When BAM and Live Nation won the tender for an events centre in 2014! we were all excited. Having a decent sized concert location with associated services was something that was long overdue. There was some debate about the location but once Enda broke the sod we all knew it wouldn’t be long.
So we waited.
And we waited.
And we waited.
Fast forward 3 years and besides the many huffings and puffings and changes of plans and headlines nothing has happened. And we are all 3 years older.
Nothing frustrates me more than watching a band I like touring Ireland going to Dublin and Belfast and skipping Cork. Promoters now largely seem to ignore Ireland’s second city.
Why do they do this?
Its simple there is nowhere that is financially viable for them to come. Admittedly bands like the National have bucked the trend by coming to the Opera House last year when they could have filled ti 10 times over.
But culturally we are missing out. What is most frustrating about the original centre is that the original Department of Arts €20M (yes million) funding of public money that was originally earmarked for the centre is now €10M.
I appreciate that there may be countless reasons that are holding this up from legal to scope to construction difficulties.
But I am a simple person and irrespective of these it appears to me that a live venue of the right capacity is the proverbial no-brainer. So any promoter and develope should be gung ho to get it in place.
But with the cinema being dropped from the original Beamish Quarter in favour of office spaces and the plans now embroiled in disputes and discussions it does not look like much will happen in 2018.
Every year the Marquee holds many concerts that even though not all sell out have for even the worst attended gig crowds in the 1-2,000 range. This is the alleged capacity of the new centre.
For anyone who has traveled to 3 Arena it is a costly exercise as unless you want to go up and down in one day (which is possible) a hotel is required so a concert for two doesn’t get much change out of €300-400.
With an event center we would capture an audience that has a huge interest in music and all things cultural that aren’t traveling anymore and the knock-on benefits to the city in food, drink, and accommodation.
At its simplest level, the delays mean a whole age group of teenagers and young twenties will never get the chance to see a large concert in Cork as 4-5 years will have passed where the Marquee (with it age restrictions on most nights) only happens for all too brief few weeks in the summer.