- 11 Feb 20
Hot Press editor Niall Stokes presented the magazine's Live Venue Award at the 12th annual IMRO Live Music Venue of the Year Awards at Twenty Two in Dublin.
Venues play such an important role in the music industry and indeed in larger communities across the country, making it vitally important to recognise the diverse contribution they make to our culture. The IMRO Live Music Venue of the Year Awards is a reflection of Ireland's vibrant and ever-growing music scene – and never more so than on this occasion.
Performances in a packed Twenty-Two, in South Anne Street, came from the inimitable Soda Blonde, ebullient Waterford drummer/rapper Alex Gough (and his band), and Dublin-based alt-pop outfit, Elm.
The awards section began when Hot Press editor Niall Stokes gave Hot Press special commendations to the Roisin Dubh, Galway, "for being the real Capital of Culture in Galway over the past 20 years or so", as well as for Hottest Gig of the Year, which went to Mike The Pies, for their Fontaines D.C. gig in December 2019.
Niall also presented the Hot Press Live Music Venue Award to 3Arena, Dublin, voted by thousands of Hot Press readers and members of hotpress.com.
He said: "It has been an amazing few years for Irish music, with more and more artists making the breakthrough into what had always been thought of as the Big League. In modern terms, what that means, in effect, is that they can play 3Arena. And many of them have. I don’t want to start naming names because there’s always the risk of leaving someone out, but during 2020, Picture This played a remarkable five nights on the trot. And others have also been doing multiple shows.
"That certainly played a major part in people’s choice of 3Arena as the Hot Press Live Music Venue of the Year. It is a great venue by world standards, and it is also one of the busiest. But it is also, more than ever, an essential part of the Irish music scene – and has been hailed as such in this ringing endorsement by Irish audiences and by Hot Press readers in particular.
"We have also paid tribute to two venues in different parts of the country. One, Roisin Dubh, has been at the heart of the music – and indeed comedy – in Galway for a couple of decades, or thereabouts. With Galway being celebrated as European Capital of Culture, we thought it’d be appropriate to celebrate the real capital of culture in the City of the Tribes, Roisin Dubh.
"Meanwhile, we also celebrate a relative newcomer – but, by this stage, an infamous one, in the very best sense. Since he opened the venue a few years back, owner Aiden O'Connor has brought a fresh lease of life to rock ’n’ roll in Kerry. The venue has become legendary. It is loved by locals. But watching the voting, we could see that votes were coming in from all over Kerry, as well as from Limerick and Cork. Critically, the venue is also loved by musicians and bands. That was reflected by the fact that – in a year in which their music went stratospheric all over the world – Fontaines D.C. chose to play their final gig of 2019 in a venue with a capacity of just 100, in Listowel, Co. Kerry. It was the Hottest Gift of the Year – in more ways than one! – and well-deserving of a Special Commendation from Hot Press."
Voting is still open for the Hot Press “Hotties”.