This morning, Guinness gave a select group of Dubliners a reason to drink before a socially acceptable hour, with the official launch of Arthur's Day, in Bruxelle's off Grafton St. Yes, the phenomenon that last year marked the 250 anniversary of the black stuff will return in 2010, and will likely be an annual event from here on out. There's even been a lobby to turn September 23rd into a national holiday. We're on board, but we're not holding our breath.

This morning saw local twin sister act Heathers and Scottish star Paolo Nutini take to the tiny stage in Bruxelle's for short, intimate acoustic sets, performing to a polite crowd of, ya know, meeedya types. By all accounts Snow Patrol were knocking around the place too, though arriving post photo call I can't say I had the pleasure of seeing them.

The reason Gary Lightbody and co. graced such a small event with their presence is simple. Not only will the band play on Arthur's day, they've also teamed up with Guinness to launch a nationwide search for 100 up and coming bands to play at this year's celebrations. The talent search will be called 'Our Thursdays' and will see 600 new bands play at pubs around the country every Thursday from mid July through to early August. To be in with a chance to perform at one of 'Our Thursdays' just upload your music to 100 of the 600 acts who perform at 'Our Thursdays' will then be chosen to perform on Arthur's Day itself.

Lightbody commented "We really wanted to be part of Arthur’s Day this year. Our pub will be filled with some amazing acts and we’re looking forward to stripping things back and playing in an intimate setting ourselves. Ireland has, and has always had, one of the best music scenes in the world, so we’re really excited about helping to find emerging bands to play around the country on the day, one of whom will play alongside us in Dublin."

But back to the subject at hand. Of course, Snow Patrol, Paolo Nutini and Heathers will be performing on Arthur's Day, but who else is on the bill? Once again, there'll be celebratory gigs taking place around the world, with Ireland leading the way. This year, as well as performances in Dublin, there'll be gigs happening in pubs and venues in Galway and Cork too. Confirmed acts so far include José Gonzalez, The View, We Have Band, MILK, Broken Records, Mick Flannery, The Rags, John Spillance, Jay Sea, The Hoosiers, Slow Club, The Maccabees, The Magic Numbers, Sharon Shannon, The High Kings, The Chapters, The Dirty 9s, and Dirty Epics, with more to be announced over the summer.

Arthur's day will take place on September 23rd 2010, with a toast to Arthur Guinness planned for 17.59. All proceeds from Arthur's Day will go towards the Arthur Guinness Fund, which supports the emerging sector of social entrepreneurship in Ireland.