Spectacular backdrop for legend’s castle gigs

Picture Issued on Behalf of Derry City Council. No Fee for Reproduction''International music legend Van Morrison whose two nights, (Wednesday the 2nd and thursday the 3rd of May) in the Millennium Forum raised the curtain on the 11th City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival which is continuing at venues across the City over the Bank Holiday weekend until the 7th of May. Details of this weekend's events are available at www.cityofderryjazzfestival.com. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 2.5.12
Picture Issued on Behalf of Derry City Council. No Fee for Reproduction''International music legend Van Morrison whose two nights, (Wednesday the 2nd and thursday the 3rd of May) in the Millennium Forum raised the curtain on the 11th City of Derry Jazz and Big Band Festival which is continuing at venues across the City over the Bank Holiday weekend until the 7th of May. Details of this weekend's events are available at www.cityofderryjazzfestival.com. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com. 2.5.12

THE people behind Van Morrison’s special shows at Dunluce Castle next Friday and Saturday night, have admitted they face a “mammoth” task behind the scenes to ensure all runs smoothly ahead of the shows.

Morrison will bring his musical magic to the stunning 700-year-old castle on June 7 and 8.

Around 1,000 tickets have been released for the intimate gig, with Van ‘The Man’ Morrison performing on a stage perched on cliffs more than 200ft above the north Atlantic ocean.

Dunluce Castle has been the scene of countless bloody battles and sieges throughout its colourful history, but it will be the first time its walls have reverberated with the sounds of a concert.

Rather than face-off blood-thirsty invaders, the current custodians as well as the concert organisers must overcome the logistics of accommodating hundreds of revellers gathered yards from the north coast’s stunning but precarious drop.

Over 100 technical staff will descend on the site in the days ahead of the Solstice at Dunluce festival, erecting a range of state-of-the-art lights designed to showcase Dunluce in all its glory, the first time the castle has been lit up.

Dunluce Castle belongs to the McDonnell family, who also own Glenarm Castle in Co Antrim. Nigel Campbell, from Glenarm Castle, is overseeing the project along with Exile Promotions. He admitted the challenges posed are “mammoth” but is confident the results “will be phenomenal”.

“When we do concerts on an estate it is a lot different because the infrastructure is there,” Mr Campbell said. “Things are pre-built for the occasion so we don’t have much to do for it. Dunluce is a different story because you are taking a site on the edge of a cliff with no shelter and turning it into a concert venue.”

Back in January, representatives of Exile Productions visited the castle to check its suitability and were delighted by what they saw. They held talks with Coleraine Borough Council and the castle’s owners about the staging of the show.

COMPETITION: We’ve got two pairs of tickets for the Friday night show up for grabs.

All you have to do to enter is answer this question: Name the historic Northern Ireland castle where Van Morrison is set to perform?

Send your answer plus your name, address and daytime telephone number to Van Morrison competition, 5 Stone Row, Coleraine, BT52 1EP. Entries must reach us no later than this Thursday, May 29 at noon.