Plans for future gigs revealed by Music Capital in Derry

Recently Music Capital teamed up with St. Augustine’s Church to produce a series of summer lunchtime concerts in association with Derry and Strabane District Council, with plans for more events scheduled.

Friday, 23rd July 2021, 2:22 pm

Last month the NI Executive announced that indoor and outdoor performances will be allowed to return - a big positive for an industry that had suffered with over a year of restrictions.

Kieran Dunlop has been producing shows for Music Capital for the past two and a half years. He believes for the music scene in the North West to return stronger and better than before “people need to work together.”

“I was fortunate enough to attend the Stendhal festival last weekend and it was amazing to be able to hear live music again, and it just shows what can happen when people work together. I think the guys had a week to produce the festival from getting the go ahead and everybody I spoke to had a fantastic weekend.”

Derry music producer Kieran Dulop and some of the fantastic artists who will be playing over the coming months.

Kieran is still actively planning shows and fighting for the return of live music. “When the restrictions started easing recently, I thought that the bars and venues would have been jumping for joy at the fact they could get music back,” he said.

“From what I have been seeing, bars and venues are happy with the way things are at the minute, and they’re in no rush to put on live music, Which kind of struck me as strange. I have about 30 shows that I can’t announce at the minute, because of the ever changing regulations and restrictions. It leaves us constantly looking for suitable venues and locations to host music so we can adhere to guidelines.”

Every Tuesday throughout July and August, from 1pm-2pm, people can see local musicians play at the “wee church on the walls”. Kieran says that St. Augustine’s and Derry and Strabane District Council have been very supportive in helping with the return to live music.

“Due to the restrictions being in place, our first three concerts were live streamed, but such has been the hunger for the return of music, the lunchtime performances have gained thousands of views, not just from the city but worldwide, from as far away as Canada to Australia. These concerts are free to attend and all are welcome.

“There are plans for more music all across the city, and we are in discussions with Derry and Strabane District Council and local businesses with the hope that these become regular events.

“The past sixteen months has changed the way we produce music and going forward we have to think outside the box when it comes to producing shows safely. Focusing on regular outdoor intimate events that includes music, the wider artistic community and street performers, in the hope that these collaborations will add something special to the Maiden City.”

Music Capital’s Luminare shows run from September-December. Music fans will have the chance to see renowned acts such as the Henry Girls, Liam Ó Maonlaí and Mary Coughlan. The first gig kicks off on Friday September 24 with Irish folk legend and singer Luka Bloom, who is the younger brother of Christy Moore. There is also support from local musicians Connor Hutcheon ‘Hutch,’ plus a performance from John Deery and the Heads.

“I have always been championing the live music scene, especially in Derry, with its rich history of music.” Kieran said.

“The Luminare shows starting in September 2021 in St. Augustine’s will be something that’s quite different, giving the audience an opportunity to hear up close some of Ireland’s most respected musicians and the amazing local talent in support for these shows.”

Many musicians and performers feel they have been cold shouldered by the hospitality industry. The signs of weekly entertainment becoming a regular occurrence are unclear. Musicians who played a pivotal role in people’s enjoyment on a night out are still left reconsidering their future in the industry. Kieran believes that gigs should “be made easier to do.”

“The council have done an amazing job on their big festivals like Hallowe’en and the Jazz Festival. Local promoters like Celtronic and Jika Jika have also taken the dance scene in Derry to the next level.

“But the opportunity for the live band scene and emerging artists to perform is few and far between. Music Capital hopes to change that, we believe that there is opportunity and space for all to work together for the benefit of the maiden city.

“The council’s Inside Out Programme, putting music and performance back on the streets has been great to see and a welcomed start, but we need more. Here in the North West Music Capital work with around 260 musicians and emerging artists, and daily I get emails from musicians from all over Ireland and the United Kingdom looking for a chance to perform. Things really do need to change, we need to be able to produce music, pop up performances all across the town on a regular basis.”

Without local enthusiasts like Music Capital, the future planning and preparation for events would still be a grey area in Derry. Music Capital says their mission is to “inspire, create and connect people through the power of live music.”

“I have been in discussions with Derry and Strabane District Council recently and there are plans for an outdoor festival later this year, possibly in September, and will involve music and other arts organisations and local businesses,” Kieran said. “It has always been a struggle for musicians to find a platform and be heard. At Music Capital our ethos is to promote diversity and inclusion, and to encourage the discovery of new artists. To strengthen a sense of confidence and belief amongst the musical community, not just here in the North West, but all across the island of Ireland.

“We want to stimulate the cultural scene and put together unifying events that encourage synergy between venues, organisations, networks and agencies.

“What we are trying to do is bring live music back, For the people of Derry and its growing number of visitors, we want music on every street corner, in pubs, cafes, shops, give the audience the experience of music from a town that has an abundance of talent and so much more to give.”

For more information on Music Capital visit their webpage at www.musiccapital.org. If you have a venue or unique location and would like to host an event email [email protected]