Bands and artists looking to add a new leg to their “world tour of Parliament Street” plans may be able to do just that in the not-too-distant future.
Per KCLR, the latest meeting of Kilkenny County Council “heard that an area beside the Watergate Theatre” is being considered for a potential outdoor music venue or performance space.
The area in question, previously used as a car park for Watergate staff, Brewery employees and in recent years as a public pay-and-display car park, has recently been in use for outdoor seating.
Well-regarded local musician and also chair of Kilkenny County Council, Andrew McGuinness told KCLR News “one of those things that was part of the proposals was an outdoor performance space in the area beside the Watergate Theatre, and I think it would be an absolutely fantastic addition to the offering here in the city.”
“I’d love to see our local musicians and visiting musicians perform on it. Any bit of positive news for local musicians and artists at a time when they haven’t been able to work, and when they’ve been entertaining us all for the last year or more with their live streams and so on, anything that we can do to help and facilitate them should be done immediately”, he continued.
Whether the proposal for a space to be long-term or short-term is unclear as Horse Barrack Lane and the surrounding areas continue to be developed as part of the Abbey Quarter project.
A 2017 draft proposal for the area (pages 61/62) suggested the space in question could be used for an extension to the Watergate Theatre itself.
However, with uncertainty remaining over the opening of pubs and venues in the area, including what level of crowds or gig capacities can be operated when they do reopen, an open-air space may be seen as a most welcome addition to the Parliament Street side of Kilkenny city.
Further to the proposal for a potential outdoor music space, it appears a fund has also been requested for local musicians and artists to assist with live streaming.
“Local musicians have kept us well entertained throughout lockdown at their own expense”, said McGuinness in reference to the fund proposed at the latest County Council meeting.
“There may be a virtual tip jar but that’s simply not enough as local musicians have become unemployed due to COVID and may very well be the last of us to get back to ‘Normal’. A small grant scheme to help them with equipment for live streams would go a long way. I will continue to campaign for that.”