IMRO Venue of the year awards : Cork Opera House and Cyprus Avenue celebrate

A massive congratulations to both Cork Opera House and Cyprus Avenue who scooped awards at last night's IMRO Venue of the Year shindig which included live performances from Rainy Boy Sleep, The Young Folk and Jape.

Cyprus Avenue took the accolade for Munster's finest venue while representatives from COH will return to Leeside proudly grasping the the title of IMRO National Live Music Venue of the Year.

The award for the Opera House is the extremely pleasant result of a lot of hard work injected into a venue that was pretty much dying on its feet two years ago. That statement may sound a little over-the-top but I feel apt when reflecting upon the fact one of the country's largest venues closed its doors unexpectedly for an entire Summer not so long ago as part of a cost-cutting survival plan.

The past twelve months have seen a dramatic turnaround as the staff, led admirably by new CEO/Director Mary Hickson, have replaced the drab greys with vibrant technicolour (from the impressive café to the eventful programme launches) resulting in a new energy, bursting with youth and a manifesto of inclusion that has quickly washed away any sense of elitism that may have existed with the old regime. Amiina, Ryan Adams and Bonnie "Prince" Billy are but three concerts that have helped make the past twelve months of live music in Cork an extremely enjoyable experience.

The Spring programme may be half completed at this stage but there is still plenty left to amuse everyone from the kids (Sesame Street) to the alternative music lovers (Magnetic Fields) For a more in-depth look at the programme take a gander by clicking here.

Cyprus Avenue may do things on a smaller scale but the prolificness of their bookings has seen the Caroline Street venue go from strength to strength with an impressive blend of international (The Antlers, Bombay Bicycle Club, Austra, Black Lips) and national acts (Ten Past Seven, Tieranniesaur) making the place a well deserved winner of the Munster award.

Other winners on the night included Voodoo (Letterkenny), Roisin Dubh (Galway), The Grand Social (Dublin), Mermaid Arts Centre (Bray) - all regional awards - and Electric Picnic who took home the gong for Best Festival.
The Magnetic Fields play Cork Opera House on 29th April

The Staves play Cyprus Avenue on 25th April