“CORK without music is like a city without a soul,'' said a leading member of Cork Music Industry Stands Up who held a silent protest in Cork city yesterday afternoon.
The Cork musicians along with their counterparts nationwide are seeking a roadmap for when they can return to work and the resumption of live outdoor music.
Gary Baus is a member of Cork Music Industry Stands Up which is a branch of Irish Music Industry Stands Up. They were formed in May 2020 after the blanket ban on live music was introduced.
Mr Baus wants the ban on live music to be re-evaluated.
“We held a silent protest to demand that the government ask NPHET to re-evaluate the live music ban. From what we understand the blanket ban on live music within the hospitality sector was based on previous guidance from NPHET. We are in a different situation today in terms of the low infection rates and our high vaccination rates,” he said.
Mr Baus said the majority of musicians are ‘locked’ out of their industry.
"We have no plan and the government has completely thrown us under the bus.
“From July 5 the government is allowing certain live events but they are happening in a stadium or a large concert venue. We are arguing that the real cultural lifeblood of this country is live music within pubs.
"At the very least we want live music to be allowed outdoors. We know we can do that safely. We just want to get back to playing live music. The majority of musicians are locked out of their industry,” he added.
The protest by the Cork musicians involved a march down South Mall, Merchants Quay, and Patrick Street before returning to the Grand Parade where speeches were made.
Mr Baus said the protest was held ‘to raise awareness’ of their plight.
“We just want to be treated like any other industry. They have all been given guidelines on how to safely open up. We are just standing up for ourselves. The experts are saying that if we play music it will cause people to raise their voices while moving closer to one another. We are professional musicians and we know how to play music at an appropriate volume.”
Mr Baus also said that musicians need to play live music for their own mental wellbeing.
“We love playing. It is our passion. I think music is the greatest anti-depressant in the world. Cork without music is like a city without a soul. We need live music for our mental health.”