Saturday last marked the one year anniversary of the very first ‘BarryGruff Presents’ show. Granted, a year isn’t really a long time in the grand scheme of things but I thought I’d share some musings from the year.
As with a lot of ideas, it spawned from chatting over a few pints, where by myself and Stevie decided to try doing some small gigs in our local in Newbridge, Flanagan’s. So, the idea was simple, bring music I’d been pushing on the blog, from the internet into a real world live setting. It has work fantastically well and we’ve been lucky to have witnessed some outstanding performances from some of the finest up and coming talents this country has to offer.
It may come as a surprise to many that while Newbridge has a wealth musical talent (this mixtape is just a small bit of proof), we have been pretty much starved of live original music in recent years (that’s a whole other post). This was our attempt to redress this imbalance. Live music is vital if we are to ever to sustain a vibrant music scene and this problem isn’t confined to Newbridge. I’m sure there are towns like Newbridge the length and breadth of this island, which are virtually starved of live music.
We just utilized what we’ve got and worked with it, Flanagan’s is far from a perfect for these shows but works remarkably well. Now, I’m lucky, not only did I cut my teeth putting on shows with Culture Factory but I have two top guys with me (Stevie & Poggy) who have the equipment and know how to make it possible. Of course we’re not alone and credit is due to the many people putting on gigs and promoting new talent across Ireland. I suppose the point is we’ve opened up a new place, somewhere artists couldn’t/hadn’t played previously which is most important. There needs to be more than 7 or 8 places for bands to tour. Although music is increasingly discovered and consumed online, it is vital to remember music is best witnessed live, as a collective experience. Time and time again when acts play here, people are blown away by music they have, or have not heard before (proving the limitations of my blog too).
Having the gigs in a pub works and is a pretty natural partner. Not only are the shows free but people are comfortable in a boozer, overcoming the issue of getting people from pubs to venues, which I assume extends beyond Newbridge, to many towns across Ireland.
What we’re doing is only small but I’m immensely proud of the achievements so far and I’m sure that lads are too. Expanding to Dublin has been exciting too but there is something uniquely special about the Newbridge gigs. I’ll be honest, it was pretty nerve racking to begin with. It had been quite sometime since I had done anything in the way of gigs but it has been a thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding experience. Long may they continue.
The next ‘BarryGruff Presents’ takes place in The Twisted Pepper, Dublin on Saturday, August 25th with ‘Our Krypton Son’, ‘Conor Mason’ and ‘The P Affection’. More info here. (There will be another Newbridge show announced soon too).