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‘I knew promoters in my early days who mortgaged their home to run gigs’

Pat Egan is one of Ireland’s top concert promoters. He grew up in relative poverty in Eccles Place in Dublin’s north inner city and now lives in Kildare with his wife. Throughout his music career of more than 50 years, he has worked with celebrities such as Billy Connolly, Van Morrison, U2 and Eric Clapton. He has just released his memoir, Backstage Pass: A Life in Show Business.

What’s the most important lesson about money that your career as a concert promoter has taught you?

You must reinvest the large share of any profits because chances are your next gig will bomb – and without a strong bank account, you are in serious trouble. I knew promoters in my early days who mortgaged their home to run gigs!

What has the coronavirus crisis taught you about money?

That you need healthy cash reserves for any business to survive a crisis. Who would ever have imagined the entertainment business going into a two-year lockdown? It’s bleak out there now for the live music sector and the number of musicians suffering is growing every day.

Best advice you got about money?

My mentor Oliver Barry always said to take your own cut off the top of any deal before paying out the balance.

What’s the most expensive thing about being a parent?

Your children regardless of age will always be your children. Supporting them is lifelong and if you can afford to do it, it brings endless joy.

Do you still carry cash?

I think if you’re my age (which is 75), it’s hard to operate without cash. The cards make life easy but the cash will always feel better.

What’s the most you’d pay for a bottle of wine?

A maximum of €20 if it’s for home, €50 if it’s in a restaurant.

What’s your favourite coin or note?

The €1 coin for the shopping trolley and a €500 note for a big night on the town.

If you could design your own euro note, who would you put on it?

The Beatles — because no other act will ever again achieve the same heights of popularity or come near producing the sheer quality and magic of their music.

What’s the most expensive place you have ever visited?

London is now one of the costly cities to visit. A hotel I stayed in near Marble Arch 10 years ago cost £200 a night – it’s now almost £700.

Your biggest financial mistake?

Not putting £100 on all the winners I bet on for comedian Freddie Starr.

Are you a spender or a saver?

I am a saver but every time I build up a decent few quid, some big bill falls due and I have to start all over again.

The last thing you bought online?

A piece of rock’n’roll memorabilia of Dusty Springfield – my favourite
female artist.

Do you ever haggle?

I only haggle at car boot sales or antique fairs. I bought an original Academy Award nomination plaque for a movie called See You At The Pillar at Mother Redcaps market for IR£40. Very few Irish filmmakers in the 1960s were nominated for Academy Awards. It is very special.

Your favourite song about money?

Money’s Too Tight to Mention by Simply Red.

The last thing you bought online?

A stuffed donkey from the Donkey Sanctuary for my grandson Beau.

What was your worst job?

Counting hundreds of bags of washers when working as a junior stock control clerk in a hardware company at the age of 16.

What three things could you not do without if tightening your belt?

A pint of Guinness. The Sunday Independent. A roll with honey.

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