Saturday, October 01, 2016

Roy appeals: 'Support the BAG'

Kilcullen singer-songwriter Roy Thompson has issued an appeal for support for the long-standing Ballymore Acoustic Gigs which he has been managing for just over five years, writes Brian Byrne. The Gigs bring top musicians from North America, Europe and Ireland to the Monday night sessions.

Roy says the Monday nights in Mick Murphys have been very quiet in attendance terms since the gig reopened after this year’s summer break, and he finds it very difficult to ‘look after the musicians properly’ at the end of the night.

“That simply isn't sustainable, and, if it were to continue, would likely be a killer blow to BAG,” Roy says. “I have assembled a pretty great lineup of gigs from now to Christmas, and I really need to see numbers increase somehow, or I'll be faced with an inevitable decision. I can't book the kind of acts I do, if I can't look after them properly — they simply won't return.”

Acknowledging that there are many demands on people's time and money, and that he genuinely appreciates the support the BAG is getting, he says that support is needed now more than ever.

There’s a full full schedule of the Autumn gigs here. Next up, on Monday 3 October is Suzanne Jarvie (below), with Chris Brown and Kate Fenner. And on Monday 10 October there’s the return of Kevin Montgomery with Clive Barnes.

Before rebooting the BAG in September 2011, following a hiatus after the death of the gig founder Larry Roddy who had operated it for many years, Roy had been the ‘sound man’ there. So his commitment to Monday nights in Ballymore is a very long one.

From a very extensive list of top quality performers which the BAG has hosted over the last five years we can pick out, arbitrarily, Brooks Williams, Ger Wolfe, Catfish Keith, Ben Reel, Josh Harty, Amelia Curran, Thomas Leeb, and — going back through Larry Roddy’s time — Mick Hanly, Mary Coughlan, John Spillane, Paul Brady, Freddie White, Paul Lamb and the Kingsnakes, Gareth Pearson, Bruce Mathiske, Buddy Mondlock, Jeffrey Foucault, Chuck Brodsky and Jim Page.

Countries from which artists make their way to Ballymore include the USA, Canada, the UK, Austria and other European countries, and of course Ireland which has its own very strong crop of talent.

One particularly special night in June 2015, Roy gave a full night of his own music, an evening which reminded many just how talented a singer-songwriter he is in his own right.

It would be a shame to see it go, and perhaps it’s just a case of spreading the word a little wider about an ongoing musical gig gem a Monday night’s short drive from here.

So tell your friends, you’ll meet them on Mondays, in Mick Murphys.