East Antrim will play host to the annual Northern Ireland Open Accordion Championships on Saturday, February 24.
Competitors from as far afield as England, Scotland and the Irish Republic as well as a strong local entry will put their talents to the test at Carrick’s Belfast Loughshore Hotel.
Catering for all types of accordion music, there will be solo, duet, group, orchestral and marching band sections suitable for all ages and grades ranging in styles from classical and continental to traditional.
Championships organiser Clyde Johnston, from Larne, said: “This year there shall again be a grand finale featuring a massed accordion band with over 60 accordions on stage - not to be missed.
“There shall also be a number of trade exhibitors which shall add greatly to the interest and atmosphere.”
The programme gets underway at 9.30am and runs to 5.00pm with the prize presentation taking place later that night at a gala dance in the Belfast Road venue.
To celebrate the milestone for the championships, an impromptu concert will be held in the Glendun Suite on Friday night featuring top accordionists Nigel Black, Keith Dickson, Roy Hendrie, Sean O’Neill and Anne-Marie Devine, Nigel Pasby and Helen Newton, Helen Rich, Gordon Shand and Barry Smith.
Clyde added: “At the prize presentation there shall be a short concert featuring a young soloist from each of the four countries represented at the championships together with a mystery guest appearance at the prize presentation by a star of the accordion world - not to be missed.
“These exciting accordion championships promise to deliver an extravaganza of accordion music catering for all tastes and have been recognised by the National Accordion Organisation of the United Kingdom as a qualifying heat for the British Championships. Daytime admission is free so come along to the Loughshore Hotel Carrickfergus on 24th February and enjoy a musical treat.”