Documentary on One

Prince At The Castle

On the morning of July 30th, 2011 a group of production staff arrived at Malahide Castle, Co. Dublin. They were nervously wondering what the next 15 hours would bring. This documentary is the story of that remarkable day in Irish music history. (2018)

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4.0/5 (86 ratings)

Colin McElarney

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Documentary-maker: Ronan Kelly

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Prince At The Castle

On the morning of July 30th, 2011, a group of Irish concert production staff arrived at Malahide Castle, Co. Dublin.  And they were nervous. 

They were there to work on that evening's concert by American pop star, Prince but, although most of them had worked on concerts for years, this one had them thrown.  Because, while Prince was a musical genius; he was also difficult and unpredictable.   An Irish High Court judge described him as "an erratic person". 

Three years before the Malahide Castle concert, in 2008,  Prince was scheduled to play Croke Park.   But he pulled out ten days before it was due to take place.  

He was taken to court by the promoters, who had already sold 55,000 tickets. Prince was found guilty and fined almost €2 million.  He agreed to pay but held off doing so until 5 days before the Malahide Castle concert was advertised.  

And then, in the weeks before Malahide Castle, Prince was having his troubles in Europe:  There were technical problems with concerts in Rotterdam and Cologne and, at one point, Prince walked off stage for over an hour.

Most drastic of all, on the morning of the Malahide Castle concert, Prince fired most of his production crew.

A whole new crew of Irish concert experts was drafted in at the last minute.  No wonder they were nervous.

One of those pulled in was a young Irish guitar technician, Scott Halliday. A guitar technician is a guitarist’s backup: stringing the guitars, tuning them, setting up pedals and amps and handing over different guitars during the performance.  Prince had fired his existing guitar tech and Scott Halliday had to hurry out to Malahide and try to learn Prince’s guitars and setup in just a few hours.  "I looked up Google", he said, "which was surprisingly helpful."

And, then there were the promoters - they were nervous too.  They had put in place plans for handling the crowds in case Prince cried off.  Because, although they had a contract, it only required Prince to appear on the Malahide Castle stage - it didn’t say for how long.   Prince could have walked off after the first song or even the first bar.

So, on the morning of July 30th., 2011 all those nervous people were backstage at Malahide Castle wondering what the next 15 hours would bring. 'Prince & The Castle' is the story of that remarkable day in recent Irish music history.

'Prince At The Castle' produced by Colin McElarney and Ronan Kelly

First Broadcast June 16th, 2018, RTÉ Radio 1 @2pm

Related Links:

Hypnotic Brass Ensemble played support to Prince at the Malahide gig

Click here to listen to Rob Esse's Prince podcast entitled 'Peach and Black'

Prince Tribute band featured in documentary - Sign O' The Times

Hamlet Sweeeney's Studio, The Nucleus

An Irish radio documentary from RTÉ Radio 1, Ireland - Documentary on One, the home of Irish radio documentaries.

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