Van Morrison 'delighted' at honour
Van Morrison has said he is "honoured and delighted" to have been granted the freedom of his native Belfast.
The 68-year-old musician will perform a free concert in the city in November to celebrate being awarded the civic title at Belfast's Ulster Hall. City councillors voted unanimously to bestow the honour on Morrison.
"Belfast is my home. It is where I first heard the music that influenced and inspired me, it is where I first performed and it is somewhere I have referred back to many times in my songwriting over the past 50 years," said the singer songwriter.
"I am delighted and honoured to receive the freedom of the city."
The conferment ceremony and concert has been billed as the highlight of the fourth annual Belfast Music Week.
Morrison, a shipyard worker's son, is only the second person in 10 years to receive the accolade - the highest a council can bestow.
Known to fans across the world as "Van the Man", Morrison has drawn inspiration from streets where he was born and raised for hits such as Cyprus Avenue and On Hyndford Street.
During his 50-year music career Morrison has risen from the Irish showband scene to global stardom winning six Grammy Awards, a Brit as well as places in both the Rock and Roll and the Songwriters Halls of Fame.
Other highlights of Belfast Music Week, which runs from November 11-17, include a series of special Ulster Hall concerts, showcasing local acoustic, heavy metal, and dance music, culminating in a special tribute to late poet Seamus Heaney with the Ulster Orchestra.