Old Courthouse reopens as a live music venue powered by Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody

A former Co Down bank and courthouse has reopened as Northern Ireland’s newest live music venue.

The Victorian magistrate’s court on the Bangor Coast was decommissioned in 2013, when the campaign began turning it into an art venue.

Bangor’s newest freedom advocate, Gary Lightbody, from the band Snow Patrol, was one of the supporters of the project – although community groups eventually made it a reality.


Snow Patrol performing at Bangor Marina earlier this year to celebrate frontman Gary Lightbody being awarded Freedom of the Ards and North Down (PA) Region

Bangor Shared Space started the campaign to put it to use in the community, before Open House took over, attracting crowd and government funding to make the dream come true.

Local band The Florentinas will be the first to pitch The Court House, along with Lemonade Shoelace, another local band.

Future artists to perform there include Dana Masters, Camille O’Sullivan and Jesca Hoop.

Open House director Kieran Gilmore said the response from residents and local businesses to the crowdfunding call was “phenomenal”.

“Along with a charity fundraising ball organized by Barclays Bank, who also sponsored the match £15,000, that campaign raised over £70,000, resulting in a final funding of 1.7. million pounds from a number of sources,” he said.

Extensive work has been done on the building, including the removal of the walls and interior remodeling.

Nice to see the old court put back into use through the Community Transfer of Property processJustice Minister Naomi Long

Original features, like the sash window and the shell, have been restored.

Installations include sound, light and audio/visual systems, kitchens and bars, elevators, toilets and automatic doors.

Video of the day

Mr Gilmore described the “wonderful discoveries” during the renovation, including the original tiled floor – discovered in the courtroom in the bank’s lobby – which would be the main performance area.

Two bars and a slate fireplace from the neighboring Royal and Windsor Hotels, both about to be demolished, have been saved and reused.

The venue will also host a regular classic film club, literary and verbal events, comedy, theater and talk shows, as well as food and drink events.

Mr. Gilmore added: “It took us seven long years and a lot of challenges to get to this stage.

“We would like to thank each and every person who contributed to making this project a reality and bringing The Court House to life.”

The equivalent of 15 full-time jobs will be created when the site is at full capacity.

Contributions have also come from the Garfield Weston Foundation, NI Arts Council, Ards and North Down Borough Council, Foyle Foundation, Swire Charitable Foundation, Ulster Architecture Foundation, Esme Mitchell Trust and Ulster Garden Village.

Dr Paul Mullan, director of Northern Ireland at the National Lottery Heritage Foundation, said repairs carried out by conservation work had “successfully preserved this important heritage, meaning the building is no longer damaged. threatens and creates a much needed cultural site for locals and visitors from further afield”.

Minister of Justice Naomi Long also welcomed the project.

“It was great to see the old courthouse brought back to life through the Community Transfer of Property process,” she said.

“I am sure it will become an iconic art venue, making a significant contribution to the city of Bangor.”

The site was built in 1866 as a branch of the then Belfast Banking Company before becoming a magistrate’s court in 1952.

Key sponsors of the renovation include the National Lottery Heritage Foundation and the Community Board.

https://www.independent.ie/entertainment/music/former-court-reopens-as-live-music-venue-backed-by-snow-patrols-gary-lightbody-42075330.html Old Courthouse reopens as a live music venue powered by Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody

Fry Electronics Team

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