Hailed as the People’s Republic of Ireland, Cork and more notably Cork City, never failed to play host to an exciting music scene. In recent years the establishment of new venues (as well as the restoration of old ones) has contributed to the growth and success of the city in mapping itself as a musical capital. The founding of Cork based music collectives has also contributed to the growth of a new music scene that is thriving in ways that no one could have predicted. It’s hard to summarise this scene into a few short words but I will try my best to capture exactly what it is that makes this city and all of the music bubbling inside of it so special.
Cork City plays host to some of the most unique music venues in the country. With revered high capacity venues such as Cork Opera House and the newly expanded Cyprus Avenue, the city can welcome hugely successful musicians at the peak of their career to play sold out shows in these venues. The wonderful Damien Rice for example, will take to the stage of the Opera House on September 13th in conjunction with the Sounds from A Safe Harbour festival. On the same week Irish DJ giants Boots & Kats will be headlining Cyprus Avenue to kick off your Freshers Week. This in itself is an example of the scale the Cork music scene – in under a five-minute walk you can transport yourself from the soothing sounds of an acoustic guitar to disco-influenced beats that will lure you to the centre of the dancefloor. Other venues worth a mention include Coughlans – for fans of the singer-songwriter and all things acoustic, Plugd at the Roundy – for all of your indie music needs, and St. Luke’s church at which I have witnessed some of the most beautiful performances of truly magical music.
In recent years the rise of the music collective has been nothing short of phenomenal and Cork city is no exception to the rule. A vast number of music collectives have formed as a result of a mutual desire to share industry knowledge as well as secure gigs to showcase local talent. Two Cork-based collectives doing just that are Teletext Records and the Angry Mom Collective. Self-described as an Irish music management label focusing on ‘left of field’ acts, the founders of Teletext Records have been hugely active in the year since their establishment – they have held a whopping ten gigs in Cork venues such as The Kino, The Roundy, and Fred Zeppelins as well as renowned venues around the country such as Dolans in Limerick and Sin E in Dublin.
One of the most exciting collectives in Cork in my opinion is the recently established Angry Mom Collective. The masterminds behind this collective aim to raise awareness and ‘put an end to the gender divide’ in the music and art industries. In just a few short months the ladies have held meetups, gigs, and a visual showcase, giving a platform to some of the most exciting female artists in the city. In the holding of music-related events and gigs, these collectives have been fundamental in the promotion of local Cork talent as well as the enrichment of the city’s music scene.
It would be rude to speak of the music scene in Cork without mentioning our very own music society. UCC Music Society caters for all those with an interest in music holding regular open mics, on campus records fairs, and busking sessions. Two major events held annually by the society are the Singer-Songwriter Competition and Battle of the Bands. Both of which see local acts battle it out through a series of heats for recording time in a local studio. Events run by the society provide chances to engage with other musicians and like-minded people in UCC who can share all of the best spots to headbang to metal, be serenaded by singer-songwriters, and even where to share one’s own talents at open mics. A perfect introduction into all that Cork’s music scene has to offer, some may say.
I believe the Cork music scene is at one of the most exciting periods it has ever seen. With acts like Happyalone, Ghostking is Dead, and Laura Duff all gaining serious traction in the national (and international) music scene, one thing is for sure; the music bubbling inside this city and all of its musicians is stellar and demands to be heard.