Soul In The City Is Back!

June Bank Holiday Weekend May 31 st to Sunday June 2nd
With ‘Aretha Queen of Soul’ at The Everyman – Sunday June 2nd, 8pm

For the third year running, fast becoming an annual staple with Soul lovers, the ever-popular music festival ‘Soul in the City’ returns to the Victorian Quarter Cork this June Bank Holiday weekend.
Last year’s soul packed festival saw thousands of fans flocking to MacCurtain Street and it’s surrounds to enjoy great soul food and music. This year we can expect another fantastic weekend jammed with live bands, mouth-watering eats, fun and craic galore.


This June Bank Holiday weekend, the Victorian Quarter of Cork City will come alive with soul as some of the country’s best Soulful Brother’s and Sister’s return to various stages around the Victorian Quarter culminating in the Grand Finale, at The Everyman Theatre on Sunday 2nd.


Following Cork’s very own soul diva Karen Underwood’s consecutive sell-out concerts year on year at St Lukes, Karen now returns to The Everyman with a full band for Aretha Franklin Queen of Soul to celebrate the life of Aretha Franklin.


Karen Underwood is no stranger to Cork, having moved here over twenty years ago and has regularly played to sold out audiences in the city’s largest venues over the years. Karen’s move to Cork is an interesting one and it all began with bacon and cabbage! In 1997 a friend from Cork invited her to dinner, produced the traditional Irish fare and put an Aretha Franklin CD on the player. It was then Karen realised that her music had travelled across the Atlantic and that combined with a special Cork céad míle fáilte would change the course of her life.

She has never looked back.


“If you want to clap and sway and tap and finger pop this show is for you. I was born to learn from the legend that is Aretha how to feel music and express music, unapologetically. I understand the schism of the artist to respect and love gospel music while living in a world that commands you to perform your music and your story more flamboyantly. It is truly an honour to return to The Everyman with this show Aretha Franklin Queen of Soul.”

- Karen Underwood

Karen Underwood performing at the launch of Soul in the City at The Bridge on Thursday 02nd May. Photo Credit: Dave Lyons


Tickets For Aretha Franklin Queen of Soul are available from The Everyman.


MacCurtain Street and its surrounding area, now known as the Victorian Quarter, has seen a surge and rejuvenation over the past number of years. The Quarter is characterized by an unusual and harmonious mix of architecture – from Victorian, early twentieth up to the present time. Strolling through the streets you will get a sense of Cork both past and present.


The area consists of many independent traders with varying sizes of businesses. A mix of small independent traders, big hotels, fine cafes, restaurants and lively bars. Joined together under the umbrella term the ‘MacCurtain Street Traders’ the mix of different emporiums provide something special when it comes to the food and beverage aspect of the festival Imagine a traditional fish‘n’chip shop serving you creole fish taco with chipotle sauce? Fancy a Louisiana style gumbo? Smothered Pork Chops with black-eyed peas and corn bread? A luxurious crimson cake synonymous with the American south or Mississippi Mud Pie? It doesn’t get more Southern than this and you don’t have to go to New Orleans to sample it!

This year the committee would like to put a larger emphasis on the food scene of the festival in order to include more businesses within our area. We are inviting food venues in the VQ to take part in a 'Soul Food Competition'  to promote this increased emphasis on food.
The competition will revolve around a 'Soul Dish' where a key ingredient must be included in your dish- a bag of cajun spices. Each chef will cook their dish on their own premises and it will be tasted on the premises,. Each Chef  will be asked to bring their dish to a location within the Quarter (TBC) to be showcased for a photo opportunity. It will be judged by a guest judge on the day. TThe 'Soul Dish' can be a burger, seafood, pizza its your choice as long as the key ingredient is used. The competition is mainly to create publicity for the festival and quarter. It will be made clear that the winning dish is based on the guest judges personal taste.


This festival is an important contributing factor to Cork’s growing reputation as a great venue for music, food and beverage is. The city entered the 21st century with the growing reputation of a modern, accessible urban centre. This reputation was proven when the city  was given the designation of European Capital of Culture back in 2005. Building on that accolade, the city has continued to actively develop support for culture in general.
The Victorian Quarter has continued this trend with its recent investment in hotel and hospitality sectors.


Victorian Quarter Traders enjoying the launch of Soul in the City at The Bridge. Photo Credit: Dave Lyons


Local restaurants will be embracing the festivities by serving up delicious soul food. The origins of soul music is emotional, soul food eclectic in taste. This is what you can come to expect at Soul in the City around the MacCurtain St area on the June Bank Holiday weekend.


This year we hope to grow the ‘Soul food ‘side of the festival. Several talented chiefs from the Quarters many restaurants and eateries will be invited to prepare a ‘soul dish ‘of their choice. Each dish must incorporate the same key ingredients. There will be judges out and about to select the overall winner!


People are encouraged to come rejuvenate their soul on May 31st to June 2nd. From live performances throughout the Victorian Quarter to delicious soul food and drinks across many venues. Bring your body into the city and your Soul will be replenished! We cannotwa it!


For a full scheduling of events visit


Soul in the City - Victorian Quarter Cork
June Bank Holiday Weekend May 31 st to Sunday June 2nd
With ‘Aretha Queen of Soul’ at The Everyman – Sunday June 2nd , 8pm
Tickets HERE.

Photo Credit: Dave Lyons


Try this year's mouthwatering Soul Cocktail, very aptly entitled "Soul Gin Fizz".


Soul Gin Fizz



  • 8 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 cup gin
  • 1 lime , juiced
  • 1/4 cup rosemary simple syrup
  • 12 ounces club soda - or flavoured sparkling water (such as Fevertree)
  • rosemary, for garnish - optional
  • cucumber slices, for garnish – optional



In a small saucepan, heat rosemary sprigs, water and granulated sugar over medium-high heat. Bring mixture to a boil and stir until the sugar dissolves.

Remove from heat, cover and steep for 30 minutes. Remove rosemary sprigs and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. Can be made ahead of time.

To make the gin fizz cocktail, combine gin, grapefruit juice, lime juice and rosemary simple syrup in a shaker filled with ice. Strain into a glass, filled with ice. Top with club soda/sparkling water, and give one final stir to combine. Garnish with a rosemary sprig, and cucumber, if desired.


And here's what it should look like!