Preparations are underway for Derry to become the first UK City of Culture in 2013, an event that will see the city use its musical heritage to elevate its status as a tourist destination.According to City of Culture chief executive Shona McCarthy, 70 per cent of the programme will be focused on music and there will be a pledge to give every child in the city access to a musical instrument and tuition.
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Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann, Ireland's second biggest festival, will also take place in Northern Ireland for the first time.The UK City of Culture was spawned from the success of Liverpool being named European Capital of Culture in 2008 and the revival the city has enjoyed since. Derry-born Feargal Sharkey, CEO of UK Music, believes the city can follow Liverpool's example and use music to enhance its reputation with tourists. “Can a city sell itself through music?” said Sharkey, who was speaking at a fringe event as part of the Labour conference in Liverpool. “Liverpool and Derry were not at their best in the 1970s. It's remarkable how they have transformed themselves.”McCarthy added: “The opportunities for Derry are quite phenomenal. It is a city of music, in no small way due to Feargal and his colleagues, who really proved that music and creativity can carry you through the toughest of times."
“The legacy of much of that remains in Derry.”