizznigh shows until 3 years after that because that was a big failure. The next show after that was with the Pocket Billiards in Auntie Annie’s.

What does the local scene mean to you?

It’s quiet at the minute but it swings in roundabout. I think the scene is coming back round, it’s still there but for a while people haven’t been coming out as much and are going to the big international shows instead.

Favourite Venue?

Empire or Voodoo. The Empire is a lovely room and it’s great running shows there but voodoo feels more chilled out and relaxed. Both great venues.

Is there any any gigs over the past 7 or 8 years that stand out as a highlight for you?

Always enjoy booking The Rubberbandits. It’s always an easy show, it’s always busy and it’s always good craic because I can mix the bands in as well instead of just the joke stuff.

What’s your plans for the future?

I’d love to do a big festival with the local stuff and mix the international stuff in there as well. I’d also like to get bigger international acts while still incorporating the local acts in as support in the gigs. Would much rather that than booking touring bands that no one has heard of. Although it’s still great to give those touring bands a chance to come here because obviously our bands want the chance to go visit their countries as well.

Interview by Seán McD and Steven Donnelly

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