2018 marks Culture Night’s, an annual celebration of Irish arts and customs, 13th year taking over cities and towns across the country. The event, which is sponsored by the various county councils, boasts tons of events and experiences in locations and settings unique only to Culture Night.
With the aim of promoting and showcasing Irish talent, there’s little wonder that music is playing such a big role in this year’s proceedings. Whether it be trad sessions or supporting the artist’s who are at the head of the diversity which has enriched the country on all levels, there’s plenty to choose from on this year’s programme. As such, we thought we’d pick some of our Culture Night 2018 musical highlights to help guide you on your way.
While our list will focus in on Dublin, there are tons of events happening across the country. Check in on the Culture Night website to see what’s on near you.
Lastly, remember that Culture Night is mostly entirely free, with only a few events requiring that you book ahead and just the one on this list costing anything at all. So there’s absolutely no excuse to not go out and immerse yourself in some of the country’s best arts and crafts.
RTÉ Open Air Concert @ Collin’s Barracks (8pm – 10pm)
Ireland’s national broadcast station have taken it upon themselves to host one of the biggest and exciting events of 2018’s Culture Night. Taking place outside the National Museum Of Ireland, Collins Barracks the lineup boasts musical artists such as Villagers, Mick Flannery and Gavin James.
If you want our top pick though, go catch Mango X Mathman do their thing. Anyone who managed to catch them do a festival slot this year will know about the animal intensity the duo delivers their live performances with. Tipped to be performing with orchestral and choral arrangements, the RTÉ open-air concert will be an opportune time to catch one of Ireland’s best hip-hop acts do their thing. Be sure to book ahead. Event details are available here.
Attention Bébé @ Meeting House Square (8pm)
Fun loving 80s and 90s cover group Attention Bébé have gathered a stellar reputation for throwing some of the best parties around. The group, whose members fluctuate to as high as 12 people, are an absolute staple of Irish festivals. The group combine fantastic musical prowess with an eye for all things theatric and love of the bizarre. This makes Meeting House Square the perfect space to go check them out, as it tends to attract some of the most eclectic crowds of people in the entire city. The group take to the very sci-fi looking stage at 8pm. Event details are available here. It’s never a bad idea to start your Friday night off with a dance.
Dowry, Rachael Lavelle, Ruth Mac @ the Tara Building (6pm – 10pm)
Even if you can’t picture it off the top of your head, you’d definitely recognise the recently redesigned (by Maser no less) Tara Street building. Usually a home for creatives of all shapes and sizes, the location will open it’s doors to the general public on Culture Night for an evening of live music, discussion and free refreshments.
Live music on the night will come from a seriously strong all-female lineup; Dowry, Racheal Lavelle (whose new live video was featured on the site today) and Ruth Mac. If the dancing in Meeting House square doesn’t sound like your kind of thing, the superb folky music in the Tara Street building might be the thing for you. Event details for Tara Buildings Culture Night event.
Leonards Corner @ Dublin Unitarian Church (10pm)
September 21st also marks what would have been Leonard Cohen’s 84th birthday. To celebrate the life, legacy and music of arguably the 20th century’s most poetic musical voices the Unitarian Church are playing host to Dublin cover act Leonard’s Corner, who will perform material from throughout the wordsmith’s lengthy career.
Leonard’s Corner perform at 10pm and there is also other events in the Unitarian that night including The Daydreamers Kid’s Choir singing some songs from Mic Christopher’s album Skylarkin’ at 6pm. Event details here.
Laura Ann Brady & Let’s Set Sail, Bob Gallagher @ D-Light Studios (6:30pm – 10pm)
D-Light Studios is not a space unfamiliar with Culture Night events, having featured on our musical highlights list from last year. This year the creative oasis finds its way onto our list for playing host to performances from the wonderful Laura Ann Brady as well as experimental outfit Let’s Set Sail.
Brady’s stirring brand of folk music is poetic and evocative, she’s featured on the site before. Let’s Set Sail are an experimental four-piece from Dublin who combine elements of Western art music, folk and contemporary classical in their written material. This is bound to be a special gig. Video director Bob Gallagher will also be showing off his recent music video work. This event is BYOB. D-Light Culture Night Event details.
The Night Larry Got Stretched @ Irish Traditional Music Archive (8pm / 8:45pm)
As part of a series of seven mini-concerts at the Irish Traditional Music Archive, The Night Larry Got Stretched, a trad singing night associated with Lankum that happens at The Cobblestone happens at the building over two sittings. Booking for The Night Larry Got Stretched is advised but not essential.
Live music and talks @ IMRO (6pm – 10pm)
Live public interviews hosted by Joe.ie’s Paddy McKenna with BP Fallon and Fangclub at IMRO with further interviews and live music courtesy of Stephanie Rainey and Mundy. Booking is via [email protected] with “Culture Night” in the subject line.
Ableton Push Playground @ Sound Training College (6pm–9.30pm)
The Temple Bar college will host 20-minute introductory Ableton sessions with trainer Martin Clancy and a team of producers which offers those attending a beginner’s guide into the popular software. Read my interview with Martin about his career.
Discovery Gospel Choir, Hit Machine Drummers & more @ The Amphitheatre, Wood Quay (6:30pm – 11pm)
A varied selection of live performances in the open-air at Wood Quay on the site of the DCC building.
6.30pm Discovery Gospel Choir
6.55pm Hit Machine Drummers
7.30pm The New Brass Kings
7.55pm Hit Machine Drummers
8.30pm The Ramparts: A Cappella
9.10pm Dublin Circus Project