f the many industries kicked in the nuts by the Covid lockdowns, there’s no question that live music is way up there.
Or, should we say, way, way down there…?
If the big stadium-filling rockers can afford to take a hit on their daily bread, lower down the chain gang, it was hard for the bulk of musicians to find even the occasional crumb. Local live favourites such as Woodsy and Leo O’Kelly suddenly found themselves all revved up with no particular place to show and yell. For over a year.
And it’s not just the musicians suffering, of course. What about all the boys and girls who make sure the magic happens with just the right lighting and the perfect sound?
So, when the Wicklow Arts Council recently announced that they had been given funding from the government’s Live Performance Support Scheme to provide outdoor events (to the tune of €143,000, we hear), sure, there was jumping and close-harmony hollering all over the county.
The result is Summer Songs: Inland & By The Sea, and the musicians jumping the highest include Kila, Hothouse Flowers, Scullion, Wyvern Lingo and Mary Coughlan, to name but five of the artists taking part in 5 days of music all around Wicklow. Including, of course, sunny Greystones, on August 7th and 8th – detailshere.
And that’s when we noticed a comment last night on the Wicklow Arts Council’s Facebook post about the festival. John Vickers, a local sound engineer who has worked on everything from The Voice of Ireland to The Pope at Phoenix Park, was more than a little miffed that he and his fellow Wicklow technicians never got a chance to wire these festivals for sound. As, somehow, an event management firm based in Shankill had given the gig to a sound engineer in Wexford.
Which, last time we checked, is actually outside of Wicklow. The county where the funding provided by the government was supposed to go.
We got in touch with said event management, Diffusion Events, and head honcho Louis Harte replied, ‘Unfortunately, our standard operating procedure precludes us from entering into any communication with a third party in relation to any of our clients‘. So, that would be anecumenical matter. Which is a shame, given that this is public money. And the public should be able to find out how, and where, it’s being spent.
On that front, we contacted Jenny Sherwin, Arts Officer at Wicklow County Council too, but her phone call back quickly turned into a twisted tango, as she told us it was all about our context and the Arts Office’s context, and that, ultimately, “You will do what you do” – whatever that means. Bottom line, Jenny didn’t have an answer as to why funding given by the government for the Wicklow music industry was going to Wexford. Via Shankill.
In a gesture to keep the work in Wicklow, John and his team offered Diffusion their sound equipment for the Summer Songs festival for free, but it fell on deaf ears, with Harte eventually telling Vickers flatly to stop calling him.
So, we’re not entirely sure how we can find out just why Wicklow sound technicians weren’t considered for a Wicklow music festival financed by government money to help Wicklow musicians and, eh, Wicklow sound technicians get back on their feet.
It’s probably all just a case of crossed wires. If we do get a straight answer, we’ll let you know…
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