A question of taste: Joe Kelly

Des O’Driscoll meets Joe Kelly, one of the organisers of It Takes A Village music weekender in Trabolgan

Joe Kelly is one half of the Good Room events promoters.

Mainly involved in Live At St Lukes in Cork, Kelly previously had a hand in such city nightspots as Sir Henrys and The Pav. His next venture is It Takes A Village, a three-day festival in Trabolgan Holiday village in East Cork from April 13-15, with Young Fathers, Andrew Weatherall, etc.

Joe Kelly

Best recent book you’ve read: The one I’m on at the moment is From the Candy store to the Galtymore, stories from Ireland’s showband era from the 1950s —’70s. Its a period of Irish entertainment history that fascinates me. The whole ballroom phenomenon whether it was the Majorca, Redbarn or any multitude of dancehalls in every sizeable town. They had the best musicians in the country in super showbands but were playing chart hits of imported pop. It was only when Rory Gallagher, Van the Man and people slightly later like The Plattermen decided to stop playing covers and wrote original music that we got the origins and roots of rock and other genres in this country.

Best recent film: At the most excellent Quarter Block Party a few weeks ago I got to see this peculiar little eight-minute film. Dirty Fix is about four lads that kind of had a band in Cork a few years back. It’s a funny snap shot of four unusual characters with a back beat of their own tunes.It will pop up at film festivals, I’m sure.

Best recent show/gig you’ve seen: The Altered hours or Talos shows most recently at Live at St Luke’s were superb. Great to see Cork bands getting really good and both now touring internationally.

Best piece of music you’ve been listening to lately (new or old): Quare Groove is a compilation of rare 1980s Irish tracks put together by crate diggers Colm Kenefick, John Byrne and Jeremy Murphy. All sorts of wonky funk and digable disco on double vinyl.

First ever piece of music or art that really moved you: Little Jimmy Osmond’s ‘Long Haired Lover From Liverpool’. I was born in the Wirral so this was the 1st record my parents bought for me as a whipper snapper.

The best gig or show you’ve ever seen (if you had to pick one!): One of the most memorable ones was Carnsore Point in the early 1980s. It was an anti-nuclear protest concert with Scullion, Tuesday Blue and a mad Hare Krishna tent with great free food. Of the gigs I’ve helped to put on in Cork, the standouts include The xx and Sly and Robbie at the Pavilion, and Gil Scott Heron at the Savoy.

Looking forward to: It Takes A Village has the potential to be a great weekend for all involved with a really diverse palette of Irish acts and a few from out foreign. It could grow into something special.

Radio listening and/or podcasts: MynameisJohn is the producer and main man of Rusangano family. He does these great compilations on mixcloud called Still Breathing. Great musical voyages on each one. Off The Ball would be the main radio I’d listen to.

You’re curating your dream festival — which three artists are on the bill, living or dead? I wouldn’t be articulate nor erudite enough to ‘curate’. If I was to pick three acts then it would be sadly people that have passed. Esbjorn Svensson Trio, Nina Simone and Nun Attax featuring Donnelly.

Your best/most famous celebrity encounter: I met Roy Keane once. I was a small bit stage struck.

You can portal back to any period of human cultural history or music event — where, when, and why? I’m pretty happy with all the gigs and concerts I’ve seen and put on over the year. I was lucky enough to work in Sir Henrys in the hey-day when all those famous gigs and weekenders occurred.

Unsung hero— individual or group you think don’t get the profile/praise they deserve: Bernard O Hehir. He originally volunteered at Live at St Luke’s and now spends a huge amount of his time out helping the homeless at night.

You are king for a day — what’s your first decree? Let them eat cake.

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