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IMRO Live Music Venue of the Year Awards | Shortlist Announced

January 31, 2019

The Irish Music Rights Organisation CLG (IMRO) is delighted to announce that the eleventh IMRO Live Music Venue of the Year Awards will take place on Tuesday 26th February 2019 at IMRO HQ in Dublin.

The shortlist (below) was announced this morning via the IMRO building by Victor Finn (IMRO Chief Executive).

The annual awards celebrate the dedication and passion of those who work in Ireland’s live music venues, providing the public with an exceptional live music experience on a weekly basis.

More than 12,000 IMRO members considered hundreds of venues across the country for the shortlist. Venues were judged on their commitment to providing the core elements that make for a great live music venue – atmosphere, sound and lighting, staging, diversity of programming and importantly, the staff and management of each venue. IMRO members also voted on Ireland’s music festivals, delivering a shortlist of their top ten festivals.

Live music venues and festivals play a vital role in the music industry in Ireland, giving international and homegrown artists a platform to engage with fans and build new audiences. They also play a central role in urban and rural communities across the country, providing a social gathering space for varied audiences, and contributing hugely to the domestic economy.

Of the Awards, Victor Finn, IMRO Chief Executive said, “Over the course of the past decade, the IMRO Live Music Venue Awards have become a much anticipated date in the music industry calendar.  We feel it is vital to acknowledge the important role that venues and festivals play, not only in supporting and providing a platform for Irish songwriters and performers, but also the significant contribution they make towards local areas both in economic and social terms.”

At the ceremony in IMRO HQ in Dublin on February 26th, awards will be presented to the leading live music venue in each of the following regions: Dublin, Leinster (excluding Dublin), Connacht, Munster and Ulster (Donegal, Monaghan, Cavan). The IMRO Music Festival of the Year, IMRO Small Music Festival of the Year, IMRO Tech Crew of the Year Award and a special Outstanding Contribution to Live Music Award will also be presented on the night. Performances on the night will come from leading emerging acts Inhaler, Pillow Queens and Moncrieff.

One overall award will be presented to the IMRO National Live Music Venue of the Year. This award is decided upon by the public, who vote for their live music venue of the year from the combined shortlist of all the regions.

Live music fans should simply log on to choose their favourite from the shortlist provided, by 5pm February 22nd. One lucky voter will win an iPad.

The ceremony will also see the presentation of the award for Hot Press Live Music Venue of the Year via The Readers Poll which is contributed to by Hot Press fans and can be viewed here

Niall Stokes, editor of Hot Press said “Irish music is going through an extraordinary period of richness and diversity, with a greater number than ever of our artists scaling the heighths internationally. What is doubly impressive is that Irish songwriters, bands and performers are achieving real, significant success in places like China and Brazil, among others, that might have seemed too far away or impenetrable in the past. 

“The new wave of guitar bands breaking through at the moment feels like another breath of sonic fresh air. But, in truth, there is a remarkable diversity to what’s happening here, from folk through pop, r’n’b and hip hop to rock. If we want this ferment of creativity to continue – and our musicians to flourish – it has to be nurtured and supported. Which is why the IMRO Live Music Vanues Awards are of such huge importance. In Hot Press, we have consistently advocated for investment in better venues, progressive booking policies and a culture in which fans get the opportunity to see Irish artists in the best possible circumstances – with the ultimate goal that great musicians can continue to live here, and aspire to earning a living from their art.

“Hot Press is proud to be associated with the Live Music Venue Awards, as a valuable opportunity to acknowledge the fantastic work that is done – and the risks that are taken – by venue owners and bookers across the country. With new venues coming on stream all the time, and familiar ones being upgraded, it’ll be really fascinating to see how this year’s awards shape up.”


The Sugar Club, Leeson Street, Dublin 2
Vicar Street, Dublin 8
The Workmans Club, Dublin 2
The Academy, Dublin 1
3Arena, Dublin 1

Rest of Leinster
Mermaid Arts Centre, Bray, Co. Wicklow
Wexford Arts Centre, Wexford
Boyles of Slane, Co. Meath
The Left Bank, Kilkenny
The Spirit Store, Dundalk, Co. Louth

Balor Arts Centre, Ballybofey, Co. Donegal
McGinley’s, Letterkenny, Co Donegal
Warehouse Bar & Kitchen, Letterkenny, Co Donegal
Watters Old Coach Inn, Castleblaney, Co, Monaghan
An Grianan Theatre, Letterkenny, Co. Donegal

Cork Opera House, Cork
Dolans Warehouse, Limerick
Live at St Lukes, Cork
Crane Lane Theatre, Cork
Mike the Pies, Listowel, Co. Kerry

Monroes, Galway
Hawk’s Well Theatre, Sligo
Campbell’s Tavern, Headford,  Co. Galway
JJ Harlow’s, Roscommon
Matt Molloy’s, Westport, Co. Mayo

IMRO Music Festival of the Year 2018
Electric Picnic
Sea Sessions
Forbidden Fruit
All Together Now
Body & Soul
Galway International Arts Festival
Live @ The Iveagh Gardens
Trinity Summer Series

IMRO Small Music Festival of the Year 2018
Doolin Folk Festival
Wexford Spiegeltent Festival
The Acoustic Yard Festival
Other Voices
Another Love Story
The Secret Village Festival
Kilkenny Roots Festival
Carrickmacross Arts Festival
Groove Festival

IMRO Tech Crew of the Year 2018
Vicar Street
Olympia Theatre
All Together Now
Electric Picnic
Forbidden Fruit
The Grand Social
Other Voices
Wexford Spiegeltent Festival
The Spirit Store

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