Minnowburn to mark 50 years of Pop for Peace
Minnowburn, located at Shaw’s Bridge on the outskirts of Belfast, is getting ready to mark an important moment in its history. On 2 August 1969 a free open air concert called Pop for Peace was held at the site. The event, which aimed to provide the young people of Belfast and Northern Ireland with the opportunity to say, ‘Give Peace A Chance,’ was endorsed by The Beatles legend John Lennon.
To mark the occasion an intimate, free event called ‘Celebrating Pop For Peace at 50’ will take place at Minnowburn (The Terrace Hill Garden) on Sunday 4 August, 1-5pm. Visitors will be treated to a range of activities including: a peace reading by actress Tara Lynne O’Neill, music from Sara Dylan, Nick Boyle and The Shillelaghs, poetry for Peace from Seamus Heaney Centre, history talk and walk to the Pop For Peace location from National Trust assistant curator and researcher Julieanne McMahon.
‘Celebrating Pop For Peace at 50’ is part of National Trust’s People’s Landscapes nationwide campaign for 2019 which celebrates places, such as Minnowburn, that served as a backdrop to social and political change. Sharing stories which reveal significant historic moments is central to People’s Landscapes and ‘Celebrating Pop For Peace at 50’ is key to this theme.
1969 was a time of heightened tension and ‘trouble’ in Belfast and Northern Ireland. With an increase in sectarian and political divisions, Civil Rights marches, demonstrations and violence became more frequent. Pop For Peace was created as an opportunity to bring together and give a voice to young people who were disassociated from violence.
A non-political and non-sectarian event, Pop For Peace had the full support of the National Trust committee, who agreed to host the event. Organised by a priest (Father Tony Marcellus), a music journalist (Donal Corvin), two nightclub promotors (Sam Smyth, Colin McClelland) and a politician (Paddy Devlin); the line-up included a range of acts including the Tremeloes, the Marmalade, Joe Dolan and the Drifters - to name but a few. Invited but unable to attend, John Lennon showed his support for the concert by sending a telegram to the organisers which read “All we are saying is give peace a chance, love John and Yoko.”
Ahead of ‘Celebrating Pop For Peace At 50’ on 4 August, Angie Watson, National Trust Belfast Visitor Experience Manager said:
“Minnowburn, nestled in the heart of the Lagan Valley regional Park, has a very rich history of which Pop For Peace played a significant part. We are delighted to host ‘Celebrating Pop for Peace at 50’ in The Terrace Hill Garden on Sunday 4 August. The 1969 concert marked an important moment when people came together with one voice and one message – Give Peace A Chance. We hope visitors will join us, bring a picnic and help us honour this very special moment. We also hope to hear from people who were there. We would love for them to join us and share their memories.”