National Concert Hall and broader horizons?
Sir, – In the words of National Concert Hall (NCH) director Simon Taylor ,“The National Concert Hall is changing its programming direction to embrace a broader church approach to include a more diverse line-up covering a wider variety of music spectrums” (Ian Maleney, “National Concert Hall broadens its horizons”, May 2nd).
As the NCH’s biggest commercial promoter, I have had harsh words with the hall’s management team over this change of direction. Principally, because it has affected my ability to obtain prime dates to present new shows. For your readers who may not be aware, Pat Egan Management presents up to 25 shows at the NCH on an annual basis. Everything from tabloid opera to musical celebrations and tributes of some of the world’s great acts. We have also presented major names from Colm Wilkinson to Elaine Paige to Sir George Martin and recently Elvis Presley’s original TCB band. The list goes on.
Our shows have a 90 per cent capacity rate and in the last 12 months alone left close to €700,000 at the box office. At our shows, the bars and the restaurant are always buzzing. On a recent Sunday we had close to 1,000 people in for Finbar Wright. Our Pavarotti tribute show will be close to a sell-out. The Swing Cats show is a sell-out. These are the type of shows the concert hall audience comes in droves to see. They want popular music shows. The NCH’s self-promoted jazz, world music and roots-type shows are not a commercial runner and will end up losing taxpayers’ money. The venue should stick to running what it knows best, which is classics and opera.
The assertion that this new direction will open the door to a greater number of new fans is well wide of the mark. It will in fact create a drawbridge whereby the venue will become even more sheltered, elitist and marginalised. Take my word for it, based on my 46 years as a promoter, revenues will drop and the hall’s ambition to appeal to all music fans will diminish further. – Yours, etc,
Pat Egan Management,
Merchants Court,Dublin 8.