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For those living and working in Ireland, the Brexit border question is a mere distraction from running two of Europe's most buoyant live music markets, learns Adam Woods

By IQ on 16 May 2017

Belsonic Festival 2014, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Belsonic Festival in Northern Irish capital Belfast

Among the latest nuggets from the Brexit coalface is that Guinness crosses the Irish border twice before it’s ready to drink: from Dublin to Belfast for canning, and then back to Dublin for distribution. A hard border will apparently cost beverage company Diageo an extra €100 a lorry-load.

The price of the black stuff arguably does directly affect the live music business, if we’re talking about the craic and how that happens. But the story also seems to find a parallel with Irish music: how it involves both the north and the south and a useful connection to England.

“It’s bred into us from when you are a kid”

Taken individually, Ireland’s two musical legacies are mighty, or at the very least mighty successful: Van Morrison, Ash, The Undertones, The Divine Comedy and Snow Patrol from Northern Ireland, for starters; U2, Thin Lizzy, My Bloody Valentine, Sinead O’Connor, The Boomtown Rats, Rory Gallagher, The Corrs, The Cranberries, The Script, Boyzone and Westlife from the Republic. Taken together, they’re more formidable still, and all of the above are successes across the UK and all of Ireland, and most internationally.

“It’s bred into us from when you are a kid,” says Mark Downing at Dublin’s AMA Music Agency. “It’s the first thing you think: how can I break internationally? You are always trying to break into other territories. And for credibility, if you are an Irish band, you always want recognition from London – it’s really important.”


Read the rest of this feature in issue 71 of IQ Magazine

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