Kavanagh has long record of success as promoter


MUSIC IMPRESARIO Dave Kavanagh (56) is one of the longest-running and most successful promoters in the Irish show business scene.

Throughout his career he has had an uncanny knack of divining what international audiences want from Irish acts.

He started out as the entertainment officer at UCD in 1975 and has gone on to be involved with some of the biggest names in Irish music, including U2, Clannad and Christy Moore.

One of his first acts as a young promoter was to set up the Castlebar International Music Festival.

He also set up the Road Runner Agency, which represented U2, The Boomtown Rats, Christy Moore, Planxty and Thin Lizzy.

He managed Clannad to considerable international success from 1982 to 1996.

The band took off internationally in 1982 with the success of the theme from Harry’s Game, a song which provided the foundation for a global audience for the band.

He had further success after setting up the Celtic Heartbeat label in 1993 with U2 manager Paul McGuinness.

The label was founded to capitalise on the renewed interest in Irish music, especially in the United States, and initially capitalised on the worldwide success of Riverdance, the album of which won a Grammy.

The label was eventually sold to Universal Records. It sold more than seven million records worldwide. In 1997 he set up Claddagh Records and then Liffey Records, which acquired the Celtic Collections label in 2004.

Celtic Collections remains among the most successful of Irish music labels.

He also developed the show Celtic Woman, an ensemble of five Irish women who have had massive success abroad particularly in the United States and Australia.

Similarly he put together The High Kings, a ballad group which involved the sons of some of Ireland’s best-known performers.

The High Kings’ first album went to No 2 on Billboard magazine’s world music charts. They played at the White House for US president Barack Obama last year.

A close friend of Dubliners singer Ronnie Drew, Mr Kavanagh released the tribute album A Fond Farewell after Drew died of cancer in 2008.

Mr Kavanagh was himself diagnosed with colon cancer in 2009 but survived it.