Arthur's out and Amplify's in as Guinness axe event
IT'S had its fair share of criticism and now Guinness has cancelled Arthur's Day - in favour of 10 days of festivities.
After five years of the booze-filled event, which suffered negative press about the binge drinking that came with it, the alcohol giant has announced that Arthur's Day will be replaced by Guinness Amplify.
The new scheme will see a variety of up-and-coming bands play in 500 pubs over five weekends, beginning on September 11.
Arthur's Day was established in 2009 to toast Guinness's 250th anniversary and has seen acts including Paolo Nutini, Emeli Sande and The Script perform in various pubs around the country.
But last year traditional musician Christy Moore blasted it in a specially written song, dubbing it an 'Alcoholiday'.
The Kildare singer claimed the Guinness-sponsored event is a "happy clappy advertising scheme" by Diageo to "flog their alcohol".
Marketing director of Guinness Stephen O'Kelly told The Herald that the celebration ran its course.
"We are always looking for new and innovative ways to support Irish music and Irish artists and I think Guinness Amplify will do that," he said.
"After five years we wanted to move things forward and take the best aspects of Arthur's Day and develop them.
"We've taken some of the components that people loved about Arthur's Day, like the surprise gigs and the promotion of emerging artists and made that even better.
"Arthur's Day in its current format is no longer and now it's all about Guinness Amplify. There's a €1m investment behind this to support new talent."
O'Kelly insisted that the focus on Arthur's Day for their team has always been on the music and not on the massive consumption of drink.
"It's high profile and [drinking] did become a focal point for some voices around the wider debate, but music has always been at the core of it.
"The big challenge is that people expect remarkable things from Guinness and every year we tried to make it bigger and better.
"To keep it fresh we needed to make significant change," he added.
Guinness Amplify will include studio time for bands, and master-classes with industry experts including Snow Patrol's Johnny Quinn and David Kitt.
Dublin act Kodaline attended the launch yesterday.