Wednesday 13 November 2019

'It was John who loaned me the money' - Louis Walsh pays tribute to his late friend John Reynolds

Electric Picnic founder John Reynolds at Stradbally, Co Laois, in 2010
Electric Picnic founder John Reynolds at Stradbally, Co Laois, in 2010

Sean O'Grady, Eddie Rowley and Robin Schiller

Tributes have poured in for festival and entertainment promoter John Reynolds, who was found dead in his South Dublin home on Thursday, aged just 52.

The music industry expert was the driving force behind the Electric Picnic Festival and the well-known Pod Nightclub on Harcourt Street.

Leading the way was pop guru Louis Walsh, a long-time friend of Reynolds since the 1980s. They got to know each other when Walsh was booking bands while working at Tommy Hayden Management.

"John was a young guy running gigs in Longford at the time and he was looking for bands for the Longford Arms and The Fountain Blue," he said.

"We identified with each other because we both came from the country.

"He was bringing a different style of music to the midlands that nobody else was doing. He was ahead of his time."

Years later, when the former X Factor judge was trying to create the Irish Take That in the form of Boyzone, it was his old friend who helped him along the way.

"At the time I had gone to see Take That playing at The Point [now the 3Arena] in Dublin and I was in the process of launching Boyzone," he said.

"I needed 10 grand to get them off the ground. It was John who loaned me the money to make a record with them, and in return I gave him a 50-50 share."


When it came to Electric Picnic, Walsh said Reynolds was inspired by US festivals such as Coachella and Burning Man.

"He didn't want an ordinary festival. He changed everything on the festival scene here. John just absolutely loved music and was always going to see gigs himself," he said.

TV presenter Amanda Byram also paid tribute to the music manager, saying heaven would be a better place with him in it.

"So sad to hear my dear old friend John Reynolds died. An absolute gentleman, handsome, funny, kind and caring and didn't do bulls**t, which I loved," she said.

Her close friend, model and TV presenter Yvonne Connolly, also paid tribute.

"So sad to hear of the death of music promoter John Reynolds. Myself and Amanda Byram were a permanent fixture in the Pod/Chocolate bar when it opened," she wrote on Twitter.

"Always creative, innovative and focused."

Comedian Katherine Lynch credited him with providing "the fun, the cool and the original in Dublin for decades".

Singer James Vincent McMorrow sent his condolences.

"You may not have heard of John before, but if you've been to Electric Picnic, Forbidden Fruit, shows at Pod Venues in Dublin, then you know John's work," he said.

The tragedy is being treated as a sudden death. A file will be prepared for the coroner's court.

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