Massive news as local NI festival ‘Spectrum’ returns for it’s fifth year with a banging line up including A Plastic Rose, Brand New Friend and Jealous Of The Birds.

News broke on tonight’s Across The Line show on BBC Radio Ulster and will be sure to send shockwaves across the local scene with the headline that APR will be returning to the stage. Full poster and line up below.

The line up also includes such acts as Scenery, Search Party and Hello Casanova in a varied bill that will showcase some of NI’s finest talent.

We got a chat with Spectrum Festival and Music Nation NI founder Chris Lowry to discuss the history of the festival and the plans for this years festivities.
My passion for music was ignited at university, sitting, drunkenly singing along to mates, playing on their guitar. Travis was the first band I really got into. A Man Who was an anthem to my uni years in the later 90s. From there my love for music took over and I went to my first concert, David Gray in Manchester. A great concert to start with in hindsight, because not only did I get to see David Gray in his prime, I also was lucky enough to see Rodrigo and Gabriela as support that night. (Look them up if you don’t know who they are) What an introduction to gigs. Ever since then I’ve been an avid gig goer.

I got into local music late in life and only came to know of local bands and artists through a friend. I tried to involve myself in the industry by starting a blog and 5 years ago Music Nation NI was born. Unknown to me there were others already doing what I set out to do. I would learn this in the time to come.

One of the first I came across was Chordblossom and I decided to get in touch. Daveit was running things at this point. I had a brief discussion and from then I decided to run my blog as a inclusive blog, an ‘all things Music NI’ including tweeting and retweeting from other local blogs trying to incorporate not only my narrow music tastes but everyone’s.

I now have a great relationship with most blogs and promoters and think more collaboration cant hurt the local music industry. My aim is to promote all things music NI and continue to support all projects that anyone has to promote in NI.

In 2012/2013 I decided to start Spectrum Festival. It was after being at Social Sounds with said friend I mentioned earlier, Ryan McMullan introduced me to Micheal Douglas, my Spectrum partner in crime and designer. It was a bold statement of intent and has now been going every year since. It was very tough at the start. The name ‘Spectrum’ showed the idea of gigs as an indoor festival of many genres. Venues weren’t helpful at all to a newcomer and it seemed very hard to start in this industry. It seemed I’d bitten off more than I could chew.

I persevered however and first Spectrum ran in April 2013 at the Black Box. What a night it turned out to be as our first gig. From then we have never looked back.

We have had over 30 bands / artists, over 4 years, over four different venues. Some of my personal highlights have included A Plastic Rose (2014), Mojo Fury 2014/16) and Emerald Armada (2015).

Today we plan our fifth ‘Spectrum’. This year the bands we picked will be all headliners in my opinion and the rest of the line-up will be a collaboration of picks from local blogs and promoters. We hope this eclectic mix will appeal across the board and we hope you can join us.

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