25 Sep, Friday
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Neil Hannon & The 4 Of Us complete ATL 30th Birthday show

Neil Hannon from The Divine Comedy and The 4 Of Us complete the line-up for the ATL@30 show in the Ulster Hall on Monday 5th September 2016.

In September 1986 a new programme called The Bottom Line made its debut on BBC Radio. The programme was an early champion of new music from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, often giving bands their first radio play and bringing listeners the latest sounds from the local music scene.

Fast-forward to September 2016 and the programme is now the long-running Across The Line – BBC Radio Ulster’s home for new alternative local music. And to celebrate 30 years since the programme’s inception, presenters Rigsy and Stuart Bailie are inviting some good friends and, of course, listeners, along for a bit of a party.

That party will come in the form of a very special concert in the Ulster Hall, Belfast, on Monday 5 September.


Confirmed for this birthday bash of sorts will be Neil Hannon from The Divine Comedy, the critically-acclaimed Soak (who will perform with her band), Dublin favourites Villagers (who will perform an acoustic set), veterans of rock Therapy? and Newry band The 4 Of Us, all of whom the programme has supported since their early days. Also performing are up and coming ATL favourites Belfast five-piece R51, and duo Saint Sister.

The concert will be broadcast live on BBC Radio Ulster from 8pm-10pm and streamed live at

Over the past year in the run up to the anniversary, the programme’s frontman Rigsy and Stuart Bailie have been revisiting ATL’s envious back catalogue of live performances and interviews and looking back at some historical musical moments in Northern Ireland.

Across The Line started life as The Bottom Line on September 8, 1986. The programme was originally broadcast on BBC Radio Five and BBC Radio Ulster and despite a brief break and a name change, 30 years later the ethos remains the same – to champion the best emerging and established alternative music from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, giving many bands their first radio play and first media interview. Among the acts to be long-terms friends of the programme are Therapy?, Ash, And So I Watch You From Afar, Snow Patrol, Duke Special, U2 and Villagers. The programme also supports local music producers, events and festivals.

Presenters of the programme over the years have included Mike Edgar, Donna Legge, Paul Hamill, Paul McClean, Barry McIlheny, Rory McConnell, Davy Sims, Mickey Bradley and John Kelly while Radiohead has been among the programme’s many guest presenters, plus contributors including Ralph McLean, Colin Murray, Joe Lindsay, Phil Taggart, Uaneen Fitzsimons and Mark Carruthers among many, many more.

The programme also made the leap to television, with series of Beyond the Line, followed on by ATL TV, ATL Vital and ATL Rockschool, the latter of which featured a young band who would go on to become Two Door Cinema Club, and was an early adopter of online content and coverage of local musicians and festivals.

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