It feels rather remarkable to write this but today marks ten years since Chordblossom made its first bow online. If anyone had told me in 2012 that in ten years we’d still be motoring on I’d have no doubt laughed. Yet the website and the music community in Northern Ireland has become a huge part of both mine and the team’s lives that it is hard to imagine a time when we’re not involved in some shape or form.
What started out principally as somewhere to share reviews of gigs and music along with a few interviews quickly came to encompass a whole lot more. From podcasts to video features, live sessions to competitions, you name it we’ve tried it. I’m particularly proud of our video coverage at our summer festivals which gave a brilliant insight and access to the likes of Glasgowbury, Sunflowerfest, Pigstock & Stendhal which no-one else was doing.
One of our most important features in recent years is our playlists which gives us an opportunity to feature many more musicians than we have spare time to write about each month. It is lovingly curated each month and if you haven’t already I’d highly recommend you dive in. Or if you need a nostalgia trip, all our historic monthly playlists as well as special artist and event specific playlists can be found online.
As well as attending and writing about gigs, we’ve also put on our fair share of live music. Our first ever live show for our Kickstart showcase in the old Speakeasy was a dream and it was packed out. Despite a crazy last minute change of venue for our next one for a Wood Burning Savages EP launch, our enthusiasm for organising them wasn’t dampened. It didn’t matter to the bands either though as they knocked it out of the park.
We’ve hosted gigs in bars, churches, a shopping centre and even a freezing bandstand in Botanic Gardens in November and it was always a pleasure to put on some of our finest musicians including some incredible sold out nights for LORIS, Silences and Lauren Bird. To think we had Ryan McMullan play in the tiny Black Box Green Room, JC Stewart (formerly Callum Stewart) in TBWN (Auntie Annies), a debut live performance from Jealous of the Birds and many others who have gone onto much bigger and better things.
It has been a pleasure to run our Kickstart competition which has helped to develop and push artists to achieve their potential. Getting involved in helping artists plan their next move and assisting them with the resources to do that has been amazing. A huge thank you to all the organisations that donated prizes and helped us deliver on our lofty ambitions on the project. Some really incredible success stories with Lauren Bird, Brand New Friend and of course SOAK….
It is a lot of hard work running a website and providing as much coverage as we do while it is a hobby. Our team all do it for the love of the music and it is true to say that without all our dedicated volunteers, we wouldn’t be where we are today. There are too many people/contributors to name everyone individually but I’m grateful for everyone who ever wrote a piece for the website, took photos for us, helped out on graphics/design or even just offered advice.
It would be remiss not to mention a few people who have been instrumental in developing and driving forward Chordblossom. I’d like to place on record my thanks to Peter Cinnamond, Dave Burns, Al Gilmore, Melanie Brehaut and Conor Kerr for all the time and effort they dedicated to us over the years. It was a truly monumental effort and it won’t be forgotten.
In recent years our transformation has been very much down to the diligence and energy of Aaron Cunningham and Ben Magee. Both bring fresh insights and most importantly produce fantastic content on a regular basis despite so many other commitments on their time. I know we wouldn’t have made it to the ten year point without you two and the many others pushing us over the line.
Ten years may have passed but our desire to be a passionate advocate for music from Northern Ireland remains undiminished. To help celebrate our 10th anniversary, we are pleased to announce the return of our Kickstart competition. After two years off, we are delighted to bring back this wonderful opportunity for one lucky band or musician. The full announcement including how to enter will follow shortly.
10th Birthday Bash
It wouldn’t be a celebration without an event or party of some description, so we are also pleased to confirm that our 10th birthday bash is planned for
21st May 2022 27th May 2022. We aren’t quite ready to unveil the line-up just yet but we are giving you plenty of warning to keep that date free…you won’t regret it.
Business As Usual and a little bit more
While we are thrilled at the prospect of running Kickstart again and delivering on our promise of a great 10th birthday bash, our main function is to deliver on our regular content. We have no plans to stop anytime soon and given how busy our submissions inbox is every day, we are glad to see there is still appetite from artists for our coverage and assistance. That means more reviews, interviews, features, playlists and content to champion the wonderful music that comes from these shores. Hopefully we’ll have something even more special to offer in 2022.
The last ten years have been quite the adventure. Here’s to the next ten….