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Interview Series: Pete Byrne / Musician At Circus Bar

23 January 2020

1. Pete, tell us a few words about yourself. Who are you, and how did you end up in Ios?

I’m a professional musician from Ireland who sings all over the world & I also run a booking company organising concerts around the world. My summer in Ios is spent working with Circus Bar, which is a live music nightclub in the village – running the music and singing there, and also organising concerts in many other venues around the island. I first came to Ios in 2010 as a classic young Irish lad, on an end of 1st year college holiday & had good fun. However it was a trip to Harmony restaurant on Ios & experiencing the vibes and live music there that really spawned the idea of a summer playing tunes on a paradise island. That was what eventually led me back to the island in 2014 for my first summer season.

2. Living here every summer for many years now, how would you describe Ios to a stranger?

I would describe Ios as a place that people can visit from all over the world & not be judged for who they are or where they come from. They can experience a way of living that feels dream-like and would usually seem unattainable without large amounts of money. It’s a return to simplicity – walking around barefoot, eating freshly grown local food, swimming in the bluest waters and spending hours connecting with similar like-minded travellers and backpackers. It is a rejection of the ultra-comfort technological age and a return to who we really are. On top of this, it is the host to some of the wildest and craziest parties in Europe, basically a playground for young adults where anything goes. For me, the balance between this day chill and night craziness is what makes Ios so unique.

3. How do your days look like?

My day normally consists of waking up, hitting the gym, scooting down to the beach and swimming across Mylopotas Bay, followed by throwing down some heat with the lads on the beach volleyball court. Plenty of fresh fruit and sunshine. Sometimes organising some afternoon live music at FarOut Beach Club or Harmony restaurant, or playing a sunset concert at the amazing Ios Club. Enjoying dinner at one of the epic local restaurants and then heading into the village where the party (aka work) begins from 11pm.

4. What do you love most about your job in Ios? What is Circus Bar to you?

Circus bar to me is a place that is extremely unique, it is a nightclub with exclusively live acoustic music, with musicians playing a mix of modern and old school bangers, chopping and changing songs every minute like a DJ set. Combining that with circus performers, carnival-style games with prizes, drinking competitions, a fireshow and the best beer garden on the island, it’s a truly special spot. It’s hard to describe the atmosphere of when you stick 200 party people from around the world in a room, singing together at the top of their lungs, jumping about, dancing on the bar. Live music can connect people in such a unique way & those moments in Circus are what make my job so fun. I would happily turn up here every night and work for free (but don’t tell the owners that).

5. What does your life look like for the rest of the year as a musician? What are the ups and downs?

I am based usually between the Austrian ski town of St Anton am Arlberg (where I manage a live music bar in the winter), in Asia where I am playing and organising concerts in Thailand & Bali, singing in Scandinavia & around Europe, and occasionally stopping by home in Dublin for a few weeks of detox. There are so many “ups” associated with being a travelling musician – getting to see the world and being paid to do so while sharing your talent. Connecting people and even being a part of their special day. Constantly having to pinch yourself that the life you’re living is real! The “downs” would be that you’re usually working while others have free time (weekends, late nights, public holidays) However if you love your job then this bit is easy. Also, you are always expected to party with the crowd, and if this is happening 5 nights a week year-round it can take quite a toll on your health. So learning to adapt & stay healthy in the nightlife environment is important for longevity!

6. What are your favorite places to hang out on on the island?

I love my quiet apartment outside of the village with my hammock on the balcony & panoramic ocean view. At Harmony in the afternoon for a swim, backgammon, smoothie bowls and good vibes. Hanging with the crew at Ios Palace pool bar for a fresh OJ or glass of Rosé. Psathi taverna for an epic Greek feast, followed by a trip to the surreal waters of Never Bay. BBQ days at Cycladic Gem luxury villa, chilling in the infinity pool with the sickest view. At night you’ll find me on the Astra stairs, shooting some cider pong at Lost Boys or running about Circus fixing the music levels!

7. You are known to entertain the crowd like no other. Which were the best Life is a Beach Party groups that you will not forget partying with at Circus?

This summer we had some ridiculous nights with Life is a Beach Party, starting off with the Portuguese and Swiss graduation groups (who taught us how to REALLY sing Old Town Road!), the Norwegian Russ crew in July, the Austrian football boys and of course the notorious group of Irish lads who call themselves the Fisk Boys. Spearheaded by Life is a Beach Party’s own Gary Ruddock, they polished off more Fisk bottles than any man believed possible & even got their own x-rated song. I look forward to seeing who brings the heat in place of them this summer!

8. Your relationship with Life is a Beach Party?

We started working together back in 2015 doing live music afternoons at FarOut Beach Club & since then our relationship has gone from strength to strength, with the Life is a Beach Party guys always bringing the sickest crowds and events to Circus, and myself playing private concerts at the Life is a Beach Party pool parties & dinners. They are the sickest crew of guys and girls to work with & I have loved being a part of the experience they create for their customers.

9. What are your future plans?

Continuing to enjoy the beautiful island of Ios that I have the pleasure of calling home, while it remains one of the best kept secrets in Europe. Travelling, expanding and always pushing to become the best version of myself. Writing original music and playing some amazing weddings and concerts in Ios & beyond. I’m also looking forward to bringing a new type of experience to this amazing island, for those who have partied their heart out and are now a little older & looking for a deeper, more purpose-driven holiday. One where they can move closer to finding their purpose, passion, creativity and their place in the world. Where they can open their minds, be in company of like-minded forward-thinking people & experience the beauty of the island through a totally new lens.

10. As an experienced world traveller, what tips would you give the ones in the start of their journey?

I would say if you’ve never lived outside the bubble of your hometown, city or village, take the leap and go exploring for a few months. Even if it doesn’t fully make sense why now, it will later. If you’re at a crossroads in life, post-school or college, and you don’t feel like there are any options that light you up with excitement, go spend 6 months living in a different city, place or moving around. Push every comfort zone you’ve built up in the last 20+ years. There has never been a better time to do it and you will come back a more appreciative, open-minded, compassionate person with a different view on the world. During this time, find what it is you enjoy and do more of that. Find places in the world that resonate with you and spend more time there. Follow your gut as it is always the best indicator. Don’t listen to the noise & the voices of doubters trying to reign you back. Make sure you live life with eyes wide open, always humble, being grateful & loving every second and you’ll have a good one!

Life is a Beach Party Team


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