After almost 10 years at the heart of Northern Ireland’s music scene, Chief Executive of Belfast’s Oh Yeah Music Centre – Stuart Bailie – has decided to step aside. The search for a new Chief Executive has been launched with the charity seeking to recruit a dynamic person who wants to make a substantial contribution to the future of music in Belfast.
The Oh Yeah Music Centre is a former bonded whiskey warehouse in the heart of the Cathedral Quarter in Belfast's cultural district. Run over three floors, it houses a 300-capacity performance space, two rehearsal rooms, a café, a privately-run recording studio and an exhibition space. It also houses a number of music businesses including Third Bar Artist Development and Champion Sound Management, plus Start Together Studios.
Commenting on his decision to step aside as Oh Yeah’s Chief Executive, Stuart Bailie said:
'I’ve been immersed in Oh Yeah since the first conversation in December 2005. I was a volunteer-fanatic for two and a half years before taking up the first staff job. Since then, we’ve seen this inspiring idea rise out of a derelict building. That amounts to over 160,000 people through the Oh Yeah doors, while more than 5,500 artists, musicians, and DJs have used the facilities. The outreach work is so impressive. We have surpassed the original plan.
'I’ve got the greatest respect for the Oh Yeah Staff, the Board and the volunteers. I will miss this job after so many years, but I’m making good progress on a book about music and conflict and I enjoy my weekly co-present with ATL on BBC Radio Ulster. Other plans are hatching.
'Happily, January 2017 will mark the tenth birthday of Oh Yeah as an official entity. There will be a party!'
Stuart will continue to support the Oh Yeah Staff and Board on special projects such as Sound of Belfast and the NI Music Prize in the autumn. Prior to co-founding the centre alongside Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody and other local music visionaries, Bailie was the Assistant Editor of the NME for three of his 12 years at the renowned publication. He wrote the authorised Thin Lizzy biography, Ballad of the Thin Man, in 1997 and has scripted a series of BBC Radio 2 documentaries on U2, Elvis Costello, Thin Lizzy and Glen Campbell.
He leaves on a high at a time when Oh Yeah’s flagship talent development programmes - Volume Control and Scratch My Progress – go from strength to strength supporting emerging Northern Irish talent. A four-year funding commitment from Belfast City Council, two more years of support from the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation plus core support from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland has been secured for further outreach. Whilst the PRS for Music Foundation have just recognised Oh Yeah as one of their 22 Talent Development Partners across the UK, the only Northern Irish partner in its scheme.
Shona McCarthy, Chair of the Oh Yeah Board and the newly-appointed Chief Executive of Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, said:
'It has been a pleasure to work with Stuart and to watch his vision of a dedicated Music Centre for Belfast become a reality. He is a cultural innovator and a unique talent who has worked tirelessly to put his musical city on the map. On behalf of the directors and team at Oh Yeah, a huge thanks for quite literally opening the doors to music for so many. We wish him well in all his new ventures and will continue to enjoy his support for Oh Yeah as a patron and founder.'
Anyone interested in finding out more about Oh Yeah or how to apply for the Chief Executive role should email firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for applications is Friday 13th May at noon.
Salary: £43,000 (NJC Scale PO6).