Launched today in Dublin, Let's Celebrate 2017 includes a Paul McGuinness plea for more government support for the arts.
There was a healthy industry turnout at Dublin’s Westbury Hotel today for the launch of Let’s Celebrate 2017, which is billed as “the first comprehensive study of the Live Entertainment Events industry in Ireland and its contribution to the cultural and economic life of the country.”
Compiled by leading UK-based economic researchers, BOP Consulting, in association with Justin Green of Wideawake Communications, it features input from the likes of Micheal O’Leary, Peter Aiken, Moya Doherty, Robbie Williams, Caroline Downey, Paul McGuinness, Garry Hynes, Brendan O’Carroll, Kenneth Feld, Hozier, Michael Flatley, Daniel O'Donnell, Mary Davis, Simon Cowell, Denis Desmond, Louis Walsh, Niall Stokes, Fáilte Ireland, Chambers Ireland, IMRO, Irish Hotel Federation, Iarnród Eireann, Vintners Federation of Ireland, Dublin City Council, Lord Mayor of Cork, Licensed Vintners' Association, the GAA and others.
Available for free download, it reveals that the live music industry employs 6,448 people in the Republic and 2,093 in the North.
Arts, Theatre & Comedy respectively generate 1,869 and 270 jobs, with Family, Attractions & Exhibitions adding 406 and 245 to the overall Republic total of 8,723 jobs and 2,608 in the North.
On the live gig front, it was revealed that between March 1, 2015 and February 29, 2016, over four million people attended Ticketmaster events on both sides of the Irish border with ticket receipts totalling €1.7 billion. For every €1 spent on tickets, an additional €6.06 of revenue is generated in the wider economy.
An estimated 3.7m+ hotel bed nights were generated, with 433,666 attendees coming from outside the Republic. The value of this is €512m.
“It is our culture and it comes to life on stages in cities, towns and villages across Ireland,” enthuses Caroline Downey, Director of the Gaiety Theatre, Olympia Theatre and MCD Productions, and Hozier manager. “Not only is it our culture, but our history and who we are… and it is because of this we should all celebrate!”
Hot Press Editor Niall Stokes adds: “What is the first thing you associate with Ireland? Ask people from anywhere in the world that question nowadays and, likely as not, they will talk immediately about Irish culture.
“This important study will clarify, in a way that brooks no further argument, that the music and entertainment industry truly is a vital part of what makes this country unique.”
A sober note is sounded though by former U2 manager, Paul McGuinness, who highlights the lack of fiscal support for the arts from government.
“It’s a regular disappointment when politicians, as they routinely do, pay lip service to the importance of the arts in our culture and then continue the steady reduction of funding to music, film, theatre and the visual arts,” he reflects. “Everyone in the arts dreads those encounters with politicians. The casual downgrading of the Arts portfolio and the subsequent attempts to say it hadn’t really been downgraded were sadly typical.”
In a special message to Justin Green, Michael Bublé says, “Congratulations on your hard work. In British Columbia where I come from I’ve tried to do the same thing. I tried to express how important it is to our economy. It’s not just good for people’s bottom line, it’s good for culture and it’s good for your city.”
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