After the first two editions of Right Here Right Now the festival took a break in 2019. It was the result of a decision made in the wake of the 2018 festival.
Festival co-organiser Brian Hassett of Coughlans Live Promotions explains: “We met after the 2018 one and the intention then was ‘Let’s expand this, really. Let’s bring it to different audiences. Let’s bring it to different venues.’”
If Right Here Right Now had a brief it was to use the biggest stage in the city, the Opera House, to shine a light on a lot of music that was getting released in Cork at the time.
“We wanted very much to start introducing much more Irish artists and even the concept of bringing in international artists as well,” continues Hassett.
“So we kinda said we’d take a break last year. But the idea was if we were going to bring it back to bring it back bigger. Incorporate more bands, have some DJs.”
And have more shows with the Cork Opera House Concert Orchestra, whose involvement previously was confined to the festival’s tentpole event on the Saturday night and saw them collaborate with Jack O’Rourke, Marlene Enright, The Frank and Walters and Ye Vagabonds. This year’s event sees them accompany Mick Flannery and Memphis country soul and blues artist Valerie June on the Saturday.
“The linchpin is the orchestra shows,” notes Hassett. “They’re the big shows, really. People would be familiar enough with a lot of Mick’s tunes and people would be fairly familiar with Valerie as well. Just to put them with the orchestra and kind of re imagine the songs. They’re involved with the writing process of the orchestral stuff with Cormac McCarthy, who’s actually writing all the scores as well. A second night with the orchestra has been added on Sunday.
“When we said we were going to bring it back we wanted to bring it in to new venues and to also put on a second orchestral show,” says Hassett.
“So the Sunday show then is a real trad and folk show with the orchestra.”
“I think the Cork Opera House Orchestra have been going about five years now so they’ve done a lot of stuff like the proms and the opera series and stuff but they’ve never actually been put together with a trad night. Some of the people who are playing at that you could see at a trad session, let’s say, in the Corner House or something.
“There’d be some traditional songs that will be reinterpreted. It’s going to be a bit more modern, maybe. And there’s going to be some new songs written specifically for that night as well,” adds Hassett.