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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Kellys Nightclub calls time on LUSH! taking the club ‘on the road’

It has been a global institution in music and clubbing for over 25 years, uniting dance fans and hosting world-class DJs on the North Coast. But today, the iconic Kelly’s brand has called time on the ‘bricks and mortar’ club which will see the movement of the LUSH! Nightclub from its Portrush site to a touring LUSH! events company.

The next chapter for the renowned Kelly’s and LUSH! brand will see the nightclub ‘‘go on the road’ and take part in large-scale events, locally and Europe-wide. The Kellys Complex, which includes the 26-bedroom Golf Links Hotel, caravan park, Deerstalker Bar and two restaurants, will also undergo an investment programme to transform the Complex into a world-class family-entertainment and holiday park.

A changing nightclub culture, evolution in leisure demands resulting in the ‘new normal’ alongside growth in the golf and family staycation markets has prompted the decision.

Peter Wilson owner of the Kellys Complex 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 – it absolutely still has its role to play in our brand, it will simply ‘change and evolve’, like many other iconic clubs such as Cream and others have done successfully.

“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.

"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 now keen to ensure that spirit lives on.

“The area formally occupied by the club is set to be further developed, with exciting plans for the site currently being kept under wraps until a later date.

“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.

“We will also soon be unveiling our further investment and summer entertainment plans which will see us unveil both daytime and evening events.”

Peter concluded:

“Kelly’s has been central to the North Coast’s success as an entertainment and leisure destination for over 50 years. We have always been pioneers in innovative developments and are confident our investment plans will deliver a much-needed boom to the entire local economy, securing our long-term future as a family-run business.”


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