07 November 2015

The Red Room: a success story

Ferguson, Holmes, & Henry play for the Barn's opening night, 
8 July 2012

On 6 July 2009 Arnie and Sharon Loughrin held the first concert in their house near Cookstown, Co. Tyrone, presenting Gary Ferguson (USA) and Colin Henry. Three years later Gary, Colin, and Janet Holmes played for the opening of the Barn that Arnie built as a dedicated auditorium. In those first three years the Red Room had already become Ireland's premier house-concert venue for bluegrass, old-time, and related music; and it keeps a firm grip on the title, hosting an impressive roster of bands, both touring and home-grown, and giving enormous pleasure to audiences and musicians alike.

This brings, however, its own problems - though they're problems that most venues would be only too glad to have. Rackhouse Pilfer from Sligo are due to play at the Red Room on Thursday 17 December, and the show was booked out virtually as soon as the news reached those on the Red Room mailing list. Sharon reports:

We have accepted more people than we can comfortably cope with (well over seventy at last count) and are still regrettably turning people away! We had the same thing happening last weekend when the Lost Brothers played: within hours of texting our regulars we were fully booked, we didn't even get a chance to offer it to Facebook Red Roomers.

On the one hand this is great news, but the downside is that we hate turning people away and it's now difficult for new people to get the chance to hear the fabulous bands who come here. We're also having to continually turn down great bands who want to come and play here, as a lot of bands want to come back each year - and we want to have them back, as they have all been the very best of people in addition to being talented musicians.

If there's anyone out there who would like to do what we do but don't know where to start, feel free to get in touch - there's no money in it (in fact each night costs us) and it involves quite a bit of work, but we get so much from it that money can't buy!

Update 8 Nov.: See Colin Henry's comment (and tribute to the Red Room and its makers), below.

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At 10:33 am, Anonymous Colin Henry said...

Yes Gary Ferguson and I did the very first concert in the actual original red room. I knew from the moment I met Sharon and Arnie that it would grow to be the place to play, and so it has proven. So don't be scared all anyone needs is the love and passion that Sharon and Arnie have, after that everything will fall into place.


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