Success of ‘Big Top’ gigs will mean knock-on effect for Limerick

Alan Owens

Reporter:

Alan Owens

THE SUCCESS of three consecutive nights of live music in Limerick’s Milk Market - or the ‘Big Top’ as organisers are keen to deem it - that saw acts like Villagers, Calvin Harris and The Stunning play to close to 2,500 people, means that at least three shows are set to be announced for the newest outdoor, multi-use venue in the city, to take place before Christmas.

THE SUCCESS of three consecutive nights of live music in Limerick’s Milk Market - or the ‘Big Top’ as organisers are keen to deem it - that saw acts like Villagers, Calvin Harris and The Stunning play to close to 2,500 people, means that at least three shows are set to be announced for the newest outdoor, multi-use venue in the city, to take place before Christmas.

Dolan’s, who planned and ran the three successive gigs for the “Live at the Big Top’ series last week that had Arthur’s Day at its heart, were remaining tight lipped this Tuesday about upcoming gigs in the superb venue, but the Limerick Leader understands at least three will be announced - to take place this side of Christmas - in the coming weeks.

Given the national media coverage Limerick received in being an officially designated city for Arthur’s Day - ahead of Galway - and the fact that word will spread among a close knit music industry about the venue, it must be deemed a very successful couple of days for the city, with an economic knock-on also as thousands of revellers swelled the pubs at a difficult time for the industry.

“It was a huge week for Limerick,” Mick Dolan told the Leader. “The Coronas and the Imelda May gigs were great successes for us here during the summer, but this is the first time we have ran shows in the Big Top for consecutive nights. It was great to see the city buzzing with an atmosphere we don’t see often enough. All of the local publicans are delighted with the reaction to the events,” he added.

Deirdre Martin, proprietor of Mickey Martin’s on Augustinian Lane, who hosted a ‘secret set’ by Scottish DJ Calvin Harris for Arthur’s Day, said that Limerick being picked as venue was “a long time coming”.

“This is the third year yet the first Limerick has been an official venue and it is much deserved. I think Limerick is often missed on events like this and I think Arthur’s Day is fantastic for the city,” she said, beaming after witnessing Harris play a set to 40-odd lucky ticket holders in her bar.

Harris later made his way to the ‘Big Top’ and his was the show stopping performance at a gig that also included The Feeling, Sharon Shannon, Fox Jaw Bounty Hunters, Fight Like Apes and Royseven - the singalong to whose ‘We Should Be Lovers’ threatened to blow the 1.8 tonne, half acre canopy off its groundings.

Milk Market manager David O’Brien claimed to the Leader that “Limerick had the lion’s share of the live broadcast on RTE and outplayed the other venues, so Limerick is the real beneficiary of Arthur’s Day”.

“This is only our third big event - the rig and the stage that went in here are festival size and this really shows what we can do down here,” said Mr O’Brien of Arthur’s Day.

Villagers played their last Irish show for some time on Wednesday night, with front man Conor O’Brien lauding the gig on Twitter afterward - “that was almost too exciting Limerick. Thank you forever, we floated home”.

The Stunning also played to a large crowd on Friday night, their set a throwback to their glory days - but across the various gigs, a diverse audience bore witness to the Milk Market and its potential as a live venue.

In a fickle music industry, the response to such a gig is everything and it bodes well for the future that Limerick has cemented its reputation as a prospect for large, outdoor live gigs, and with such a facility, nothing can stop it from going onward and upward.