By Rebecca Black, PA
Thousands of people have gathered in Co Down to watch Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody “Take Back The City” of his birth.
The band are putting on an acoustic gig at Bangor Marina to celebrate Lightbody being awarded the Freedom of the Borough of Ards and North Down.
The McKee Clock area was transformed from the usual evening thoroughfare of dog walkers and those tending their boats with a temporary arena erected for the lucky 5,000 people who secured tickets before they sold out within 26 minutes of being released.
The festivities started at 6pm with support act performances from The Florentinas, Lucy Gaffney and David C Clements.
Gary Lightbody OBE has been awarded the Freedom of the Borough at an official conferment ceremony hosted by Ards and North Down Borough Council in Bangor Castle.
The conferment took place ahead of Snow Patrol’s acoustic concert in Bangor, organised in celebration of the award. pic.twitter.com/NAlJYtR875
— ArdsandNorthDown (@ANDborough) August 31, 2022
Tuesday evening saw the formal conferment of the Freedom of the Borough of Ards and North Down on Lightbody at Bangor Castle.
However Wednesday night sees him share his celebration with the rest of Snow Patrol and their fans.
The seafront gig was part of the Open House Festival, with profits to go towards the redevelopment of the old Bangor Court House into a non-profit music venue.
Lightbody, described as Bangor’s most famous son, grew up in the Co Down town.
He went to university in Dundee where he formed Snow Patrol.
Ards and North Down mayor Karen Douglas paid tribute to the music man putting Bangor on the international map with three massive gigs in Ward Park.
“He is a superb role model in the music industry and an ambassador for Northern Ireland so it is very appropriate for him to receive the highest honour that Ards and North Down Borough Council can bestow,” she said.
Freedom of the borough is an ancient privilege dating back to the 1600s.
Lightbody was made an OBE in 2019 after he founded the Lightbody Foundation, a group which gives annual donations to charities across the country.
He was also instrumental in the establishment of Oh Yeah Music Centre in 2007, a charity and social enterprise in Belfast, formed as a resource for music makers and to support the music business in Northern Ireland.