Movement of music: from the club to campus

In the face of Dublin’s dying nightlife, Trinity’s music societies offer a chance to meet new people and listen to up-and-coming artists

With the closure of Hangar last year followed swiftly by District 8’s Tivoli Theatre venue, there is an ongoing conversation about the inevitable death of Dublin’s nightlife and music scene. The city’s techno and house scene have taken a particular hit and it feels like there’s a new hotel block popping up on the corner of every street where a famous music spot used to be. The Wright Venue also closed its doors this past January after 10 years of hosting parties for the likes of 50 Cent and Rihanna, with plans for it to be replaced by Jam Park, a games, eatery and events space. Dublin is a hub of student life yet, without a decent nightlife and music scene, the city is fast becoming a corporate-centric zone.

In contrast, the music scene on campus in Trinity is flourishing, supported by an abundance of societies. From Jazz Soc to Trad Soc, there is plenty to choose from when it comes to music events. Whether you’re looking to play some tunes yourself or dance the night away, music societies are undoubtedly a great way of getting involved in campus life, while never being stuck for a night out with the best music in town. There’s guaranteed to be some sort of music event taking place almost every day of the week, either directly on campus or a mere stone’s throw away.

“Whether you’re looking to play some tunes yourself or dance the night away, music societies are undoubtedly a great way of getting involved in campus life.”

If it’s choice and diversity you’re after, DU Music has as broad a range of music as you’re going to get. For the musicians in Trinity, their events include open mic nights, masterclasses and showcases. However, if you’re more interested in sitting back and enjoying the tunes than showcasing your talent, there are still tons of options. They have genre-inspired coffee hours, quality gigs and guest speakers. Last term, the society hosted Ryan O’Shaughnessy of Eurovision fame. Other past speakers include Cigarettes After Sex, Ron Pope, and the band Interference – whose name might be familiar as their song Gold was written for the Academy Award-winning Irish film, Once. If your music taste is eclectic then DU Music is certainly what you’re looking for in a society. They even have a published musicology journal called Writings About Music, if you want to get into academic writing! With such a vast array of events, you’ll easily be able to stay way ahead of the curve when it comes to the music scene, no matter the genre.

While some music-lovers are indecisive about their favourite genre, others know exactly what they like. Luckily, it’s almost a guarantee that there’s a society for your chosen genre. DU Alternative Music Society (DUAMS) caters to all things alternative and groovy. It’s no secret that Trinity has a reputation for its students having a penchant for the alternative and when it comes to music on campus, the stereotype pretty much checks out, as demonstrated by DUAMS’ success and popularity. They host jam sessions if you’re looking for somewhere to chill out in the evening with music you are guaranteed to enjoy; or even if you just want to turn up for the free snacks and good vibes.

TCD Jazz Soc is another society which organises enough fun events to quench any musical drought. For anyone interested in jazz music and not sure where to begin, Jazz Soc organises plenty of masterclasses and workshops to help everyone and anyone to get involved. The society also hosts a lot of events off campus if you’re looking to escape the looming presence of the library. Trad Soc also organises off-campus events, along with frequent workshops if you’re feeling a tad ashamed about not having so much as picked up a tin whistle since your schooldays.

“A recent Irish Times article claimed that a thriving nightclub in Dublin is becoming as rare a sight as ‘a cyclist stopping at a red light,’ and the trend is showing no sign of slowing down.”

Trinity Musical Theatre Society (TMT) is the most recent addition to the music scene on campus. Founded in 2016, the society is still pretty fresh but aims to produce a large scale musical production each year and both the cast and the production team are student-run. If you have a passion for musicals or want to gain experience in production, the year-long structure on the productions means you become immersed in the experience. In their inaugural year, TMT put on a production of West Side Story to rousing success, and last month presented a sold out, four-day run of the jazz musical Chicago as their third production. If you would like more musical scores in your life but can’t commit to doing the musical production, the society also organises plenty of events throughout the year, having recently produced TMT Day, which provided access to a variety of workshops.

Testament to the excellent musicality of Trinity’s students, both Trinity Orchestra and the Trinitones will perform at Trinity’s biggest musical event of the year: Trinity Ball. Trinity Orchestra who have just celebrated their 30th year this year, hold concerts throughout the year and provide the opportunity for musicians to work together in a group, or for students to experience watching an orchestra in action.  

An Irish Times article claimed that a thriving nightclub in Dublin is becoming as rare a sight as “a cyclist stopping at a red light,”. However, with the Irish Nightclub Industry Association’s 2011 report revealing that the number of nightclubs in Ireland had dropped by 37% between 2000 and 2008 alone, it is clear that this has not been a rapid depression but rather a gradual one. As such, it has fallen to the city’s students and young professionals to support the music scene through the organisation of different events and the setting up of collectives. Trinity’s music societies have more than risen to the challenge; no matter what your taste is, there’ll be something for you.