Lorna McLaughlin of The Henry Girls, centre, accepting the award on behalf of An Grianán Theatre
An Grianán Theatre in Letterkenny has been awarded Ulster Live Music Venue of The Year 2018 at the IMRO Live Music Venue of the Year Awards.
The theatre has been nominated for this award every year since it began in 2008, reflecting the theatre’s long commitment to artistic excellence.
The award was accepted on the venue’s behalf by Lorna McLaughlin of The Henry Girls at the ceremoney at the Irish Music Rights Organisation Headquarters in Dublin on Tuesday.
Already this year An Grianán has hosted very successful music concerts by Altan, Eddi Reader, Maria McCormack, and had a fantastic musical celebration of Nollaig Na mBán with over 20 female artists, and are looking forward to gigs by Mick Flannery, and American bluegrass legends Sideline, in the near future. Over the years such Irish and International luminaries as Ray Davies, Lisa Hannigan, David Grey, Beth Orton, John Prince with Sturgill Simpson, Billy Bragg, Moya Brennan, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Gretschen Peters, Desmond Dekker, Glen Hansard with both The Swell Season and The Frames, and Josh Ritter have all wooed the crowd in this atmospheric venue, since it opened nearly 20 years ago.
The award for National Live Music Venue of the Year 2018 (via public vote) went to The Sugar Club, Dublin.
Of the annual awards voted by over 12,500 IMRO members Victor Finn, IMRO Chief Executive said: “We’re privileged in Ireland to have such a vibrant and eclectic live music scene, which is the backbone of the music industry as a whole. We feel it is vital to acknowledge the venues and festivals who support live music from a musician’s first performance right through to internationally known headline artists on main stages. It is these venues and festivals across the country that allow music creators to continue making music and bring it to new audiences.”
Performances on the night came from Pillow Queens, Moncrieff and Inhaler. Hot Press Editor Niall Stokes also gave special commendations, presenting awards to Mike the Pies, Listowel Hot Press Live Venue of the Year for 2018, Live at St. Luke’s, Cork and The Chasin’ Bull, Bundoran.
He said: “This is a hugely optimistic moment for Irish music. There is an extraordinary talent pool here. A growing number of artists and bands are releasing music of real heft. And as a result Irish artists are achieving significant successes beyond these shores in greater numbers than ever before. But it is still extremely difficult for musicians to earn a living. Which is why a vibrant live music scene is so important.
"Live music venues and festivals play a vital role in the music industry in Ireland, giving international and homegrown artists a platform to engage with fans and build new audiences. They also play a central role in urban and rural communities across the country, providing a social gathering space for varied audiences, and contributing hugely to the domestic economy."