Tuesday 21 November 2017

London Feis brings Power to 70,000 people

Barry Egan

Barry Egan

Christy Moore will take the stage at next weekend's London Feis in Finsbury Park in front of 45,000 people. Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, The Cranberries, The Waterboys, Imelda May, Thin Lizzy, Shane MacGowan, Clannad and many more will also appear on the illustrious bill.

The festival's promoter, the Waterford-born Vince Power has fond memories of Moore at the Fleadh Mor festival in Tramore, Co Waterford, in 1993, although he has less fond memories of losing IR£1m on the gig.

Moore, at one point, wanted to stand at the side of the stage to watch Ray Charles perform -- but Ray's tour manager had other ideas.

He abruptly informed Moore that no one could stand there during the soul legend's set. Standing nearby, Power intervened to say that Moore could remain where he was. His nose somewhat put out of joint -- to say nothing of incandescent with rage -- Charles's tour manager then said if Christy didn't move he'd take Charles, who was in the middle of his set in front of 40,000 people, off the stage immediately.

Vince Power, characteristically, didn't blink.

"Take Ray Charles off the stage if you like -- this man here," he said, pointing to Moore, "is the reason 40,000 people are in the crowds."

Moore stayed where he was.

Ireland's answer to Johnny Cash will be one of the highlights of the two-day festival next week; he plays on Saturday night with Declan Sinnott before Dylan. Indeed, Mr Zimmerman and Van Morrison, who plays on the Sunday night along with Horslips, Paul Brady and Hothouse Flowers, will be the other highlights of the event.

"I've worked with the two of them for over 30 years now and they are incredible musicians and they always give incredible shows," Power said in his London office last week, adding: "And next weekend will be no exception."

Power's north London home is adorned with framed pictures of Mick Jagger, Christy Moore and the two Bobs, Dylan and Geldof, with the himself. It is a long way from here to a cottage in Kilmacthomas, Co Waterford, where Vince was one of seven children and whose childhood, Power once said, "made Angela's Ashes look like good bedtime reading".

Full of zip about life as is his way, Power says he is expecting around 70,000 people to attend next weekend.

What is he most looking forward to seeing?

"Monday," he smiled, "the morning after the festival." The promoting legend, who sold his Mean Fiddler empire of 14 live music venues and eight music festivals to Denis Desmond for €40m a few years ago, will not be exactly taking the summer off. He is putting on the hugely hip four- day Benicassim festival outside Valencia in Spain from July 14-17. Vince has secured the much-sought services of The Strokes, Arcade Fire and Primal Scream and hundreds more.

In the meantime, the ever vibrant Power has The Hop Farm festival in Kent, England, on the first weekend in July, with Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, Patti Smith all taking to the stage. Undoubtedly Morrissey and The Eagles will be highlights.

Power, as usual, is coyly cool when asked how much a 90-minute Eagles set is setting him back.

"Half a million dollars."

The London Feis takes place next Saturday and Sunday. For all line up details, tickets, announcements and news: www.londonfeis.com

Sunday Independent

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