Raising voices for victims of sexual violence

Don O'Mahony previews a fundraiser for Sexual Violence Centre Cork, and discovers...
Raising voices for victims of sexual violence
Elaine Malone

A fundraising event for Sexual Violence Centre Cork is generating excitement and interest, not just for the worthy nature of the cause but also for what is beginning to feel like an unprecedented rallying together and mobilisation of a huge swathe of Cork’s music promoters and artists behind the event.

Having received an email from Sexual Violence Centre Cork asking him to consider them if he was planning a Christmas fundraiser, Cormac Daly of event and artist management company Cosmonaut immediately put a call out on his social media exhorting people to contribute to the cause.

Through his involvement in the technical aspects of live music production and independent gig promotion in Cork over the last couple of years, Daly has built up an impressive contact list and the response was immediate and generous. One of the first to be involved was Emma Kelly of tour management and booking agency Merakindie.

“Me and Cormac have worked before together on different things so we know how we work together anyway and he knew what skills I’d be able to bring to the table,” says Kelly.

While bands and artists were getting in touch to offer their services, Kelly and Daly realised that for the event to run smoothly and have any chance of success they needed people skilled in areas such as PR, poster design, fundraising and stage management.

“I had no expectation of what it would look like,” says Daly. “I just knew what I could do. I know how to book a show, I know how to run a gig, I know how to run a fundraiser and I said to Emma, ‘let’s just throw it out to the wider community and see what comes of it.’”

Adds Kelly: “We kinda wanted people who know how to run gigs as well and know how to organise a gig so we got Aisling O’Riordan (Quarter Block Party) helping us as well, and also Ross Herlihy (Cuttin’ Heads Collective) and they’ve got a whole different network in the hip-hop community that bring another element to it. So we got a whole different set of genres and different tastes in music as well that will add to the flavours of the event as well.

Gadget & The Cloud
Gadget & The Cloud

“We’ve got students kind of involved as well, which adds a different element to it, so it’s really broadening the community.”

Caoimhe Coleman of UCC’s Music Society was quick to react to Daly’s invitation. “Representing the Music Society, obviously it’s important for us to get involved because we’re kind of representing the college students,” she says.

“We actually had an open mic last week. We thought it would be a good idea to get the ball rolling and make people aware,” she adds. That event raised €50. It may seem a small amount but as important as money is the need to raise awareness about the work of the centre and its founder Mary Crilly.

“The Sexual Violence centre does some amazing work. They do so much to help victims and survivors,” says Kelly, who is sensitive to the fact that not only do victims of sexual assault suffer from the poisonous act, but there still also remains in this day and age a pernicious tendency to add further injury in suggesting there may be some blame attached to them.

“Victim blaming is so harmful for girls who have been raped and assaulted and are going through that, as traumatic as it is, but then to be shunned by a community who says it’s your fault is just ridiculous. So this is a massive kick back against that,” insists Kelly.

Crucially, they needed a venue and a date, and once more Cork’s music community delivered.

“Even the fact that it’s on Cyprus Avenue that came about because Con Doyle, who does Paranoid Beast promotions,” Daly points out.

“He saw what we were doing. He was planning on doing something with that date in Cyprus Avenue and I don’t think it hadn’t really taken shape yet and he just rang me one day and he was like, ‘Look, I’ve got this date held. Do you want to work on that with me?’

“It couldn’t have been more perfect.”

Also representative of the pervading can-do spirit is JJ Lee of nascent label Teletext Records, who says: “The minute we saw the post from Cormac we all said straight away whatever way we can help and get involved.”

The fundraiser for the Sexual Violence Centre Cork takes place at Cyprus Avenue, on Sunday, December 23. Confirmed so far are Elaine Malone, Cara Krush, Horse and Gadget & The Cloud. More acts TBA.



Aligned with the Sexual Violence Centre fundraiser on the 23rd is an evening of music and discussion on Wednesday (5th) presented by #CorkLovesMusic and hosted by the Sexual Violence Centre on Camden Quay.

Says Event organiser Mike McGrath-Bryan: “The International Women’s Day weekender at the Roundy earlier this year was an eyeopener for me in terms of what the Centre does, its importance locally, and the support that the all-dayer got spoke volumes about the music community’s willingness to support such an important cause, so it’s great to be chipping in on the wider effort in this way too.”   Check out #CorkLovesMusic on Twitter and Facebook for details.

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