INTERVIEW WITH EDEL CURTAIN OF COUGHLANS AND THE PAV

tweety stuff @ronanfromcork

first published in @The Evening Echo 2014-12-23

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When The Pavilion closed in July the outpouring of messages on social media, blogs and newspapers from music fans and musicians alike was overwhelming, once the dust settled on it’s closure talk moved on to who would reopen the bar and venue.

This week is was announced that a trio of businessmen all originally from Togher; James Chisholm and brothers Kevin and Aidan Foley have taken on that challenge. They will be renaming the downstairs bar as ‘Pana’ and the upstairs music venue will be shortened to ‘The Pav’, the person they have brought on board to take on the booking of the live acts is Edel Curtain, who has been running Coughlans on Douglas Street. She and her team will be booking the bands and reopening its doors in March, with Pana opening in January.

The reason the owners have got Edel involved in very clear as James explained, “we’re taking an extremely pragmatic approach with The Pav. We know where our skills exist, but we also know when we need to step back and let people with greater experience shine. We knew we needed to get the very best to ensure the reputation the venue has continues to grow.”

Two years ago Edel decided to change her focus with her music career, “music has always been a huge passion of mine and I’ve been lucky enough to make a living from playing piano pretty much all of my working life. Being a full-time musician was something I aimed to be and for a long time is what I loved.”

She sees here transition from performance to promotion as a natural one, “as you get older your ambitions and goals change, I really believe that Cork is home to some of the most amazing musicians in the country and became a dream to have a small intimate venue for musicians to come and play and feel at home. It was realised with a lot of help from those musicians and Coughlan’s Live was born just over 2 years ago, within that space of time we won the IMRO National Venue of the Year which gave us a huge boost.”

The rapid development of what she and her colleagues, Brian Hassett and Paraic O’Regan, achieved with Coughlans Live is what she credits with their move into larger venues, “a huge amount of musicians have been through the doors of Coughlans, many returning time and time again. Naturally, relationships have formed and thankfully a trust built. Musicians started approaching us to organise gigs for them in bigger venues and so we started looking at the options that were available. We decided to set up Coughlans Live Promotions, we are running Mick Flannery’s annual gig in The Cork Opera House on New Years Eve for instance.”

Aware of the great reputation that The Pavilion built up with a variety of types of music is something Edel is aware the The Pav will have to live up to, “everyone that was involved in The Pavilion was extremely good to us in Coughlans. We’ve learned everything we know from all the people that have done this before us. We can’t help but be influenced by it; they are big boots to try to fill. It’s going to be a huge amount of hard work, especially at the start but to see The Pav alive with great music again will be a good enough reward to justify it.”

Edel was clear about her and Coughlans Live role in the new venue, “we won’t be running the place as such, just looking after the live music there. The rest will be left in the very capable hands of the new owners; they’ll be installing a world-class sound and lighting system and there will be club nights at the weekends and a late bar. Our shared intention is to put on as much great live music as possible! It’s really important to us that the musicians and everyone involved in a gig are looked after too. It’s a great opportunity for us; it will give us a chance to bring different styles of music and types of acts in that we haven’t been able to do before. This is a huge honour for us to be able to help increase jobs and add more to the cultural landscape in Cork. To be trusted with this job is massive for us and we plan to make the most of it!”

On a personal level Edel notes one of those ‘life’s little circles’ about her becoming involved with The Pav, “it is strange, I was given a lot of chances in The Pavilion as a musician thanks to Pat Conway and the crew there. It will be a nice feeling to hopefully do the same for the musicians of Cork now.”

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