Guinness, the Irish-born king of breweries, has revealed the details of the company's 250th anniversary celebration, which will peak on "Arthur’s Day" on September 24. That would be Arthur Guinness, of course, the man who confidently signed the 9,000-year lease on the St. James’s Gate brewery in 1759. More than any other company anniversary, Arthur’s Day will be a spectacular series of events around the world to celebrate the brewery's milestone birthday.
The party will be centered in Dublin, the home of Guinness, as well as in major cities including New York, Lagos, Yaoundé, and Kuala Lumpur. On hand to make the day merrier will be music and entertainment from some of the world’s biggest names3 including the Black Eyed Peas and renowned DJ and producer David Holmes. Soon-to-be-great stars such as Estelle, Kasabian, The Wombats, and The Enemy, as well as classic acts such as Soul II Soul and The Undertones, along with D’Banj, Reverend & the Makers, Estelle, Kasabian, Mongrel, Noah & the Whale, Mystery Jets, and Johnny Flynn will be joining as well.
The centerpiece of this once-in-a-lifetime party will see artists and consumers throughout Dublin and around the world raise a pint of Guinness to Arthur at 17:59 local time — a remarkable global toast which will probably qualify for the company's famous Guinness Book of Records. Celebrities including Sir Bob Geldof, Guy Ritchie, Carson Daly, Jerry Hall, and Sophie Dahl will also be raising a pint to Arthur and joining in the celebrations.
But the worldwide toast isn't just nostalgia: It will not only recognize the philanthropic works of Arthur Guinness and his family, but will herald the next major philanthropic step from Guinness.
Guinness and his family were behind some of the most well-renowned acts of philanthropy in Ireland, and to continue this tradition, the company will establish the Arthur Guinness Fund. The aim of the fund is to enable and empower individuals with skills and opportunities so they can make a positive difference in their communities. The company will donate £5 million to the fund.
The Arthur’s Day celebration will begin in the Irish capital, with both famous and local entertainers performing around the city in pubs, bars, and music venues to the St. James’s Gate brewery itself. Thousands of people are expected o join the fun, with more tuning in to watch around the world. One of the most-historic buildings in the brewery, Hop Store 13, will be converted into a live music studio for Arthur’s Day for over 2,000 special guests from around the world.
Simultaneously, events will occur across Africa and then onto New York at 17:59 local time, wrapping up 24 hours after they began with celebrations in Kuala Lumpur.
The famed Guinness Storehouse, the "home of Guinness," Dublin and Ireland’s leading tourist attraction, will be joining in the "Guinness 250" celebrations with a summer festival of music, lectures, tours, and demonstrations. The fest kicks off on June 1 run until August 30.
Celebrations will be ongoing for the months of June, July and August. On weekends, a Céilí Mór (traditional Irish social dance) with a live Céilí band and troupe of professional Irish dancers will bring the house down in a maelstrom of merry-making and revelry each Saturday. Visitors will have the opportunity to take to the floor and learn traditional Irish set dances such as the "Walls of Limerick" and "Siege of Ennis."
All-Ireland and World Dancing Champions and musicians will perform modern Irish dance, similar to shows such as "Riverdance" and "Lord of the Dance." Many of the dancers have performed with these shows in the past.
On Sundays in the Source Bar, the "living tradition" of Irish music will be realized with a traditional Irish music session or “seisún” of jigs, reels, and Irish ballads.
For history buffs, company archivists will present the "Top 10 Golden Moments of Guinness History," including a rare chance to view the founding documents of the company, to learn about key events in the company’s history, and why St. James’s Gate grew to become the largest brewery in the world.
2009 marks the 80th anniversary of legendary Guinness' pioneering advertising, and a guided "tour" will walk fans through some of the most memorable and innovative ad campaigns used by Guinness.
In addition, on three afternoons, a select audience of lucky visitors will have a rare opportunity to "Enjoy a Guinness with a Guinness." Rory Guinness is an eighth-generation Guinness, descended directly from Arthur. A Dubliner and brewer by birth, he is passionate about the great legacy his family has bestowed on Dublin, and can be expected to happily regale a few tales from his family’s history and to answer questions.