Good news for gig-goers as Marquee will continue to rock

Good news for gig-goers as Marquee will continue to rock
Kodaline performing on stage at the first night of the 2018 Live At The Marquee Cork.Pic Darragh Kane

THE immediate future of Live at the Marquee is secure for the coming years, according to promotions manager Peter Aiken.

Despite major interest from development companies in the docklands site, Mr Aiken is confident the show will go on for several more years.

The iconic Cork venue kicked off its 14th summer season last night as Irish indie-pop band Kodaline, supported by Cork’s own Stephanie Rainey, played to a packed crowd.

Marquee promoter Peter Aiken, at the Showgrounds. Picture. Jim Coughlan.
Marquee promoter Peter Aiken, at the Showgrounds. Picture. Jim Coughlan.

100,000 people are expected to visit the tent over the next five weeks as it plays host to acts including A-ha, The Script, Gavin James, Picture This, Bell XI, and Chic.

The 11.3 acre former Ford depot site was on the market for €8.5 million after Nama put it up for sale.

The crowd enjoying Kodaline performing on stage at the first night of the 2018 Live At The Marquee Cork. Pic Darragh Kane
The crowd enjoying Kodaline performing on stage at the first night of the 2018 Live At The Marquee Cork. Pic Darragh Kane

The site had been previously earmarked for a hotel and office complex when it was owned by Howard Holdings — who bought it for €35m — and the developers had planning permission for a high-density development which is valid until the end of next year.

Mr Aiken said he was told on Wednesday that the site had been sold, but this has yet to be officially confirmed.

“But even if it is, I’d hope to get another few years out of the venue,” he said.

“I’ve already booked acts for next year with this site in mind so hopefully we can still use it.

“This whole area in 10 years time will be completely redeveloped,” added Mr Aiken. But he admitted that finding a replacement for the venue would be difficult indeed.

“It would be hard to get somewhere like this,” he said. “There’s so much space here and we’re far enough away from residents that the noise doesn’t annoy anybody.

Amy Enright, Niamh O'Reilly and Saoirse Keohane, Drimoleague going to see Kodaline at the first night of the 2018 Live At The Marquee Cork. Pic Darragh Kane
Amy Enright, Niamh O'Reilly and Saoirse Keohane, Drimoleague going to see Kodaline at the first night of the 2018 Live At The Marquee Cork. Pic Darragh Kane

“When Live at the Marquee is in full swing, there are few places like it.”

Acts such as Elton John, Bob Dylan, Kanye West, Lady Gaga, Christy Moore, Eric Clapton, Jay-Z, Neil Young, Paul Simon, Snoop Dogg, The Who, Status Quo, Van Morrison, Dolly Parton, The Cranberries, and Bryan Adams have played the venue.

Megan Corbett and Orla Cummins, Bishopstown going to see Kodaline at the first night of the 2018 Live At The Marquee. Pic Darragh Kane
Megan Corbett and Orla Cummins, Bishopstown going to see Kodaline at the first night of the 2018 Live At The Marquee. Pic Darragh Kane

“I’d love if it stayed here forever,” said Mr Aiken. 

“I’ve brought people on stage just to hear the roar.

“When Tom Petty was playing here, his management came up and said we didn’t realise Tom would be playing in a tent,” he added. “A wedding tent they called it, a circus tent.” Mr Aiken said he watched the American singer turn around to his drummer in shock at the passion of the Cork crowd.

“Afterwards he shook my hand, said ‘you throw one hell of a party’, and walked away.

“That’s the atmosphere and mood you get here and I’d be worried about losing that if we move.”

As well as being an iconic venue itself, the site also comes in useful for events in the newly-renovated Páirc Uí Chaoimh, according to Mr Aiken.

“We have to be careful we don’t coincide with a gig at Páirc Uí Chaoimh,” he said.

Fiona Brownlow, Crosshaven and Julia Werner, Blackpool going to see Kodaline at the first night of the 2018 Live At The Marquee. Pic Darragh Kane
Fiona Brownlow, Crosshaven and Julia Werner, Blackpool going to see Kodaline at the first night of the 2018 Live At The Marquee. Pic Darragh Kane

“There would be a bit of overspill of music if that was the case.

“We also need 50 or 60 of the key people from there to operate here as well so we can’t have that,” he added.

“We use this for the staff signing on, the bar staff, catering staff, all our crew and the trucks.”

Speaking to the Evening Echo before hitting the stage last night, members of Kodaline said the band loves playing the Cork venue.

“I love playing here, our last gig here was from our first album and it was just so loud,” said guitarist Mark Prendergast.

“The energy didn’t drop for around an hour and a half.

“I remember getting into the car after and going home to behave ourselves, it was the same with the last gig, which we never really do, but I remember thinking I wasn’t ready to leave it.

Clodagh Twomey, Cullen and Shannen Carroll, Kanturk going to see Kodaline at the first night of the 2018 Live At The Marquee. Pic Darragh Kane
Clodagh Twomey, Cullen and Shannen Carroll, Kanturk going to see Kodaline at the first night of the 2018 Live At The Marquee. Pic Darragh Kane

“It was amazing and I don’t say that for every gig, this was just one of those gigs, so I’m really excited” he added.

“And it hasn’t changed inside, it’s still the same and there’s no reason to change it.”

As Páirc Uí Chaoimh glistened in the background, talk turned to playing the newly-renovated stadium, with promoter Peter Aiken alluding to it earlier in the day.

“The conversation has never happened, I’ll be honest,” said Mark. “It’s not a plan but if things go well, we wouldn’t say no,” he added.

“We might have to start the conversation ourselves,” laughed bass player Jay Boland.

The band members also recalled one of their very first gigs, at Cork pub Fred Zeppelin’s.

“We played to a grand total of six people,” said Mark.

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