Cork Music & Concert Christmas Gift Ideas

tweety stuff @ronanfromcork

This was first published in The Evening Echo [Cork] on 2018-12-20,
text underneath photo.

TID Echo - 2018 Gift IDeas


Perhaps you are still looking for a few present ideas for this Christmas – or maybe you just want to reward yourself! – and as the saying goes ‘sometimes the best gift you can give is an experience’, so here are a few options of tickets you can get for upcoming Cork events. Remember that buying tickets directly supports local venues, promoters and artists.

In terms of music and arts festivals in Cork, the ever popular Indiependence (2 to 4 August) has already sold out of their early bird and Tier 1 tickets, so perhaps a ticket for Tier 2 before it sells out would go down great with someone you know, Bastille and Biffy Clyro are two of the headliners already announced for the 2019 edition.

The Quarter Block Party (8 to 10 February) which is held in various venues around Cork City Centre, features an array of interesting music, theatre and arts talent. There is one simple overall ticket that comes in at a very affordable €50 price and guarantees entrance to every event over the weekend, such Beats & Sweat: A Tribute To Sir Henry’s, Hilary Woods, Lords Of Strut, Le Boom, Landless and Anna Mieke.

The most recent addition to Cork’s festival calendar is ‘It Takes A Village’ (10 to 13 May), one way to show how well their debut went this year is that when the early bird tickets for 2019 went on sale the DAY AFTER the 2018 festival, they were snapped up almost immediately. A ticket to the festival covers both the entertainment AND your accommodation, so you just need to turn up in your car, drop off your suitcase and groceries and that’s it, no tents or traipsing. They have a system of paying in installments if you wish. They have only announced some of the acts so far but they include Gilles Peterson, a renowned as both a radio DJ on BBC 6 Music and internationally as a club DJ; Don Letts, a DJ and filmmaker, who is credited as the DJ who “single handedly turned a whole generation of punks onto reggae”; Saint Sister, a duo whose recent album ‘Shape Of Silence’ has added to their reputation for evocative performances fusing electronica, vocal harmonies and Irish Harp; and Lisa O’Neill, whose latest album ‘Heard A Long Gone Song’ has garnered incredible praise and last week was named by Jude Rogers in The Guardian as the Top Folk album of 2018.

Over the last decade and a bit, many families in Cork have developed a tradition of giving tickets to Christy Moore (6 July) at Live At The Marquee to each other, as his concerts never fail to entertain. At this year’s concert he recorded a song ‘Sail On Jimmy’ live and released it as a single, Christy himself described it as “a stand out memory in my 52 years of gigging, 4,000 people, who had never heard the song before, were singing beautifully by the end of the 3rd chorus. It was a joyful and memorable moment”.

Another concert there that is quickly turning into a tradition, is Jenny Greene with the RTE Concert Orchestra and Gemma Sugrue, (28 June) where they will be performing a selection of classic 90s dance tunes live. Their last three concerts at the Marquee have been tremendously received and are perfect for a night out with old friends.

In the first few weeks of the 2019 there are many interesting gigs worth getting a friend, family member or yourself a ticket to. As part of the Ballincollig Winter Music Festival, The Delines (23 January), who feature Willy Vlautin, one of the most lauded writers in Americana; he who made his name fronting Richmond Fontaine, and then as an author of novels, some of which have since been adapted for film, namely ‘Lean On Pete’ starring Steve Buscemi and Chloe Sevigny.


One solution to the January Blues being provided by The Cork Opera House is two different comedy sketch groups; CCCahoots (31 January), Cork’s best loved comedy troupe will be performing sketches from their much loved characters and new material, and then Foil, Arms & Hog  (1 & 2 February) return to Cork as part of their ‘Craicling’ tour. The trio recently became the first Irish comedy act to start providing content to Snapchat’s international ‘Discovers’ channel.


Coughlans will be hosting the album launch of the long awaited new album by John Blek (1 February), this will be his sixth album in six years, and by all accounts ‘Thistle & Thorn’ is his most complete and ambitious work to date.

Cyprus Avenue opened their newly upgraded venue last weekend, and the reports are very positive, their listings are packed already but one gig that stands out for me is when Malcolm Middleton (2 February), a Scottish songwriter and co-founder of Arab Strap, returns touring his new ‘Bananas Album’. Also a short while later Microdisney play their final concert there on Tuesday 19 Feb.

A treasured gift for many will be a ticket to Mick Flannery (17, 18 & 19 May), who will be playing to launch his latest album, all three concerts are bound to sell out, so buying them now will be a well received gift.

Another option for a present is a ticket from the series of concerts being held in Musgrave Park between 20 and 25 June, when there will be performances from George Ezra, Walking On Cars, The Coronas and Hozier.

Other than that don’t forget, in case you just want to gift a music fan and don’t know their taste that well, vouchers are available from most local venues such as Cyprus Avenue, Coughlans, Cork Opera House and the Everyman Theatre or maybe call to Music Zone in Douglas, Plug’d Record at The Roundy or Bunker Vinyl, Camden Place for the latest Independent Cork and Irish music releases.


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