TENS of thousands of music fans are gearing up for a busy few weeks in Cork as Live at the Marquee returns to the city. The famous tent reappeared in the docklands in recent days, just minutes from the pristine new Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
Dozens are working on the site to make sure the Marquee is festival-ready for the curtain raiser next Friday.
It is the 12th edition of the festival, which has brought dozens of the biggest names in pop and rock music to Leeside over the years.
It is a bonanza for local businesses, with hotels, bars and restaurants packed for the duration of the festival, which is estimated to be worth tens of millions to the local economy.
The 82,000 music fans who attended gigs last year brought the total number of fans at Marquee shows to 1.4m since the festival started in 2005.
With 19 shows planned between June 9 and July 14, it is very likely that the festival will hit the 1.5m mark this year, with close to 100,000 set to attend events at the 5,000-capacity venue.
Quite a few shows have already sold out, guaranteeing a big turnout over the next six weeks.
Athy pop duo Picture This kick things off with two sold-out shows on June 9 and 10.
It is the latest in a series of huge shows for the band which has enjoyed a whirlwind success over the last twelve months.
The chart-toppers sold out an Ireland and UK tour on the back of hit single Take My Hand, with the song remaining one of the most-played on Irish radio some months after its initial release.
Little Hours and Catherine McGrath will support on the nights in a celebration of the best of new Irish music.
Grunge fans are in for a treat on Sunday, June 11, as Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder makes his first appearance in Cork.
The gig, which includes Glen Hansard of the Frames as a special guest, sold out in minutes, as die-hard fans hope to catch a glimpse of one the best in the business.
It is a rare chance to catch Vedder in such an intimate space, with the Pearl Jam frontman typically found treading the boards in stadiums and arenas all over the world.
Expect a handful of Pearl Jam songs alongside Vedder’s critically-acclaimed solo material.
Covers of Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen and David Bowie are frequent, while Hansard joined Vedder to duet on a number of songs at a recent show in the Netherlands.
Unsurprisingly, tickets moved fast for quite a few of the other shows too.
Elton John will play to a packed tent on June 20, his fourth appearance in Cork, with Leesiders still keen to catch a glimpse of the pianist.
2FM DJ Jenny Greene plays two sold out shows with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra in the days beforehand. A performance at last year’s Electric Picnic was a huge success, with Greene promising an even bigger and better event this year.
Cork’s own Gemma Sugrue will join on vocals in a celebration of classic dance music.
Irish acts continue to prove a major draw at the Marquee, with Walking on Cars and the Coronas both selling out their shows on June 26 and 30, respectively.
It is the sixth year in a row that the Coronas will perform, with fans in Cork unable to get enough of them.
Walking on Cars, meanwhile, proved one of the biggest draws at last year’s Indiependence festival. The Kerry group have been going from strength to strength since the release of their debut album last year.
Tickets are still available for quite a few other shows.
Comedians Al Porter (Friday, June 16) and Tommy Tiernan (Saturday, June 24) are both set to entertain, while alternative rock legends Elbow return to Cork on June 21 after a euphoric show in 2014.
The legendary Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons are set for a performance on Thursday, July 6, while singer-songwriter Gavin James returns to Cork on Friday, July 7 after a sold-out show last year.
At the time, it was the biggest venue he had ever played in, with even bigger things coming his way since.
Nathan Carter will make it three years in a row on Saturday, July 8, with support coming from Jake Carter and Ruaile Buaile in a feast of folk and country music.
Pop star Emile Sandé (Monday, July 10) and Canadian rock star Bryan Adams (Tuesday, July 11) will also perform, with Christy Moore drawing things to a close on Friday, July 14.
It will be his 11th performance at Live at the Marquee, appearing every year except 2016.
See www.ticketmaster.ie and www.aikenpromotions.com for further information on all events.