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  • Writer's pictureRodge

Fear, hope, uncertainty and kindness: the story of Monk Fest


We are less than a week from Monk Fest 2023 and to say we are excited is a bit of an understatement!


But what is Monk Fest? Where did it come from, and why do we do it?


For the last few years every so often there would be chat about holding a festival for Cursed Monk bands, firstly between myself and my friend Moss. We were hatching an idea to do something in Cork, but then the pandemic took the legs out from under it as it did so many things.


After that, David from Fraught and Alex from TOOMS came up with an idea for a possible fest for CMR bands. I was always interested in the idea of a showcase for the bands, but I didn’t know if it would work. Obviously, if the bands played it would be great, but I didn’t know if doing it for CMR would be something they would be interested in doing.


It wasn’t until tragedy struck in April of 2022 that my eyes were opened. My niece Aisling was the victim of a devastating roadside accident. She was returning home from school and was hit by the wing mirror of a van resulting in a catastrophic brain injury. She was airlifted from the roadside and brought to Dublin where she would remain comatose for the next 3 months.


Those were a harrowing 3 months filled with fear, hope, uncertainty, and the crushing certainty that you are powerless in the face of the random nature of the universe. A GoFundMe and many fundraising events were organised to help with Aisling’s medical bills. One of these events was what would go on to be the first Monk Fest.


Emmet (From The Depths Podcast) and Eoghan (Slung From A Tree) had wanted to organise a fundraiser gig for Aisling and got Alex (TOOMS) and David (Fraught) on board. They reached out to me to see if I would be okay with it, and I was over the moon! I could not believe the kindness of these people who I barely knew. Frankly I still can’t. The idea developed to include a BBQ, a raffle, and a Molarbear.


And Monk Fest was born.


Unfortunately, one week before the event was to take place my niece passed away from her injuries. She never regained consciousness in those 3 months, but she was looked after amazingly and she is at peace now. She was 13.


The decision was made to press ahead with the gig in Aisling’s memory, and donate the money made to the GoFundMe. For obvious reasons, I didn’t make the gig. But from all accounts it was an amazing, thoughtful day full of laughs, burgers, and metal.


In the weeks that followed we decided to make Monk Fest a yearly event and donate the money made each year to the Children’s Hospital. Temple Street were so amazing to my niece and family during those suffocating months. Anything I can do to say thank you is an honour. And I am proud to do it. Even if it feels a bit strange.


Ya’see, Cursed Monk Records, for the most part, is just me sitting in front of a computer typing, just like I’m doing now. I’m either typing to a band, an email to a review site, a social media post to spam the life out of Facebook groups, a blog post, or I’m uploading tracks, creating images, or making YouTube videos. Just me, my ever helpful wife and my computer. Outside of that, it’s packing the orders, and hitting the post office. And that's pretty much it. I’ve started to do record fairs recently which are so much fun, but besides that and the occasional hello at the odd gig I go to, there isn’t a lot of in-person interaction between me and the bands, or me and the customers. So I was always anxious about whether anyone, bands or fans, would be interested in a Fest for Cursed Monk Records. But I’m not anxious anymore, because it’s not about me or my anxiety-filled predictions of the future.


It’s about honouring my niece’s memory.


It’s about playing sick tunes and helping sick kids. It’s about the kindness of people. It’s about getting together in the summertime, having a beer and a burger, and banging your head!


It’s about Monk Fest!


Monk Fest takes place this Saturday July 1st, Pharmacia, Limerick City. Click here to us know if you're coming, we'd love to see you.




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