Guinness Live & Rising initiative celebrates the unique contribution of pubs across Ireland

Dermot Kennedy delivered a world-first performance on the roof of the Guinness Storehouse

Kennedy continued the show in the iconic Gravity Bar performing more of his hits

Guinness has launched a new initiative celebrating Irish pubs across the country, showcasing the role they play as homes and hosts of incredible experiences in music, food, sport, and the arts.

Guinness Live & Rising kicks off with an initial 12-month programme of pop-up music, food, and sports events in pubs across the country. The programme has been specially designed to showcase the unique creativity, culture and craic that can only be found in an Irish pub.

It was launched by Irish artist Dermot Kennedy with performance on the roof of the Guinness Storehouse. Later Kennedy continued the show in the iconic Gravity Bar performing more of his hits, after rising stars Gemma Dunleavy and JYellowL had taken to the same stage earlier in the night with electric performances. Dublin-born vocalist and producer Gemma writes club-pop songs rich with lyrical storytelling and played a set accompanied with harp. Nigerian born, Dublin-based JYellowL, an emerging voice from Ireland’s thriving rap scene, played an acoustic set.

Kennedy said: “I’m delighted to support the launch of Guinness Live & Rising, which spotlights the incredible talent surging in Ireland, as well as celebrating Irish pubs who have always been a champion of emerging talent. There’s a contagious energy in the pubs of Ireland, there’s nothing like it anywhere in the world, and the pub is somewhere I still love to play when I’m home. It’s a place where I get together with friends and family over a pint of Guinness to share stories and connect through music, sports and food. It was an honour to share the stage with Gemma Dunleavy and JYellowL last night in the Guinness Storehouse, two amazing artists.”

“The scene right now is as vibrant as ever,” added Dunleavy. “I don’t know about yours, but the talent that comes out in my local pub is something else. The smallest group of people would have the place on wheels, rallying around whoever is on the mic. I’ve seen some of the best renditions of songs and performances from the people around me in those settings and I’ve been lucky to be in the centre of the contagious joy and buzz when it’s my go. It’s hard to describe but it’s a celebratory feeling that I chase and try to replicate in my performances. No matter how many shows or crowds you play to, there’s a magic in the intimate ones that you’ll always want to go back to.”

JYellowL said: “Pubs have always been a proving ground for young performers and a great place to hone their skills. When you are coming up as an artist it’s so important to learn how to win over a crowd in an intimate setting like the pub. There were so many occasions I walked onto a stage to a crowd paying me no mind, but there’s no feeling like putting on a show and turning that nonchalance into applause. A lot of fellow musicians I’ve met in the pub have become lifelong friends and the creativity that springs from these friendships are invaluable. I can’t say enough how much of an honour it was to have performed alongside Dermot Kennedy at the launch of Guinness Live & Rising and to be celebrating the place it all starts for so many of us.”

Ahead of the performance, the Guinness Storehouse brought Dermot Kennedy together with Dublin street artist, Aches, to collaborate on a brand new artwork celebrating the launch of Guinness Live & Rising and the promise of an exciting summer ahead. Marrying Aches’ customary style with Dermot Kennedy’s lyrical magic, the artists, who each started their careers on the streets of Dublin, merged disciplines to emblazon the lyric ‘We’ll be Dancin’ in the Sun’ across the bridge above the famous Storehouse gates. This artwork is available for everyone to view at the Home of Guinness throughout the summer.

Guinness marketing director Alan McAleenan said: “We are thrilled to be launching this celebration of the creativity and culture we find in pubs. It’s amazing that we have an incredible network of culture hubs across the country. Right now Irish creativity around the world is thriving and with Guinness Live & Rising we want to shine a light on the pub as the heart of emerging talent. We know that people love to discover something new and would encourage people across the island to soak up the incredible experiences that can only be found in an Irish pub over a lovely pint of Guinness.”

Together with well-known figures from the worlds of music, food, sport, and the arts, Guinness Live & Rising also invites a new generation of culture makers and innovators to bring their dynamic energy into Irish pubs. The pub has long been home to spontaneous, exciting experiences and a space where new and established talent collaborate. Guinness Live & Rising ushers in a new era for the Irish pub as culture hubs for the next generation to enjoy music, food, watching sport and much more.

Alison Kealy, chair of the Licensed Vintners Association commented: “Irish pubs are vital community assets. Across the country they act as cultural hubs where grass roots talent have the opportunity to hone their craft and shine. We welcome the launch of Guinness Live & Rising, which ultimately promotes and protects the important role pubs play in shaping Irish creativity and culture still to this day.”

Sign Up for Drinks Industry Ireland

Get a free weekly update on Drinks Industry trade news, direct to your inbox. Sign up now, it's free