Artists say 'roll-up rollup' for The Marquee

WHILE the Live at the Marquee festival may have the pulling power to attract a wealth of top international acts, the fact that it has also played host to some of Ireland's top artists should not be overlooked.

In previous years artists such as Paddy Casey, Van Morrison, Damien Dempsey, The Frames, Tommy Tiernan and, of course, Christy Moore have graced the stage of the Docklands venue.

This year will also see some of Ireland's finest performers take to the stage, two of whom, Des Bishop and Bell X1, have already savoured the special atmosphere of the festival, selling out Marquee gigs in 2006 and 2007 respectively.

Paul Noonan, lead singer with Bell X1, who this year released their fourth album, Blue Lights On the Runway, told The Corkman that the band was thrilled to be asked to asked to play the venue again.

"Without doubt, the Marquee gig in 2007 was one of the best gigs of our entire Flock tour. We had played venues like The Lobby, The Savoy and the Opera House, but being asked to play the Marquee was a crowning moment for us," said Paul.

"We were thrilled to be asked back again, particularly when you look at the line-up for this year. The last time we played the night after Status Quo and you could almost feel the vibe coming from the walls of the tent," he added.

Des Bishop said he was looking forward to returning to play Cork, the city he proudly calls his spiritual home.

"I cut my teeth in Cork during the 1990s so the city has, and always will have, a very special place in my life. It's where my heart is, the place I stopped drinking and was reborn, and I'm not just saying that because I have 4,000 tickets to sell," he laughed.

"The fact that I am playing the Marquee alongside so many other amazing acts adds an extra bit of excitement," he added.

Mikey Graham of Boyzone said the band were looking forward to their first Cork gig on Leeside for 15 years.

"The last time we played the city was in Liberty Hall in front of about 700 people in 1994. It really is a huge pleasure for all the band to be asked back to Cork to play at such a prestigious event," he said.

Two of Cork's finest, John Spillane and Mick Flannery, will share the bill for the penultimate gig of the festival; a prospect that the notoriously shy Mick admitted he found "daunting.

"In many ways I have drifted into this career and still have to pinch myself regularly to make sure I am not imagining it all," he admitted.

"John has been at this a lot longer than I have, so it is great to know that he will be there on the night with plenty of words of encouragement. The idea is that we will play two separate sets, but hopefully we will get the chance to sing together as well," said Mick.

John said he was "extremely excited " at the prospect of playing in front of a home crowd at the Marquee.

"To be fair I think both Mick and I were surprised to be asked to play the venue, particularly when you consider the calibre of acts who have played there before," he said.

"That said, we have both enjoyed success and sold albums in recent years, so why not? One thing is for sure, it promises to be a magical night for both of us," he added.