The story behind The Night Summit

This year, the Web Summit holds its very own music and arts festival alongside the main event – The Night Summit. Artistic Director Rob Farhat describes the thought process behind the inaugural festival, and gives the lowdown on the 30+ acts we’ve got playing at it.

Music at Business Events vs. The Night Summit

Having music at an event that’s described as a “business event” is nothing new. But it’s not just about including music, it’s about how you include it. At most business events, you might hear a string quartet playing Pachelbel’s Canon in the background, a solid covers band playing some well known hits from the last few years, or a “DJ” spinning tunes from his/her iPod. Functional, harmless… but nothing special.

At the Summit we don’t believe in doing something for the sake of having it. If we’re going to have live music, we’re going to do it right, and make it worth paying attention to in its own right. Music shouldn’t just be something that’s pleasant to hear in the background, but something that makes you want to actively pay attention and listen, that isn’t just immediately enjoyable but gets better upon further inspection, and ultimately both satisfies and challenges you. Great art isn’t just about short term satisfaction, but something that lasts with you and makes you want to delve further.

Cast of Cheers live

The Irish music scene and our lineup

Ireland’s music scene has gone through a particularly golden era over the last few years – much like in the tech startup world, the recession here seems to have gotten the best out of people’s creativity. Most strikingly, it’s not limited to any one genre or style, and we’ve tried to reflect that as much as possible in our line-up – bringing in indie rock, electro, dance, pop, jazz, funk, bossanova, reggae, disco, Motown, and some more surprises along the way – providing a different genre and style in each of our 20+ different venues over the 3 nights.

In Le Galaxie we’ve got one of Ireland’s most popular and outrageous live act doing their infamous 3D show in Meeting House Square (thanks to Bing). In The Cast of Cheers and Cathy Davey, we have two of Ireland’s most popular and critically acclaimed indie rock acts of last few years (thanks to Dyn). In Tieranniesaur, we bring in the most acclaimed band from Dublin’s amazing indie pop scene, as championed by Popical Island. In TR One and Bantum, we have 2 of the most respected electronic music artists around. In Butter and ZASKA, two of Ireland’s finest young jazz and funk acts, hailing from the great Newpark Music Centre. And in the Dublin Gospel Choir, an amazing chorus of singers that consistently wow crowds on the Irish festival circuit.


And it’s not just about live music, we’ve also brought in some of the most popular and interesting niche club nights from around the city: Forza Italo, Mother, Panda Party, Junior Spesh, Southpaw, and Toejam as well as Ireland’s finest radio DJ in Donal Dineen, and Ireland’s top music blogger in Nialler9. We’ve even got a taste of India thanks to our friends at Shoto, who are flying in Arjun and Kanika Kapoor – 2 of the hottest Bollywood crossover acts going – for their “Bollyween” night in 4 Dame Lane. There’s also Irish trad, burlesque, bossanova and many more surprises along the way. I don’t claim that we’ve covered every ground in the Irish music scene – that’d be impossible – but we’ve tried to put together as eclectic a line up as possible that goes someway to represent how diverse Irish music and musicians really are. Most importantly, these are all really fun, accessible acts that anyone will enjoy – they’re not just for the hardcore music nerds amongst us.

Dublin and Ireland already has it’s fair share of great festivals – Hard Working Class Heroes and the Camden Crawl being great cases of promoting up-and-coming Irish talent. The Night Summit doesn’t seek to compete with any of these, but to compliment them. All of these musicians will be playing to an almost completely new crowd – a mostly tech crowd that loves music but maybe doesn’t have the time to check out the latest up and coming talent, plus a majority international audience who will be completely new to almost all of these bands. It’s a chance for the great acts to break into new territory, and hopefully give them the beginnings of a fanbase for a European or even American tour.


The Future

All of this is just a taster for what’s to come in 2014 and beyond. Unfortunately due to capacity this year’s Night Summit will only be available to Web Summit attendees, but next year we’ll have an even larger standalone music festival, championing the best in Irish music as well as bringing in acts from abroad. We’ll be allowing any band, musician, and artist from around the world apply to perform, while working with independent record labels, bloggers, festival curators, and more to take over the whole city with more than 100 different gigs. Until then, I hope you enjoy our teaser festival next week.

A big thanks to all of our Night Summit partners, without whom none of this would be possible. That’s in no particular order: Bing, Dyn, Spotify, shoto, Badoo, Abtran, Amazon, Mailchimp, Twilio, Adknowledge, DFJ Esprit, and many more. Check them all out here.

The full Night Summit lineup is here, with a few more additions still to be made in the next week. Below you’ll find a Spotify playlist of as many of our acts as possible, plus videos of the ones that aren’t on Spotify.

Donal Dineen:

[vimeo id=”34736370″]

Kanika Kapur:

[youtube id=”JjEjr5oXHOg”]


[youtube id=”ePU7EUQ0Bmg”]


[vimeo id=”72595456″]

Nova Collective:

[youtube id=”osp5e_k_dWg”]

Junior Spesh:

[youtube id=”YlM4ObQ5NZY”]


[youtube id=”SNylrbOJexM”]

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