End of an era for Kellys in Portrush as the music hits the road
Arguably Northern Ireland’s most famous nightclub – Kellys in Portrush – is set to close with the complex being turned into a holiday park.
The good news for fans of dance music is the LUSH! brand will hit the road and becoming a touring events company.
The Kellys Complex, which includes the 26-bedroom Golf Links Hotel, caravan park, Deerstalker Bar and two restaurants, is to undergo an investment programme to transform it into a world-class family-entertainment and holiday park.
Owner Peter Wilson said changing nightclub culture, evolution in leisure demands, alongside growth in the golf and family staycation markets has prompted the decision.
He said: “The past year has been an extremely difficult one for us in the hospitality industry. It has presented many challenges, but with that it has also brought a number of opportunities, some of which have been in our plans for the past number of years.
“What lockdown has done, has sped up these plans and forced us to re-evaluate the Kellys brand in order to secure our future.
“We have always been proud of our well-known LUSH! brand, however, the changing times have brought about new trends. The nightclub business model simply isn’t sustainable in its current format. The market has changed, demand is still there, but not as we knew it.
“We see the future of the club being enjoyed in a series of large-scale events.
“Our outdoor LUSH! events have proven very popular over the past five years. We look ahead to our upcoming LUSH! Classical event, with the Ulster Orchestra featuring Roger Sanchez in October at the SSE Arena, which is already almost sold out to a capacity of 10,000 people.
“We are also planning to restage LUSH! Live at The Beach at a number of locations across Northern Ireland and further afield.”
Peter said: “What we have always known is that the essence of LUSH! is much more than just the bricks and mortar. It’s the atmosphere we created with the people. The cutting-edge music, the DJs, that feeling of family which you simply cannot describe until you are immersed in it. When all of these ingredients came together, it quite was simply electric – we are keen to ensure that spirit lives on.”
The area formally occupied by the club is set to be further developed, though plans for the site are yet to be revealed.
Peter said: “The future looks bright for Kelly’s as we prepare for a new era in leisure tourism and entertainment. We are weeks away from completing what will be a world-class, purpose built outdoor, entertainment space, which will also act as a community hub, providing something brand new for all ages.”
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