OVER €2m in funding has been allocated to a number of businesses and organisations in the entertainment sector in Cork in what has been described as a “glimmer of hope” for a return of live events.
Arts Minister Catherine Martin yesterday announced the recipients of the €25m in funding for a total of 237 organisations benefitting from the live performance support scheme.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the allocation for Cork’s live entertainment sector will be of great benefit over the summer period.
“This allocation of millions of euros in funding for the live entertainment sector in Cork will help venues provide an exciting programme of live performances and activities throughout the summer,” said Mr Martin.
He said the scheme will provide a much-needed boost and jobs for performers, artists, and support staff in the industry, as well as the public.
Some of those to benefit from funding in Cork are the White Horse who has been allocated €131,992, Indiependence Music and Arts Festival with €264,460 for an outdoor concert series at Tramore Valley Park, De Barra’s in Clonakilty, which received €131,992, and Cyprus Avenue, allocated over €152,065.
Trabolgan Holiday Camp is to receive €140,670, Connolly’s of Leap is to get €131,992, while €157,539 has been earmarked for Crane Lane Theatre. In total, 24 allocations of funding have been made in Cork.
Ger Kiely from Cyprus Avenue welcomed the allocation of €152,065 under the scheme.
“It makes a huge difference from an acts point of view,” said Mr Kiely.
“And it’s not just performers, it’s things like the videographers, the sound engineers, the lighting engineers, the technicians — they are the ones that have suffered the most. They have had no work since last March. One way or another, we will get them back in.”
He said if the guidelines allow it, they are hoping to hold gigs at a limited capacity, but if not, they will ensure to stream them online.
With no gigs since March 2020, Mr Kiely said the funding will make a difference but he would like to see a definite date for a return of live gigs.
Cork North Central TD Colm Burke said the funding will assist Cork commercial venues, promoters, and producers in planning live performances during the summer.
“It will boost employment in the live entertainment industry, supporting those who have faced challenging circumstances during the pandemic,” said Mr Burke.
He said the volume of applications for the funding programme “demonstrates the desire of those in the industry to press ahead and deliver entertainment”.
“One of the things we have missed greatly during the pandemic is the joy that live events brought us. This funding will assist in some way to providing a safe and viable way for events to operate.”
Ray Blackwell of De Barra’s in Clonakilty described the funding as a “glimmer of hope” and said they are looking forward to seeing musicians get back to work.
Having hosted limited online events, he said they are looking forward to a return of live performances, and he called for a definite plan for the industry.
“We need to build back up a vote of confidence,” said Mr Blackwell. “We really need a really clean roadmap back to live performances, which currently isn’t too clear.”
On the funding, he said: “It’s definitely a glimmer of hope and it’s definitely going to get us over the next couple of months.”
Mr Blackwell said the last year and a half has been very difficult for those in the sector in Ireland and other countries.
“It’s a global problem but, definitely, we feel very fortunate that we have been a successful applicant for this particular fund.”
Peter Horgan, Labour local area representative for Cork City, welcomed funding for Indiependence to take place in Tramore Valley Park.
“This is what the park was designed for, to host such concerts,” said Mr Horgan. “I hope that the necessary arrangements are put in place to support musicians and live entertainment workers effectively for this project and others around Cork City.”