All Together Now is another great festival to look forward to

Next summer is already looking good with more announcements to come, says Stevie G in his Downtown column
All Together Now is another great festival to look forward to

The lineup for all together now 2022 has been announced.

Today I’m going to round up some of the latest music news stories from the last few weeks. Before we get to the frustrations regarding the changing of the restrictions once more, let’s start with some brighter news.

Next year’s festival season is taking shape and the latest one to make a big announcement is the very impressive All Together Now festival, in neighbouring Waterford, home of the blaa bread bun.

This is a fantastic festival which had gathered great momentum pre-pandemic, and it always attracts a big crowd from Cork. It’s little over an hour away from Cork city which helps, but it’s the ethos of the festival, which is most attractive. Set on a truly beautiful site, All Together Now was the brainchild of the late great John Reynolds, who also brought us the original Electric Picnic, and the attention to detail certainly brings to mind those early Picnic excursions.

The initial line-up includes Nick Cave, Sinead O’Connor, Underworld, Denise Chaila, Gemma Dunleavy, Joy Orbison and many more, and I’m sure there will be many more to come.

Meanwhile, Indiependence have announced Fatboy Slim, Rudimental, Erica Cody, Becky Hill, Lyra and many more besides, so next summer is already looking good. There will be plenty more festival announcements in the next few weeks.

I recently wrote about the terrible tragedy at Astroworld Festival in Houston in Texas, and the story looks set to rumble on for quite some time as the lawsuits mount. Travis Scott, Drake, Live Nation, Apple Music and others have been named in a new lawsuit filed on behalf of 280 concertgoers, after 10 people died as a result of the chaotic crowd surge at the recent event in Scotts hometown of Houston. Concert promoters will no doubt be extra vigilant from here on in, which can only be a good thing. Insurance and other costs are already huge so it will be interesting to see if this tragedy negatively impacts the viability of big shows, though thankfully the big promoters in Ireland seem to run a fairly tight shape regarding safety, which is always the most important thing at these shows.

In better news for one of those involved at that concert, Drake, his beef has been recently quashed with Kanye West. They will perform together at a one-off benefit concert title “Free Larry Hoover” in Los Angeles in a few weeks, raising awareness and support for Larry Hoover and the cause of prison and sentencing reform. It’s good to see such high profile rappers using their platform for such a positive cause, and it follows Kanye also squashing a minor social media beef with Souljah Boy recently. These recent beefs were a bit lightweight compared to more serious rap beefs of old, but I guess it’s good to see some Christmas spirit coming early?

However, that Christmas spirit seems to have evaporated with regard to the Irish music scene, who were barely back in action a wet week when they were suddenly being told to change things up yet again with regard to extra restrictions. The government, who opened up literally everything a month ago, then suddenly with no notice decided that nightclubs would have to have a ticketing only system in place, from a week or so later. Many venues scrambled this new system together, at great cost, and were then told last week with no notice that they would suddenly have to shut at midnight at the latest once again, despite putting all safety measures in place.

It really is a farcical way to treat an industry which has been shut for 18 months, and which has been campaigning for testing and other safety measures for ages. The night time industry has always been an easy target throughout all of this, but this will prove to be the last straw for many promoters and artists and venues, and already the cancellations are coming in thick and fast. The busy Christmas period is again up in flames, and while some parties will reschedule for earlier, many can’t, and many are now gone.

Last week’s Christmas celebrations by UCC and MTU students indicate that young people will continue to go and party anyway, and I’m guessing that off-licences and house parties will be busier than ever in the weeks before Christmas. As the numbers surge it is unlikely that stopping those from going out to a controlled environment will magically solve things, and it looks like the night time trade will again suffer more than most as we fail to deal with this crisis, despite massive vaccine uptake in 2021.

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