Bangor The Goat’s Toe bar wins £10,000 to help launch live music entertainment


A bar in Bangor has become the Northern Irish winner of a regional competition dedicated to the post-pandemic recovery of live music venues in local communities.

e Goat’s Toe has received £10,000 from national copyright collective PRS (Performing Right Society) for the music initiative, which will be used to improve its live music facilities and promote original music from the talent pool premises in the region.

“Because we do so many live gigs and our equipment is getting old, we became finalists, but we didn’t expect to win,” said The Goat’s Toe manager Mark Ennis.

“We’re so, so grateful, because we’re trying to get more young people on stage and showcasing their homegrown talent.

“The venue has come a long way since opening in 2011, with a focus on live music,” he told the Belfast Telegraph.

“The Goat will continue to support and showcase original, up-and-coming and established musicians at all levels.”

The pub and restaurant host live music from Thursday to Sunday. In December, the place will also offer live entertainment every day in the run-up to Christmas.

“There is bingo on Thursdays with a DJ, on Fridays we have an acoustic singer or a duo. Saturday night we have a full band, which can range from rock to punk or soul music. Mark continued.

“We try to maintain variety. Then, on Sunday evening, it’s open mic, because we want to give to new musicians who haven’t had the opportunity to go on stage.

“It’s hard for people these days to show off their talent. It’s been a struggle to the top [since Covid] but we are getting there,” he added.

People often contact The Goat’s Toe – which previously hosted US rap superstar Coolio – to ask to perform there, and Mark hopes the new funding and accompanying publicity will encourage more actors to get in touch.

“If artists just go to the website and send us a message, we will definitely get back to them and arrange a date. Even if it takes a few months before we can get them in, we will still allow them to come up. on stage to show us what they’ve got,” he said.

The prize funds will further contribute to stage, PA system and backline upgrades for touring artists. The extension of the internal system will also make it possible to view the shows from the venue’s beer garden.

The Goat’s Toe hopes this will allow it to attract bigger bands, support more varied genres of music in the coming year and host more festivals locally.

“The amps we have are quite old and for open mics, some people don’t have the means to carry their speakers or instruments around with them,” Mark continued.

“So we’re going to be buying new amps, speakers and our own keyboard and drum set for the stage so young artists who don’t drive or have facilities will have it here for them.”

PRS for Music represents the rights of over 160,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers worldwide.

According to the organisation, there has been an 84% drop in the number of live performance setlists in the UK reported to it throughout the Covid-19 crisis, from 124,000 in 2019 to 19,300 in 2021.

Its cover-focused Back To Live Music Venue Prize competition was launched in March this year to help inject much-needed financial support into venues dedicated to improving live music experiences in their regions.

The Goat’s Toe is one of six spots across the UK to receive a £10,000 prize, and Mark stressed the team were “thrilled” to receive the funds.

The good news for the Main Street spot is the latest morsel of positivity for Bangor, which earlier this year was named NI’s newest town as part of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

It is also well known for its local musical talent, including the home of Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody, who has been described as Bangor’s most famous son.

“We are excited to see where the journey takes us. Bangor as a town has a lot to offer, may we continue to shine,” added Mark.

Andrea Czapary Martin, Managing Director of PRS for Music, said: “Venues that promote emerging talent like The Goat’s Toe are vitally important to the health and growth of music in the UK.

“The Back to Live Music Venue award has become a catalyst to support the teams behind local venues who play a real role in developing talent across the UK.”

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