Tennent’s Vital | Calm before the Storm

Tennent’s Vital | Calm before the Storm

Maeve O’Reilly • Photography: Tremaine Gregg

The site visit today marked the final countdown to the festival of the summer. The excitement and hustle of this year’s impending Tennent’s Vital is now in the air. Tea, coffee and exclusive Tennent’s cupcakes laid out perfectly on a table in which the press gathered around, chatting and taking in the views at the site scenery today.

Phones and dictaphones were out! Nobody could resist taking a snapchat or two of the setup. Despite the dull skies, clouds and light rain, everyone’s spirits were high, as Karen Wallace (Future Image) gathered everyone’s attention to begin the site tour, clipboard in hand.


The amount of work that goes into organising such a festival is colossal. Event co-ordinator, Paul Scott informed us of the vast number of security at this year’s Tennent’s, with a team of 600 security personnel, as well as site and stage crew. There are also several hundred bar and hospitality staff to cope with thirsty music lovers. The Tennent’s bar is the equivalent of 23 bus lengths of counter space! At a whopping 60m x 40m, Tennent’s Vital is the biggest festival stage in Northern Ireland. This year’s line up of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers along with the sold out Avicii playing his last gig here, will have around 40,000 people for each event. With over 10,000 people from outside of the UK. This highlights the hype and popularity of the festival, which radiates and grows year on year. Paul stated that Tennent’s vital will heighten “Economic Activity in the Belfast Area”.

Information regarding the festival, safety and travel were given from Victoria Brown (Brand Manager Tennent’s NI), Bobby Singleton (PSNI), Matt Garrett (Chair of the People and Communities Committee in Belfast City Council) and Ursula Henderson (Translink).

_--12Paul Scott (Event Co-ordinator) • Victoria Brown (Tennent’s Brand Manager) • Ursula Henderson (Translink) • Bobby Singleton (PSNI)

Victoria Brown, Tennent’s Brand Manager, said:

“It’s all shaping up to be the best ever Tennent’s Vital and the excitement is already building up as the final touches are put in place to the incredible festival site at Boucher Road Playing Fields this week. We have two mammoth days of fantastic live music ahead and we’re getting ready to welcome tens of thousands of music-lovers to the event that we know will define the Summer of 2016. We’re ecstatic to have global superstars The Red Hot Chili Peppers headline on Thursday, and, on Friday, to also host Avicii’s penultimate gig before he retires from touring! Together with our partners MCD, we’re looking forward to welcoming everyone to two magic days of Tennent’s Vital.”

Matt Garrett, Chair of the People and Communities Committee in Belfast City Council, said:

“Ensuring the health and safety of all the concert goers is of primary importance to Belfast City Council. Council officers have worked with the concert organisers, PSNI and emergency services to put measures in place to manage health and safety, noise, litter, on-street drinking and to ensure the concert is enjoyable and safe for both those attending, and local residents.”


Superintendent Bobby Singleton said:

“Our message to everyone attending the concert this year is essentially the same as last year; enjoy the music, have a good time, but most importantly, stay safe.”

 “We are also encouraging those who are planning on attending the concerts to plan their journey in advance. There is designated car parking allocated at the King’s Hall Complex, with designated coach parking at the ‘Fruit Market’ Boucher Road. For those using taxis, the taxi pick-up point after each event will be on Apollo Road.

“If you are going to drink, please do so responsibly and show respect to local residents, businesses and their property on the way to and from the events. Enjoy the concert look out for each other, and follow the directions of the event security staff and police who are there to keep you safe.”

Translink’s Ursula Henderson said:

“With Balmoral Train Station situated close to Boucher Road Playing Fields, we will operate late night NI Railways services from Balmoral in both directions travelling as far as Portadown and Coleraine. Special festival coaches will run from locations right across Northern Ireland as far away as Derry~Londonderry, Omagh and Newry. There will also be an enhanced Metro bus service travelling between Belfast City Centre (Donegall Square East) and Boucher Crescent on each concert day.”

_--11Nikki Faulkner (Future Image) • Thady Graham (Future Image)

Led by Paul Scott and James Rollins (MCD), we were taken to the VIP area where some of the biggest names in music will be relaxing in what seemed something of a tranquil holiday village. As we were led off far to the left hand side of the stage we entered the area, a square village with a grass area in the middle complete with a wooden tables and chairs, decorated with plants and around it quaint mobile homes styled portacabins, sitting neatly.


We got a sneak peak into the dressing room of the Avicii. Black leather furniture, a white table and a very homey plant- simple yet elegant, although if by request of the Avicii himself – who knows! Humanising stars/ Rock stars; their special treatment, Paul Scott joked “only people with guitars” which then led on to him telling the group about his own attempts at guitar playing.


Then led onto the stage, slipping past workmen, and ducking under amps and wires, cautiously we were led to the front, and what a treat. A stupendous view from the stage; looking out amongst what in a few days will be a euphoric sea of ecstatic and excited fans.


We caught up with Pete Snodden (Cool FM), who expressed his disappointment for not being able to make the Red Hot Chilli peppers on Thursday but was very much looking forward to Avicii’s sold out show on Friday. He was sure it would “bring Boucher Road to a standstill”.

Maeve (CultureHUB) • Pete Snodden (Cool FM)

We certainly left the playing fields happy, cupcakes in hand …

For further information visit tennentsvital.com



GATES 16.00 GATES 16.00


*All times are subject to change

Further information

Translink travel information

Special concert trains

  • Services will run subject to demand.
  • An express rail shuttle service between Balmoral and Great Victoria Street Station will run from 10.45pm until 11.45pm on both nights (subject to demand).
  • Train shuttle services will also operate to –
  • Bangor (subject to demand) stopping at Holywood and Bangor West;
  • Carrickfergus (subject to demand) stopping at Whiteabbey, Jordanstown, Greenisland
  • Coleraine (12 midnight only from GVS) stopping at: Ballymena and Ballymoney.
  • Antrim (12 midnight only from GVS) stopping at Mossley West.
  • Lisburn (subject to demand) stopping at Finaghy, Dunmurry, Derriaghy, Lambeg and Hilden.
  • Lurgan and Portadown stopping at Moira (subject to demand)
  • Rail Tickets can be purchased online. Online Sales will close at:
  • 2pm on  Monday 22nd August for Red Hot Chili Peppers (August 25)
  • 2pm on Tuesday 23rd August for Avicii (August 26)
  • NI Railways concert tickets and boarding cards can be purchased from the following stations: Portadown, Lurgan, Lisburn, Great Victoria Street, Belfast Central, Carrickfergus, Coleraine and Bangor.
  • Tickets and boarding cards for the special late night services will also be available from stations on the day of each concert (subject to availability).
  • Only customers holding late night concert train tickets and a valid boarding card will be permitted to travel on additional special services after 10.45pm.
  • Tickets are non-refundable and do not guarantee a seat.
  • Special concert tickets are not available from train conductors and will be sold on a first come first served basis and are limited.

**Special concert coaches

  • Services will run subject to demand.
  • Special coach service departure times are available at translink
  • Online sales will close at 11am on the day of each concert – subject to
  • Special return Ulsterbus coaches will depart from the former B&Q site after the concerts at approximately 11pm.
  • Special Coach Tickets are not available to buy in person from Ulsterbus Stations or from the coach driver.



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