Thursday 22 August 2019

Declan Pierce and Mark Kavanagh among 20 top Irish DJs performing at Keith Flint tribute gig in aid of Pieta House

All money raised from the event at Opium on Friday May 24 will go to the suicide prevention charity

Declan Pierce and Mark Kavanagh will perform at Music For The Jilted Generation: A Night For Keith Flint from The Prodigy in aid of Pieta House
Declan Pierce and Mark Kavanagh will perform at Music For The Jilted Generation: A Night For Keith Flint from The Prodigy in aid of Pieta House
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

A group of 20 top Irish DJs are paying tribute to the late The Prodigy frontman Keith Flint with a gig at Opium on Friday night, May 24.

Some of the biggest names in dance music, including event organizer Declan Pierce, Mark Kavanagh, Arveene, Johnny Moy, Kelly-Anne Byrne, Mark McCabe, and Al Gibbs among others are playing the ‘The Cause: Music for the Jilted Generation’ gig for free.

Opium is providing the venue and covering overheads on the night, so all funds raised from ticket sales will go to suicide prevention charity Pieta House.

Keith Flint died by suicide on March 4, leaving ripples of shock throughout the music industry and among fans across the world.

Declan Pierce
Declan Pierce

The band had performed regularly in Ireland throughout the course of their almost thirty-year career from a spine-tingling turn supporting Oasis in 1996 to a memorable gig at the Olympia Theatre a decade later.

Pierce (40), who hosts Block Rockin’ Beats on Today FM, was at that gig, having been a fan of the band since he was just 12 years old and listening to them on cassette tape.

Pierce  has organised the Opium gig in aid of Pieta House, inspired by a tribute tour taking place across the UK in aid of UK mental health charities.

“The Prodigy were the reason I fell in love with dance music and actually the reason I decided to become a DJ, 100 per cent,” he tells Independent.ie.

“They were one of those bands that stretched across so many age demos and also style demos.  I can’t think of another dance act that are as popular with people who grew up in the dance culture and also extremely popular with rockers and punks.  That makes them really unique.”

The news of Flint’s death came as a shock, albeit not an entirely unexpected one for Declan.  Like many fans, he was aware that Keith had experienced mental health difficulties behind the scenes.

“I just remember my heart just sinking,” he says of hearing the news.

“I put a tweet out just after saying I had been dreading this day for a long time and I don’t fully know what I meant by that but I kind of think I do.  It was the first thought that popped into my head.  I always had the fear that something like this would happen to Keith especially.”

The weekend after the artist’s death Pierce dedicated three hours of radio to The Prodigy and to talking about mental health, as had been requested by his listeners.

“To be honest, I’ve been DJing since I was 15 and I’m 40 now and I don’t get nervous going on air but I was nervous that night because I wanted to do the topic justice,” he says.

He was blown away by the number of messages from fans he received on the night, with some of them revealing they had experienced, or were experiencing, mental health difficulties of their own.

For Declan, speaking about these issues is paramount in breaking down any existing stigma attached to mental health problems, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts. 

It is something which has touched his own family.  Declan’s wife Katie experienced “severe post-natal depression” and speaking about it was, he says, the first step to healing.

“We had that experience of mental health issues and thankfully we’re so close we were able to talk to each other and talk through it and work through it and get medical help,” he says. 

“From my point of view it was pretty scary.  It’s like getting to know someone all over again. But with Katie, thankfully, she had the ability to communicate what was going on in her life and she was able to open up and seek medical help.

“That’s why I believe that communication is so important and if anybody is reading this and going through anything, if they could reach out and speak to their family, or if they can’t do that, they can pick up the phone to the Samaritans or Pieta House.  It’s so important.”

Tickets to The Cause: Music for the Jilted Generation: A Night for Keith Flint from The Prodigy in aid of Pieta House at Opium Dublin on Friday May 24 from 10pm cost €12 for early bird, general admission €15, available via Eventbrite or Facebook.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article please contact Samaritans helpline 116 123 or Aware helpline 1800 80 48 48 or Pieta House on 1800 247 247or you can also text HELP to 51444 (standard message rates apply).

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