U2 have given away the profits from their Irish concerts to charity, the band’s manager Paul McGuinness has revealed.
The band donated €5 million from their three Croke Park concerts in 2009 to Music Generation, a charity that provides funding for structured music education across the country.
Their three Croke Park concerts in 2005 would probably have generated similar revenues, while the band also played two concerts at Slane Castle in 2001.
Mr McGuinness said it had been the band’s practice “going way, way back” to give the profits away but it “was discreetly done in the past”.
He added: “Obviously we cover what the concerts cost to produce and there’s been a profit for a considerable time, and those profits have been distributed here.”
New album on horizon
He also confirmed that the band are working on a new album to follow up their last release, No Line on the Horizon.
“I’m hoping that they will finish the album soon and it will be out this year.”
U2 guitarist The Edge turned up yesterday for the announcement that the Government will co-fund Music Generation from 2014 with a view to taking over the funding of the project in 2016.
U2 stepped in after the government stated in 2009 it could not afford to roll out a pilot project nationwide. The band provided €5 million with an extra €2 million coming from The Ireland Funds, including a $1 million donation (€760,000) from Bank of America.
Music Generation schemes are operating in Cork city, Laois, Louth, Mayo, Sligo and Wicklow. The money will allow for expansion into a further four areas: Offaly, Westmeath, Carlow and Limerick city.
Some 5,000 children have benefited from it either through structured lessons or through the buying of instruments.
The Edge said U2 had decided to lend its name to Music Generation because it would “be enhanced by association” with the band. “In most cases it isn’t, and it is not appropriate. In this case we really wanted to put our names to this because we feel strongly about it.”
He said the band had benefited from having music lessons in Mount Temple school, where they had all met, and he hoped others would be able to do likewise. “We also had the encouragement to use the music rooms when we first formed the band,” he said. “At that stage none of the members of the band had an idea where it would lead. We were just doing it because it was fun. The chance to pass that opportunity on is important.
“There’s been a tendency over the years for music not to be a top priority. The great thing about Music Generation is that it is putting it back where it should be as a top priority around the country.”