A NIGHT TO REMEMBER
PROCEEDS FROM ‘MAN ABOUT TOWN’ TRIBUTE WILL GO TO COMMUNITY MINDS AND WEXFORD MARINE WATCH
A CELEBRATION of the life and times of the late music promoter Barry Ennis is due to take place in the town he loved this coming Friday night, the tribute featuring musicians who took part in his first big event - the ‘Acoustic Picnic’ at the Irish National Heritage Park back in 2012
‘It will be an emotional night, emotional for me, emotional for all of us,’ said his brother Mark, who is organising the fund-raising concert with Gordon Barry, Nicola Bailey and his niece Leanne O’Reilly.
‘There’s a great buzz in Wexford about the concert. I expect there will be a lot of sadness and humour too, as people tell their stories of Barry and what he meant to them,’ said Mark, adding that the amount of support and goodwill he had received from the people of Wexford is overwhelming.
In a few short years Barry made a huge impact on the town he loved and his sad passing earlier this year left a huge void in many people’s lives, both in Wexford town and county and further afield.
The concert at the Riverbank House Hotel this Friday, September 15, will bring together members of his family and friends in a special show in memory of the man himself.
Barry sadly died in January and is highly regarded and remembered for the legacy he built up in the Irish entertainments industry as a music promoter, events planner and advocate for Irish music and comedy.
As the founder of the Wexford Spiegeltent Festival and events manager for The Set Theatre, Barry worked with many of Ireland’s top acts, but also attracted and booked international stars such as Kris Kristofferson, Steve Earle, Albert Hammond, Donovan and the late great Glen Campbell.
‘The Spiegeltent brought a whole new dynamic, something fresh, to the town,’ said Mark, ‘Barry was so proud of being a Wexford man and it brought a lot of joy to him.’
Titled ‘Man About Town - A tribute to Barry Ennis’ the show will feature acts including Mick Flannery, Declan O’Rourke, Cathy Davey, Gordon Barry, The Man Whom & Eleanor McEvoy, all of whom Barry had befriended and worked with over the years.
Special guest master of ceremonies on the night will be Barry’s friend and author Eoin Colfer and proceeds will go to the Wexford mental health awareness organisation Community Minds and Wexford MarineWatch, a charity close to Barry’s heart.
Leonard Kelly, from Community Minds, who first met the ebullient Barry at a pub in Taghmon, said he hoped the concert would help raise a substantial ‘pot of money’ for the organisation which aims to put a community minder - a mental health first aider - into every club in the county.
With a zero budget, Community Minds has already trained more than 50 people - Mark Ennis is one of them - and ideally would like to train up to 1,000.
‘We need a pot of money to cover the costs of training more people as community minders,’ said Leonard, who says that along with the Ask campaign, Community Minds ‘is one of the best initiatives around’.
‘The Ennis family would like to get the message out there - it’s OK not to be OK and there is help out there,’ said Mark, who had long had an interest in mental health and did his training with Community Minds shortly after Barry’s death.
Tickets for the Man About Town show are €26.50 and can be purchased from Wexford Arts Centre on (053) 9123764 and The Riverbank House Hotel on (053) 9123611.
Barry’s brother Mark with a poster advertising the event at the Riverbank House Hotel this coming Friday night (September 15).
The late Barry Ennis.