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The LiveLee Festival, an all-ages mini-music festival with over 20 live acts will be held on Saturday in The Haven Café on Bachelors Quay. Ger O’Sullivan, one of the events organisers, spoke with Ronan Leonard ahead of the event. Firstly he explained how the idea of such a large event was conceived, “the idea was big initially and just got bigger. Essentially the Haven Cafe had expanded and the concept of running a huge concert had been brewing in my mind. Tim Jenkinson, the administrator of the Haven, was having a coffee with me and Bairbre Flood, the singer and songwriter in Yearning Curve, one day and it really was a case of having  the right positive people sitting around a table coming up with ideas and saying ‘Yes Lets Do This!’

Ger has been building up experience to running this sort of event for quite a while, “I’m a singer-songwriter myself and I host the open mic night every week in Gallaghers on MacCurtain Street. I run a YouTube and Facebook page called ‘Sing A Song For Me At My Gaff’ where I invite songwriters to come to my sitting room and their videos are then uploaded each week. Bairbre and I host our own radio show also with the name ‘Sing A Song For Me At My Gaff’ on UCC Campus Radio 98.3FM on Fridays at 2pm.”

Ger was quick to make it clear that it is a team effort to organise such an event, “initially Bairbre and I started organising the event, but many hands make light work so Ray Horgan came on board later on in the project. Ray as well as being a renowned percussionist in bands such as The Citadels and the Bradley Sisters is also the host and organiser of the Fireside Sessions. Ray is no stranger to events a big as these and his expertise and connections are fantastic. Eleanor Lawless runs the Cork Music Network and she has been plugging The LiveLee Fest terrifically over the last few weeks.”

The line up for LiveLee features a huge amount of local musicians, Ger explained their selection process, “basically we chose acts we worked and admired. We were conscious of mixing the seasoned well-known acts as well as the new talented original artists who are performing most nights in the city.”

If things go to plan Ger and his co-organisers will have put together one of Cork’s most memorable events, “we want it to be the biggest indoor music event ever in the city. It will run for 12 hours from midday to midnight. We will have two rooms performing simultaneously – a Singer Song Writer Room consisting of 16 acts and a Band Room consisting of 12 acts. We have fantastic acts playing on the day including Annette Buckley, The Bradley Sisters, Yearning Curve, Karrie, Pixie And The King, Tanya Louise, Paradox, Lennoko, Cormac O’Caoimh and The Lost Gecko.”

The LiveLee festival will also be all-ages event, Ger explained why, “the Haven Cafe is an alcohol-free venue, it’s another reason why the event is groundbreaking. As a festival it’s original and should be encouraged. We hope to see families sharing the LiveLee experience on the day. Arts, crafts, photography, jewellery will be sold on the day and activities for children will be provided. It will be a hive of creativity on the day.”

The Haven Café and Ger agreed from the very start to make it a free event and instead raise funds for Penny Dinners, LiveLee festival, “we’re keeping it free because we want to share the best original music with more people. I played Christmas carols at the Penny Dinners last Christmas and was humbled by the experience. Penny Dinners volunteers keep on smiling. Currently they are feeding 1500 people a week and each year the numbers escalate. We couldn’t think of a more deserving charity.”

Ger also mentioned how LiveLee will also be hosting a public event beforehand, “we are organising a busking event tomorrow (Friday 13 June) from 12 pm to 4pm outside Brown Thomas, Marlboro Street, The Peace Park and on Paul Street. The aim is to raise awareness of the next day event and to raise more funds for the Penny Dinners.”


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