Timmy Stewart’s 2015 Belfast Retrospect

Well, it’s that time of the year where everyone reflects on what has happened over the last twelve months, and one thing is for sure it’s been a hell of a year for Belfast.

Here are some personal highlights as to why this year is going to be hard to top (but we’ll give it a go in 2016 anyway)!

Firstly, we’d like to thank everyone who has been through the doors at The Night Institute over the past 5 months. We have been completely blown away by just how well this new Saturday night party in the city has been received and the amazing scenes we have witnessed week in week out.

Looking through the images truly makes us smile from ear to ear every Monday. So big thanks for all the support, we will not be resting on our laurels in 2016 and aim to keep upping our game and the promise to give Belfast a trusted weekly Saturday night experience.

Although the main focus has been around myself and Jordan as the residents supplying the majority of our soundtrack, our selection of guests, Denis Sulta, Kornél Kovács and Adesse Versions all absolutely nailed it. Kornél providing probably one of the best sets I heard in 2015 by blending techno, disco, house and, wait for it… R&B to perfection. This was truly a joy to watch and the overall block party event itself felt really special. More of these to come in 2016.

We asked Denis and Adesse Versions to give us one personal favourite from 2015. Mr Sulta opted for fellow Glaswegian JG Wilkes’s Jaxon –

& Kev selecting the ace afro bomb:

Another great addition to the Belfast music scene was the outstanding AVA Festival. This was a proper celebration of the arts in Northern Ireland that was impeccably well executed and safely organised. Hats off to Sarah and her team, it was an absolute pleasure to be involved with these guys. AVA was easily one of the most highly anticipated debuts I’ve seen here over the past 20 years and managing to woo Boiler Room to our shores for the first time was the complete icing on the cake.

It’s a day I’ll never forget – it really put a global spotlight onto the city and proved to us there is a renewed hunger for electronic music here.

Two gents from Belfast whose star really shone and looks set to soar even further in 2016 (known to their mums as Matthew McBriar and Andrew Ferguson) but to everyone else on the planet they’re known as Bicep. It’s amazing to see these two lads absolutely nailing it, they truly knocked out some gold this year. In particular their track “Just” which was easily one of the most requested tracks at TNI and has future classic written all over it. I’m so glad I called this one early as my go to track of 2015 before every poll in the land featured or ranked it at No 1. Who knew a break beat and an arp could sound so ridiculously fresh? Continue tearing up the rule book lads and cheers for bringing attention back to Belfast at every opportunity.

This year I celebrated twenty years of making and playing music and marked the occasion with a little round up on our Extended Play imprint with the ‘To The Bone‘ re-mastered personal highlights album and mini documentary. The last twenty years have been a truly amazing ride and if the future is half as much fun then I’ll be a very happy man.

To The Bone

A year of milestones no doubt, 2015 also brought about the fiftieth release on Extended Play and as a label we really wanted to take this opportunity to showcase the state of Belfast’s super healthy electronic landscape, which we did with 14 heavyweight Northern Ireland originals.

This included tracks by both Jordan and myself and was very well received across the dance music press. It’s already helped set us up for a great 2016. We firmly believe we have some of our best singles yet lined up for next year and will continue with our quest to firm up Belfast’s position as a key player on the global music map.

Belfast Underground Records/Radio also arrived this year and we’ve got to say fair play to Gary Dillon for creating this great store and platform in the city, it really comes at the perfect time. Belfast has long needed a dedicated radio station and to be encased inside a vinyl emporium is a stroke of genius and has truly created an essential hub/meeting point and channel for a host of local DJs. I’ve enjoyed my role as vinyl buyer and hosting my own shows this year and we look forward to playing a part in developing things further next year.

Our Twitch buds celebrated 9 years of bringing the best DJs on the planet to these shores, long may they continue with their ‘on point’ booking policy. They definitely make a great city even greater and do a better job than the tourist board in regards to these visiting guests talking highly of the city.

Shine and Thompsons both celebrated a monumental twenty years of putting on dance events in the city, which is no mean feat and alongside the killer Fridays at both Misfit & Aux, it surely proves Belfast is easily one of the best cities for weekend entertainment in the UK right now.

There have been some dark clouds cast over this year with so many lives lost across the globe and we are deeply saddened for all who lost their lives or loved ones especially in these unnecessary wars and mindless acts of terrorism.

To end on a high however, we are happy to have introduced The Night Institute to the city and hope you can join us for our 2015 recap this Saturday night where myself and Jordan are aiming to squeeze as many belters as is physically possible into 5 hours.

So come sweat off that turkey at our TNI Boxing night workout!