Harsh words continued to be thrown at Minister Eamon Ryan in the 3.30pm panel. In a talk on the importance of music education, Irish industry experts Ossie Kilkenny and Paddy Dunning spoke about the current lack of government funding within the business. They were joined on the panel by Kevin Nixon of the Institute of Modern Music and Pete Holidai of Ballyfermot College.
Having caught the end of the Communications and Music panel, Paddy Dunning, owner of Temple Lane Studios and the Sound Training Centre, said of the Minister: “He should have gone, ‘Listen, I’m out of my depth, I don’t know what I’m doing, please tell me what you want me to do, I’ll write it down and go and try to do it.’”
“If you go to France, music is subsidised. We’re not there yet. They say there’s no money there, it is there. There’s big cars out there for the Minister – all that rubbish.”
When Roisin Dwyer of Hot Press asked Ossie Kilkenny what he would have said to the Minister, he was not shy about expressing his anger. “You don’t want to hear what I would have said. He is… I have to be careful with the pejorative. This man invariably just waffles.” Turning to the audience, he told them, “You have been let down palpably by these people.”
He was more complimentary of Mary Hanafin, who will introduce Bob Geldof at the Music Show tomorrow. “She’s a very bright person and she listens.” Kilkenny, who has worked with the likes of Morrissey, Van Morrisson, Oasis and U2, went on to issue a call to action. “I do think people should come back tomorrow when [Mary Hanafin] is here and make their voices heard. On an optimistic note, if people fight for it, they’ll get it.”
Kevin Nixon and Pete Holidai were on hand to talk about their respective educational institutions and why a qualification in music can give people the edge in the industry. “There’s no reason why kids can’t have a legitimate career in the music business,” said Nixon. “It’s a bit of a closed shop among the top managers, we’re just failing to evolve. It’s pointless mailing in demos, you’ve got to create your own music business.”
“We listen to what the students want. We teach them how to look after themselves. We looked at where music is and where it might be going. It’s about what’s next, it’s not about what’s now.”
Holidai talked about the need to adapt to the changes within the music industry, a skill that third-level courses can provide people with. “There’s a desperate need for new and innovative ways of marketing yourself.”
Of course, as Holidai pointed out, all this counts for nothing if the funding isn’t there. “If a student doesn’t have the money to go, they just can’t go. It’s a worrying situation.”
A sentiment echoed by each of the panellists – the kids need education to thrive in the industry but the required level of education isn’t there.
For Dunning, Irish music needs a clear voice in government. “I definitely think there’s lots of things missing, The first thing to establish is a Music Board. There’s no representation.”