SUPPORT is coming for southern artists in a big way this week as we head into the autumn release quarter of the year, as new plans for Irish nightlife begin to take shape.
In a historic move, it was announced that 2,000 artists and creators would benefit from a basic income scheme introduced by the government. Over 9,000 applicants were assessed for the €325 weekly stipend which was established as a key part of the arts and culture recovery strategy, regulations and guidelines put in place to help the cultural sector recover recover after the Covid-19 pandemic.
In an already volatile market, the program will seek to provide balance and security to its beneficiaries as they navigate the changing post-pandemic landscape. With the lion’s share of winners living in County Dublin and practicing music, other winners in the visual arts, film, literature and more across the country will also benefit. Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Minister Catherine Martin TD said: “The Basic Income for the Arts pilot program is a once-in-a-generation initiative. It makes a strong statement about the value Ireland places on the arts and artistic practice, both for its intrinsic value and in terms of personal and collective well-being, and in terms of its importance to our identity. and our cultural specificity on the world stage. ”
The program will run for three years to collect research on the quality and level of success of the artists involved. Another ongoing data collection program to assess the impact of a basic income type payment on artists and their creative practice will also be put in place. On the agenda, Claire Dunigan, Chair of the Arts and Culture Recovery Task Force, said: “This pilot project has the potential to be truly transformative in terms of the lives of participants and the sustainability of the sector, and should reduce the constant level of uncertainty. and the insecurity felt by many in the arts sector. I hope it will also give the recipients announced today an increased sense of self-esteem and make it easier to take risks and experiment in their practice.
In other industry news, Irish advocacy group Give Us The Night has released its nine-point plan to improve the nightlife industry and the late-night entertainment economy across Ireland. We’ve covered to the hilt in Northern Winds the draconian licensing laws and red tape that independent practitioners and business owners in the creative sector have to go through to make a living. With this new plan, submitted to both the government and the public, Give Us The Night has examined and identified the critical challenges facing venues and artists in this country – challenges, which the group has shown through independent research , which have led to the closure of 84% of the country’s nightclubs since 2000. Soundproofing subsidies, 24-hour public transport, reduced VAT rates and more are included in the manifesto, which can be viewed on their website.
Speaking of venues, news broke this week of a new addition to the Irish nightlife circuit. “Racket” is located in Bernard Shaw’s basement in Dublin, and will be organized by festival programmers and bookers Bodytronic. With a capacity of 250, it will host some of the best underground electronic bands in the country, while other plans for exhibitions, comedy and pop-up markets are also in place.
And, as always, we end this week’s column with a spotlight on some of the best independent releases from Irish artists. Derry City has long punched above its weight when it comes to creative output, the latest coming from Lavengro. The indie-pop quartet released the banger “Where Do We Go From Here?”, a contemporary mix of stellar hooks and easy-listening pop harmonies. From fresh appearances at Independence in Cork and rechristening as ‘Future Headliners’ by our own BBC, Lavengro’s latest sees them gripping the modern pop landscape from the setbacks.
And we’d be remiss not to mention Susan O’Neill’s debut EP. His collaborations with Mick Flannery have earned him rightful praise and accolades. His first full solo project, “Now You See It”, is a masterclass in songwriting. A wonderful mix of Irish folk, neo-blues and understated pop, this is one of my favorite releases of the year. The remarkable track “Something Better” plays like an ageless classic, a solo builder flanked by horns, harmonies and keys. If you’re doing one thing this week, get a copy on your playlist now.
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