This post is by Paula McKenna and was first posted in the Las Vegas Sun
Our little Ri Ra Irish Pub in Mandalay Place completed the unthinkable on Friday, Oct. 17. We set a Guinness World Record. As I look back at the mammoth task we undertook, I can’t help but ask myself if it was worth it.
Like it was yesterday, I remember the day we were approached by one of our musicians, who plays regularly with us here at the pub, about this great idea he had. “How about trying to set a Guinness World Record at Ri Ra Las Vegas?” he said. “Imagine what it would be like for our little Irish pub to take Las Vegas by storm and put us on the worldwide map!”
His words lingered with us. You could feel the excitement take over us as we imagined the craic, glory, fun and adventure we were about to embark upon.
We would attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the “Longest Concert By Multiple Artists.” “How difficult could it be?” we thought. We already have plenty of musician friends who play at the pub. We have live music seven nights a week, so we have all of the necessary equipment.
It can’t be that difficult, right?
Before we knew it, we submitted our application and printed the rulebook. Our looks of excitement quickly began to change into anxiety and nervousness as the scope of what we had agreed to do came full circle. How on Earth were we going to organize this mammoth task? How were we going to beat the previous record of 15 days?
The planning mode began. Rulebooks were scrutinized, to-do lists were compiled, emails were sent, and calls were made. Music must play nonstop with no more than a 30-second pause between songs. Only 5 minutes were permitted for technical setup between each band.
No song could be repeated within 4 hours. The attempt must be witnessed at all times. And 10 people must be present in the venue watching the attempt. We must be mad!
It was finally D-Day; there was no turning back. Everything was in place, and we were ready. On Wednesday, Oct. 1, at 1 p.m., the first chord of the guitar was played. The attempt had officially started, and the countdown clock was set. Crowds came to cheer us and witness what we hoped was history being made.
Friends flew in from across the country and Ireland to lend a hand, play a set, be a witness and, most importantly, encourage us to keep going through the wee hours. Supporters from around the world watched our live feed and sent messages of support and encouragement. It was unbelievable.
Along the way, there were definitely some hairy moments — when we thought the video footage had stopped recording, when a musician nearly fell asleep while playing, when a band didn’t show for their scheduled time, and when a supporter took out one of our musicians when she mistook her flute for a pistol.
But we did it. After 15 days, 12 hours and 10 minutes, we had broken the record and officially set a new Guinness World Record for “Longest Concert By Multiple Artists.”
The atmosphere was electric, the support was unwavering, and the celebrations were insane! Looking back, there is no doubt in my mind that it was absolutely worth it. It was a magical moment, a time when you’re reminded that there are great people in this world and of the power that music has to bring people together.