Una Mullally: Can we know what we lose when stages fall silent?

The Government needs to put more money on the table to ensure musicians keep going

We journey to live music to dissolve our despair, and now it’s time to properly care for those who create that art and connection. Photograph: Getty Images

We journey to live music to dissolve our despair, and now it’s time to properly care for those who create that art and connection. Photograph: Getty Images

I’m almost certain the first time I saw Damien Dempsey play live was about 18 years ago. At the time I was “working” (bit of a stretch) at a music venue in Temple Bar writing gig reviews in exchange for beer. It was a good deal at the time. One night Dempsey played on a line-up in remembrance of the King Sativa guitarist Damien Clabby. The image my brain stored of that night returns to me every time I see Dempsey play.

Dempsey was at the edge of the stage, wielding his guitar in that way he does where it takes the form of both shield and sword. The ceilings in the place were notoriously low, and Dempsey is a big man. Bigger still was the crowd of mostly men who gathered before him, illuminated by the venue’s cheap lighting, releasing whatever demons they held into the air with fists clenched and tears flowing.

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