Musicians want to return to centre stage

Shella MacSweeney with Sineád, Eammon and Ned O’Donoghue, at the gathering in Knockreer.
Pictures: Sally MacMonagle

MUSICIANS, dancers and band crew members, who performed regularly in pubs, clubs and other venues in Killarney prior to the lockdown, have gathered to highlight their plight and to appeal for the return of live music.

They pointed out that they are now over 430 days out of work and they want to return to what they love doing.

The group, who met in Killarney National Park at Knockreer, said they are frustrated by the lack of support for their industry in the government’s reopening plan and they insist that structures will have to be put in place to help the industry get back on its feet.

Supporters of the local musicians highlight their case in the national park

“Understandably, the science behind no indoor live music until there is more of a vaccine roll-out is a priority but with no proper clarity and with announcements changing every day, musicians are crying out to be heard and listened to,” they said in a statement.

They pointed out the importance of the local entertainment industry with hundreds of musicians and performers entertaining locals and tourists before Covid-19.

Local musicians, crew members and their supporters gathered at Knockreer in Killarney

“It’s all well in good doing large tester events and it’s fantastic to see progress but this doesn’t help the self-employed, one and two-piece groups and small bands that play in local pubs and venues,” the group said.

The group said the gathering in Killarney was organised to highlight the lack of support they are experiencing and with the State pandemic payments to be phased out and not a gig in sight they are looking at yet another season passing them by.

“Music has always been part of our culture and moving forward out of this pandemic, we want to be able to sing and play again and not be left behind,” the statement read.