IF ST Patrick's Day is the day we celebrate the man who drove snakes out of Ireland, Arthur's Day rejoices the man who brought us beery merriment. Designed as a one-off to celebrate Guinness's 250th anniversary in 2009, the event has grown into an annual musical behemoth, where big musical acts descend upon tiny pubs to raise a glass to Arthur Guinness ... and raise the roof with an intimate musical set.
Details of where each artist will play is kept under wraps until the very last minute, meaning that pub-goers never know which act they will be seeing. But, of course, that's half the fun.
Who can forget when David Gray surprised revellers in Whelans in 2009, or Paloma Faith rocked up to the Academy to the delight of music fans in 2011?
Whether you get into the spirit of things or merely dismiss it as a wily marketing ploy, one thing is for sure ... celebrations are set to go countrywide this week. So raise a glass to Arthur (or to marketing, whichever you prefer) in the company of these musical luminaries:
Last seen doing a rather convincing DJing-like-your-dad routine at the Olympics closing ceremony, Fatboy Slim has decades- worth of experience in getting the party started. Dodgy dance moves aside, there's little disputing that Norman Cook is a musical pioneer with an arsenal of stone-cold dance anthems. The smart money says he will take to the decks at Ground Zero itself ... the Guinness Storehouse.
He did a rather neat line in chart-friendly dance-pop a few years back, and Mika is now back with a third album, The Origin Of Love. Critics are noting that Mika is going back to basics with this new offering, describing it as more simplistic and less layered than his second album The Boy Who Knew Too Much.
Best known in some circles as the bit-of-rough squeeze of Made In Chelsea's posho Millie Mackintosh, Professor Green is much, much more than tabloid fodder. Originally discovered by Streets star Mike Skinner, the Hackney-born rapper has been making friends and influencing many people. It's a testament to his appeal that Lily Allen, Emeli Sande, Labrinth and Example all queued up to guest on his debut album, 2010's Alive 'Til I'm Dead.
Known as the girl who covered Elton John's Your Song to perfection, there is more to cutesy Goulding than first meets the eye. 2011 was a rather fortuitous year for Goulding, not least because she opened for Katy Perry on her US tour.
Known to his family as Elliott Gleave, Example is leaving many of his contemporaries in the dust on the live front. This year, the British rapper -- formerly a stand-up comic - sold out a 14-date arena tour in the UK. A platinum-selling album (Playing In The Shadows), two Number One singles and an Australian model girlfriend (Neighbours star Erin McNaught) later, and he has more reason than most to toast a bumper year. His fourth album, The Evolution Of Man, is due to drop in November. Of course, this is Example's second crack at Arthur's Day, having raised the roof at The Village along with Tinie Tempah in 2010.
It's been quiet on the Texas front of late ... but there has been no shortage of drama behind the scenes. In 2009, band member Ally McErlaine was hospitalised with a brain aneurysm that kills 80pc of sufferers. However, McErlaine bounced back from his ordeal, prompting a reunion. Regardless, frontwoman Sherleen Spiteri has kept herself busy, most notably as a judge on talent TV show Must Be The Music. "Most of all, we're just keen to find out where we'll be playing. Just love that it will be a surprise for us as well as the crowd," said a band statement.
Five years ago, at a time when female singer-songwriters were ten a penny, Scottish beauty Amy Macdonald managed to break free from the pack. Best known for her rousing pop-rock album This Is The Life, Amy has just released her third album, Life In A Beautiful Light, this June. She cites Travis, The Killers and The Libertines as her biggest influences, so expect there to be some horsepower behind her radio friendly pop-rock tunes.
Who wouldn't want to hear Tinie's dancefloor fillers in an intimate Dublin pub?
Arguably one of Arthur's Day's hottest tickets, Brit rapper Tinie does a rather neat line in electro-rap anthems, earning him a number one album and a Brit Award, a MOBO Award and a Mercury Award nomination. Dapper Tinie is also a fan of reeling in some heavy hitters as collaborators; among his co-workers are Gary Barlow, Chris Martin, Dizzee Rascal, Jessie J and The Script. If you didn't manage to catch him at the notorious Phoenix Park outing earlier this summer (where he performed alongside Swedish House Mafia), now's your chance to see what the fuss is all about.
If you've been to any Irish festival in the last year, there's a very good chance you're already familiar with this Dublin trio's blistering live set. As our Great White Hope, The Minutes are making stealthy inroads into the UK's indie scene.
Their reputation on the gigging circuit has earned them stage time alongside Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds. Definitely ones to keep watching.
The Original Rudeboys
These relative urban/ pop newcomers have YouTube to thank for their career; after posting the video for Stars In My Eyes on the site, the video has been viewed 350,000 times and counting. The Dublin three-piece has already shared stages with Damien Dempsey, Sinead O'Connor, Eminem, 50 Cent, The Script and The Game. Their brew of acoustic and hip-hop is getting them attention in the right places.
Arthur's Day is on Thursday, September 27