Irish Music Month 2023 Set to Launch in St. Patrick’s Week

March 1, 2023

The second Irish Music Month has been announced by Hot Press and the Independent Broadcasters of Ireland (IBI).  This year’s broadcast celebration of Irish music has been timed to coincide with St. Patrick’s Day and will run from Monday March 12 to Friday April 13, 2023.

In total, twenty-five independent radio stations from all over Ireland have signed up for what is the biggest ever sustained programming initiative undertaken by local stations since the foundation of independent radio in Ireland, in 1989. The event is supported by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland, under its Sound & Vision scheme.

Other supporters of the project include MCD Productions, IMRO, RAAP, Live Nation, Ticketmaster, Camden Recording Studios and the Rubyworks label.

With the joint input of twenty-five independent radio stations, and Hot Press as a national anchor, the whole event will involve a sustained month-long campaign to support Irish artists and bands, with over €100k being paid directly to Irish musicians.

During Irish Music Month, the participating stations will:

  • Play significantly more Irish music, in all its wonderful diversity – thereby providing a vital additional boost to the profile and status of Irish artists
  • Participate in a major national talent search,  A New Local Hero, that will involve: (a) the direct payment of over €100,000 to Irish artists and (b) the release of a single by the recipient of the A New Local Hero Award on the Rubyworks label, which will be guaranteed support on radio stations across Ireland – making it a uniquely valuable prize
  • Run a€125,000 campaign (€5k per station) encouraging listeners to support gigs by Irish artists, and to buy Irish music and Irish music merch.

Hot Press will act as a fulcrum for Irish Music Month, with a special preview in the next issue of Hot Press (published March 9th), as well as ongoing coverage as the month progresses and the 25 ‘Local Heroes’ are announced.

The single by the recipient of the A New Local Hero Award will be recorded in Camden Recording Studios and produced by Cian Boylan –  who has worked with Bono, Sinead O’Connor, Gregory Porter, Emily Sandé, Dave Stewart, Van Morrison and David Gray among many more big names, as well as having his music featured in TV Series Normal People and movies like The Lobster etc;  and it will be mixed by the Grammy Award-winning Ruadhri Cushnan, who has mixed dozens of hits, including for Ed Sheeran, Mumford & Sons, Shawn Mendes, All Saints, K. T. Tunstall, Snow Patrol, Kodaline and James Bay. Ruadhri is now based in the Camden Recording Studios music hub.

“Irish Music Month is a huge statement of support for Irish musicians and artists by Ireland’s independent radio stations and by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland,” Hot Press editor Niall Stokes said. “The support from the BAI for the initiative is hugely welcome. We are also thrilled with the level of support shown by Ireland’s independent stations, with a massive 25 radio stations getting involved. 

“Make no mistake, Irish Music Month requires a huge commitment from every individual station. But it isn’t just the stations that are heavily involved in the project – staff, programme makers, broadcasters and DJs all over the country have been brilliant advocates for Irish Music Month. I have always believed that radio has an absolutely essential role to play in nurturing and supporting Irish talent, so it is really fantastic to see that being put into action together, by 25 stations that cover every blade of grass in the country.”

John Purcell, chair of IBI, welcomed the initiative as an opportunity for stations to show the unique power of radio in Ireland.

“The first Irish Music Month was a really big success, so it is really great to be embarking on the adventure again” John Purcell said. “The past few years have been very difficult for Irish musicians and for the events industry, which is why an initiative like Irish Music Month is so important right now. If we learned anything from the pandemic, it is that we are all stronger if we support one another, and so all of twenty-five independent stations are stepping up to the plate again for Irish Music Month and doing their bit to support Irish artists. It is an opportunity for radio stations, which are so important to their local communities and audiences, to show what they can do – and they will really relish that.”

BAI Chief Executive, Celene Craig, said: “Following the great success of the initial Irish Music Month, the BAI is delighted to again support this fantastic initiative through our Sound & Vision funding scheme. This unique collaboration will bring the best of Irish music to radio listeners across the country while also providing a further boost to our established musicians and performers, and offering a platform for new and upcoming talent in the industry. Our very best to all those participating in Irish Music Month.”

“Irish Music Month is a brilliant initiative,” Denis Desmond of MCD Productions said. “There are so many great new Irish artists coming through, and making records that really deserve to be heard – so to see them and their work being supported in this way by Hot Press and by 25 radio stations working together is of immense significance. The reality is that we need to support and encourage Irish artists in every way we can, which is what makes Irish Music Month so important.”

Numerous Irish artists have recorded messages of support for Irish Music Month, including The Script, Kodaline, The Cranberries, Adam Clayton of U2, James Vincent McMorrow, Lyra, Danny O’Reilly of The Coronas, Andrea Corr,  Una Healy, Villagers, Soulé, Mary Black, Cian Ducrot, and current Hot Press cover stars Inhaler and The Academic, with new voices being added to the list every day – reflecting the comprehensive support for the initiative among Irish musicians.

“Irish Music Month is a fantastic idea,” Cian Boylan of Camden Recording Studios said. “Radio play is such an important factor in building awareness of Irish artists and their music. We know from our experience at Camden Recording Studios that there is a huge amount of extraordinary talent making great records here in Ireland – so it is fantastic to see that being recognised and supported in this way by 25 radio stations.”

“In Hot Press, we have always seen the support of Irish artists as a central part of its mission,” Niall Stokes added, “so we regard Irish Music Month as one of the most important initiatives we have ever been involved with. We want to say a big thanks to everyone who has supported it. The whole Irish music industry is behind it – which is a wonderful thing to be able to say.”

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