By Mags Blackburn

Coughlan’s Live launched their 3rd annual festival last night, Friday 25th in a garden party like atmosphere. The sun was shining and the blues was playing come 6 o’clock when it kicked off with Clare Sands and Eleanor Healy opening proceedings. The girls brought some summery blues to the evening with covers of ‘You’re the one that I want’ and ‘Satisfaction’ as well as originals by the Cork based singer. The complimentary wine was flowing and with a full house of well known musicians from Cork and beyond.

Fred’s Joe O’Leary took to the stage to announce this year’s line-up, or as he put it ‘I’m here to announce the announcement’. He spoke passionately about Coughlan’s Live saying ‘this is an amazing venue, the way gigs should be and the way you want to see gigs’. The lead up was worth it when the video began to play with Coughlan’s regulars John Blek and the Rats the first act announced. They were followed by Hand on my Heart, The Hot Sprockets, Malojian, Mick Flannery, Anna Mitchell, I Draw Slow, Wallis Bird and Jerry Fish. That’s just to start, more acts will be announced over the next few weeks before the Festival takes place September 24-29th.

The announcement was followed by the Sligo/Dublin quartet Old Hannah who leapt on stage to begin their set. Now I’ve heard that country music is popular up north but something must have gotten confused in translation because they play bluegrass in Sligo. And it would seem from the way Old Hannah performed that this music was native to them as they foot tapped their way through a lively set leaving the title track of their EP ‘Irish Boys’ until almost the end. The Calvinists were up next and with a jam packed stage of six musicians it was a riotous and celebratory affair. With touches of Americana and what would easily fit onto a ‘True Detective’ soundtrack their set was loud, energetic and had everyone grooving into the wee hours of the morning.

Speaking to organiser Edel Curtain she explained how this year’s festival will be a full bar experience with free gigs and a silent disco taking place in Penny Lane as well. She also spoke of their surprise at winning the IMRO award for Venue of the Year. ‘It was a total shock. It was the first year we were eligible to be considered and we fully expected somewhere like Vicar Street to get it’, she said. ‘But then we were announced and everyone from all the Cork venues came up to congratulate us with hugs and drinks. And that’s what the Cork scene is, very supportive of each other’, she added. Her comments come as news of the closure of The Pavillion hit Cork earlier this week. From the turnout last night the Cork music scene is in safe hands.