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Ireland’s 2013 Festival & Events

Year in Review

Supporting Networking Training

Contents / Credits Contents / Credits. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 The AOIFE Vision, Mission and Strategic Goals. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Message from our Chairperson and Minister . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Foreword from Minister Ring and Minister Deenihan. . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Irish Festivals & Events Sector Snapshot. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 A Year in Festivals by Mark Graham. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 IFEA Europe. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 FESTudy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 European Festival Association. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Insurance Explained for Festival & Event Organisers. . . . . . . . . . . 15 What did AOIFE do for the Sector in 2013?. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 The Average Festival Event Profile. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Placement Partnering. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Northern Ireland Festival & Events: A New Approcach. . . . . . . . . . 21 Profiles in Courage Antrim: Belfast Photo Festival. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Armagh: John Hewitt International Summer School. . . . . . . . . . . 25 Derry: 2D Comics Festival. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Down: Sunflower Festival . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 Fermanagh: St Patrick’s Festival . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Tyrone: William Carleton Society Summer School. . . . . . . . . . . . 30 Voluntary Arts Ireland. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Cavan: Virginia Pumpkin Festival. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 Carlow: Bagenalstown Floral Festival. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Clare: Ennis Food Festival. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Cork: Irish Redhead Convention. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Cork: Cape Clear Storytelling Festival. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 37 Donegal: Rathmullan Community Festival. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39

Thanks to all our Contributors, Photographers, Festival PRO’s and Corporate Advertisers.

Dublin: 10 Days in Dublin. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Galway: Cúirt International Festival of Literature. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42 Kerry: Charlie Chaplin Comedy Festival. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Kilkenny: Last Rose of Summer Festival. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Kildare: Gerard Manley Hopkins International Literary Festival. . 46 Laois: Durrow Scarecrow Festival. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Leitrim: Phase One Electronic Music Festival. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49 Limerick: City of Culture. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 Longford: Aisling Children’s Art Festival . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 Louth: Vantastival. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 53 Mayo: Ballina Salmon Festival. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 54 Meath: Scurlogstown Olympiad Traditional Haymaking Festival. 55 Monaghan: Country Music Festival. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 57 Offaly: Tullamore Show & AIB National Livestock Show . . . . . . . 58 Roscommon: Roscommon Lamb Festival. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 Sligo: Sligo Live Music Festival. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 Tipperary: Terryglass Arts Festival. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 62 Waterford: Ardmore Pattern Festival. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63 Westmeath: A Knighthood for Dinner. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65 Wexford: John Barry Maritime Festival. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 66 Wicklow: Arklow Seabreeze Festival. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67 Directory. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 69 Carlton Hotel Group Best of Marketing Awards. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70 Financial Overview. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74 AOIFE Team 2013. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 75 Training / Mentoring Clients & Partners. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76 AOIFE: Reeling in the Years. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 77

Supported by:

Editor: Colm Croffy Deputy Editor: Pamela Ryan Don’t see your Festival or Event mentioned here? Then join AOIFE today to be included in next year’s edition.

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The AOIFE Vision, Mission and Strategic Goals In recognition of the market in which AOIFE works, and the members, stakeholders and clients which AOIFE aims to serve, AOIFE has developed the following aims: Sectoral Vision A vibrant, sustainable, safe festival and events sector in Ireland. Organisational Vision A vibrant, sustainable, professional organisation, recognised locally, nationally and internationally for its expertise, representation of its membership and useful to both its membership, and others in the festival and events sector. Mission AOIFE aims to make festivals in Ireland entertaining, safe and financially sustainable by helping festival organisers develop both themselves and their festivals through implementing programmes of development for festival organisers, and by seeking support for the work of festival organisers from all communities. AOIFE Aims To achieve its vision of a vibrant, sustainable festival sector all over Ireland, AOIFE aspires: • To improve the festival experience by training festival organisers to make festivals safer, more marketable, financially sustainable and fun for festival goers • To facilitate networking in the festival sector by encouraging exchange of information, best practice and experiences among festival organisers, festival goers and industry suppliers • To increase tourism on the island of Ireland by encouraging an integrated approach among festival organisers, associated hospitality providers, and other support agencies • To celebrate cultural diversity, champion the value of volunteerism, and enhance the quality of life on the island of Ireland through the medium of festivals • To represent the needs and aspiration of Irish festivals, locally, nationally and internationally • To assist in the development of world-class Irish festivals, and to heighten the profile of festivals both in Ireland and abroad. AOIFE is owned by its Festival Membership, governed by a Constitution and overseen by a democratically elected National Executive drawn from the elements of Membership. AOIFE Ltd. is the not-for-profit trading company established by the Association to manage the services required by the Network. AOIFE Membership Categories include: Individual, Festival/Event Member, Corporate, Associate, Student and International. Total AOIFE Membership is appox. 450 members.

AOIFE welcomes everyone in the NOT FOR PROFIT Festival and Event Sector

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Message from our Chairperson and Minister’s Foreword While it has been an encouraging year in terms of tourism numbers, and those attending festivals, and The Gathering Initiative has seen festivals gain a higher profile, there is no doubt that the sector is experiencing perhaps the most adverse conditions for some time. Ireland offers approximately 30 festival events a day, over a calendar year. Research constantly indicates that festivals prove their worth; they attract local and national and international publicity, bring a feel-good factor to their locality, highlight all sectors of the arts, are well organised and give great value for money. Seven out of every €10 spent by festivals is invested back into the local economy. For the majority of people living in Ireland, their primary access to the arts is through festivals.

A message from Miriam Dunne AOIFE Chairperson Welcome to the AOIFE Irish Festivals and Events 2013 Review. We hope it will offer those working in the sector a reference point, and a go-to place for support and advice, as we continue to try and sustain the sector in what are very challenging times.

Despite facts such as these, festivals continue to be squeezed, harder than ever, including financially and through cutbacks in resources. There seems to be a distinct lack of silver linings in the particularly black clouds currently hanging over us. While we have seen a few new festivals emerge over the last couple of years, we have also seen a lot of them disappear, and others literally hanging on, mainly through the work of dedicated staff and volunteers working long, hard hours to make events happen.

As Minister of Culture, Arts and Leisure for the North, I feel it’s increasingly important to recognise the role that community festivals play in facilitating local communities across Ireland to celebrate our social and cultural heritage along with the talents of our people. Not only do they entertain us, educate us and enrich our lives, but they also have the capacity to be a vital tool in helping to promote equality and tackle poverty and social exclusion by providing opportunities to reach out to those members of society that are forgotten or sidelined and offer them a way to reconnect and get involved.

A message from Carál Ní Chuilín, MLA, Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure

Community festivals of all sizes have a magnificent capacity to encourage and inspire local people to make things happen. They instil a sense of belonging amongst organisers, performers and audiences and playa key role in knitting together the fabric of communities. Through the Community Festivals Fund my Department, along with local Councils, has supported a wide variety of community based festivals, both small and large, throughout the


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AOIFE constantly makes sure that the essential message gets across; that the work the festival sector does is meaningful, socially, culturally and economically. If festivals were to disappear from our island overnight, the landscape would be a very bleak place indeed. In order to sustain what we already have and have any chance of creating new events with a meaningful future, investment is needed, not just financially, but in on the ground resources, training and support. The Association of Irish Festival Events owes a large debt of gratitude to the AOIFE team who delivered both this report, and on delivering AOIFE services throughout the year. We owe particular thanks to Executive Director Colm Croffy, to all our staff and interns, as well as the National Executive. The Sector’s gratitude is extended to our corporate suppliers, sponsors, our funding partner, Fáilte Ireland and especially to our print partners, KPW Print. If you are a festival organiser, then particular thanks to you. We wish you a successful festival and events season and hope to see you again in 2014. Is mise Ie meas Miriam Dunne AOIFE Chairperson

North. In 2012, for example, I was pleased to be able to support 381 such festivals. As we move into the Winter of 2013 I am delighted with the contribution the number of festivals taking place is making as part of the ‘The Gathering 2013’ Fleadh Cheoil, City of Culture and WPFG Cultural Programme. This fantastic initiative has encouraged local people and groups to organise and take part in community festivals and events throughout Ireland to showcase and share the very best of Irish culture, tradition, business, sport, and the uniquely Irish sense of fun. As a programme aimed at enhancing our cultural tourism package and reaching out to those who claim Irish heritage across the world, I fully support ‘The Gathering 2013’ Fleadh Cheoil, City of Culture and WPFG Cultural Programme, and am delighted that contributors from the North are playing their part in showing the world the wonderfully rich and vibrant culture and heritage that we have to offer. Is mise Ie meas, Carál Ní Chuilín MLA Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure

Ministers’ Forewords I warmly welcome the publication of this year’s Association of Irish Festivals and Events Annual Review. This year’s review is particularly significant, marking as it does the 20th Anniversary of the foundation of Association of Irish Festival & Events. 2013 has been a landmark year in the development of the festivals sector in Ireland. When The Gathering was launched in 2011 as an ambitious new national initiative, the reactions were varied. Many were hopeful, some were sceptical. Now, the picture is much clearer and it is evident that The Gathering has been a great national success.

A message from Michael Ring, T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.

A message from Jimmy Deenihan T.D. Minister for Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht

This year Irish people extended the hand of welcome to friends and family all over the world, and in particular to members of the global Irish family. People all over the country held more than 5,000 Gatherings large and small. The Gathering network provided training in event organisation to more than 2,500 people.

I want to thank and congratulate everyone who worked on events of all types and sizes during 2013 for their dedication to their communities and to the country. As we move beyond 2013 and look to the future of Irish tourism, it’s clear that The Gathering will leave a valuable legacy. Ireland now has an improved events schedule at national and local level, offering overseas visitors new and meaningful reasons to visit our country. I congratulate the board and management of AOIFE on providing a vital resource to festivals, large and small, for many years. I am sure AOIFE’s assistance was particularly helpful in 2013 with so many new and exciting festivals emerging because of the Gathering. I look forward to seeing festivals continue to grow in significance as a contributor to Ireland’s economic growth and social fabric in the coming years.

The Gathering initiative has harnessed and highlighted Ireland’s enormous social capital.

Michael Ring T.D. Minister of State: Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport

As Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht I fully appreciate the important work carried out by AOIFE – the Association of Irish Festivals Events – in fostering and supporting the rich tapestry of festivals that are throughout Ireland every year.

important economic and tourism links. Each festival, as well as being important in reaching out to the local community, is helping to raise Ireland’s international reputation and is contributing to the potential for cultural tourism to Ireland.

Since 1993, AOIFE has been a strong voice for the many festivals under its umbrella. Through the hard work of the Executive and members, AOIFE has gone from strength to strength, developing and reinforcing those all important links between its members and the wider community.

2013, the year of The Gathering, has offered us an opportunity to showcase all that is good about this country. The event billed as the ‘festival of festivals’ has attracted huge interest both at home and abroad and has seen a big increase in the number of visitors to our shores. The success of this initiative has also been helped to a great extent by the work of the members of AOIFE.

Arts and culture are a part of our society, and the many festivals that are held across the country are an essential part of our identity and our cultural expression. The diversity and quality of our festivals is an important hallmark of our dynamic and culturally rich nation. On the economic front, over the last number of years culture has come into renewed focus as a unique national asset which helps to develop

I would like to congratulate AOIFE on reaching this important milestone, and acknowledge all of its members who work tirelessly throughout the year on behalf of your festivals. I would like to commend you and wish all of you continued success in the years ahead. Jimmy Deenihan T.D. Minister for Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht

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Irish Festivals & Events Sector Snapshot In 2013, the Republic of Ireland Government, The Northern Ireland Executive, local authorities and municipalities invested directly approximately €25m in over 800 odd core annual festivals and community cultural events which generated circa €445m. As 2013 was the successful year of The Gathering’s once off special community events, family reunions and other organisations’ efforts pushed the events calendar on the island, to a staggering 4,000 plus events – 77 a week but 60% of them occurred in the summer months. Additional investment was made by the IPB / Local Authorities fund of some €2 m and additional monies were made available from Fáilte Ireland for marketing and some production costs during the year. The sectors’ core festivals and events calendar cost in the region of €80m to programme and produce. Irish festivals return about 70 cent in every euro directly to the local community. ROI local authorities and municipalities spent over €7m on festivals and events during the 2013 season. Northern Ireland Local District Councils spent approximately €3.2m on festivals and events during 2013.



• Our community, cultural and tourism hybrid sector is delivering a massive return on investment by the public sector allied with over 800,000 of operative hours delivered by approximately 45,000 sector volunteers throughout the country. • The average festival audience is made up of 67% locals, with the remaining 33% requiring overnight accommodation • Festivals on average spend 69% of their total expenditure in their local area. • Festivals and Events spend on average 53% directly on artists’ fees costs.  • Community venues are the backbone of festivals; two thirds of festival organisers use churches, pubs, outdoor public spaces, or community halls for events. • In turn, festivals generate income from a wide variety of sources. Only 24% of income is from public funders, with 39% from sponsorship or commercial support. • The remaining 37% is self-generated, from ticket sales or other earned income, (including merchandise and bars or catering) and fundraising. 

Flagship Festival/Events [80]

Festival/Events of regional/ niche significance [200]

Local Community Festival/ Cultural Events [650/800]

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• Festivals receive significant media coverage; 99% generate coverage in their local newspaper; 30% command international media attention. • The majority of full-time and contracted positions occur in the Flagship/Events sector of about 80 islandwide. • Another approximate 650 FTE’s are supported in the fields of freelance producers, programmers, publicists, designers, technicians and specialist supplier areas. • Festivals and Events support critically the creative and arts sector of our island engaging musicians, bands, performers, artistes and entertainers of a variety of genres. • There are approximately 750 undergraduates in over 20 courses studying Events and Cultural Management as a career.

A & B Sector Network Support • Funding Programs; • Strategic planning & marketing; • Research and evaluation; • Targeted funds/grants agreements, performance bench marking • The Irish event experience design and event programming; • Resource leverage – sponsorship, industry, sectoral analysis; • Facilitate linkages, education; • Advocacy, Government/Stakeholder; • Third level Placements. C Sector Network Support • Regional Events Co-ordination; • Forums, training, seminars; • Resources: Online/Offline; • Website references and research information; • Leader/Inter Reg Training opportunities • Helpline; • Insurance/services suite; • Templates; • Programming Know how; • Mentoring; • Clustering Support; • Insurance, Health and Safety; • Start Up Assistance.

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A Year in Festivals by Mark Graham “Are there actually three festivals happening in Ireland every week?”, a common response whenever I try to explain the obsessive festival behaviour that saw me trying to get to three festivals every week for a whole year and still sees me hitting up the best festivals the country has to offer every week for The Irish Times. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t totally sure of the answer until recently. We average about 10 festivals a week for the Autumn and Winter months, this number takes an impressive spike in Spring and Summer and goes through the roof at Bank Holiday weekends. In a moment of all too common stupidity, I sat down at the beginning of this year and made a list of all the festivals that were happening in Ireland for 2013. The total that I arrived at after months of gathering information was 721 and that’s without including The Gathering shenanigans that were going on around the place. There is no doubt that this is a gross underestimation, every week someone tells me about another festival that’s happening somewhere in the country that I haven’t heard about. Trying to count Irish festivals is like trying to herd cats. Let’s just say that there’s a very large litter of them. Whilst surveying the vast array of festivals I came to a few conclusions. First of all, trying to attend all of them would be like Bull McCabe trying to beat back the incoming tide with a stick. The second conclusion I came to based on having been at lots of the festivals on the list was that we’re pretty good at putting these things together. When I say we, I mean you. I realised a long time ago that it’s far easier to go to festivals than it is to organise them. At Kilkenomics this theory was backed up by an economist. They had an event that tried to offer practical suggestions for getting the country out of our monetary rut and some interesting theories were put forward, but it was the bowld David McWilliams that caught my attention. The Bulmers flogging economist suggested that we should consider making Ireland a centre of excellence for festivals. The term “centre of excellence” sent a shiver up my spine, but the dude was making a valid point. Not only is there a whole cohort of highly skilled individuals in the sector, we’ve built up

an infrastructure to run world class events and have a deserved rep for being pretty handy at it. It’d be nice if this could be achieved by funding the sector instead of funnelling needed resources to mutating bureaucracy and PR machines. The next thing to strike me while looking at the long list of festivals was that surely not all of these events would survive to see 2014; there cant’s be enough people with enough money to make them all viable. It’s true that there will always be a few that fall by the wayside for various reasons, The Festival of World Cultures and Flat Lake Festival being notable losses in the last few years, but there are a few things that point to the festival sector being more vibrant than ever. In a year where we’ve been suffering seriously from the recession in many quarters, the AllIreland Ploughing Championships pulled their biggest crowd ever. There was around 228,000 people in the fields of Ratheniska Co. Laois over the three days, up 43,000 on last year’s effort and it’s estimated the visitors spent somewhere in the region of a staggering €37 million at the event. The organisers of this year’s hugely successful and first ever crossborder Fleah Cheoil reckon that 430,000 people took part in the jigs and reels in LegenDerry. Interesting to note that the week before The Fleadh, The Gathering crew had broken the world record for the most people ever in a Riverdance line, but the Derry posse went and blew that record out of the water. Electric Picnic sold out in the fastest time ever and in the first outing for Longitude Festival in Marley Park, it sold out too. There are other

similar stories from throughout the year which go against everything that economics tells us should be happening. There have been plenty of worthwhile events that I’ve been at that haven’t got half the crowd they deserved, but based on the evidence of the huge list of festivals and what I’ve seen happening out on the road, I’ve drawn another conclusion. I firmly believe that even though times are tough, if people are presented with something special, something they don’t think they’ll be able to catch again in a few weeks somewhere else, if they get enough notice and it’s timed well, they’ll forgo a night out and save a few bob to attend. More than ever we need distraction, diversion, entertainment and opportunities to celebrate what makes our parishes and people great. I never fail to be impressed by the people who volunteer their time, energy and creativity to run the festivals that make Ireland a better place to live, especially when they have less and less resources available to pull it all off. I have no doubt we’d be a worse state without them; and by them, I mean you. I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you, I’m a big fan of your work. The final conclusion I reached while looking at the unwieldy festival list was that I’m gonna need new tyres for the van. Irish Festivals 2014 - bring it! Mark Graham ‘Festival Fit’ in The Ticket with The Irish Times every Friday

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IFEA: Promoting Better Sector Understanding & International Links Founded in 1992, the International Festivals and Events Association Europe – IFEA Europe – is the European affiliate of IFEA World. For the past 55 years, IFEA has served as the global network organisation for professionals who work in the cultural festivals and public events sector. The IFEA is represented in 40 countries on five continents and it is the world’s largest network for festivals and events. It spans the industry from world-renowned cultural festivals to small community events. AOIFE hosts the Secretariat for IFEA Europe in its Ballinasloe offices and provides a Membership Development Officer through its traineeship programme year round. As a National Association Member IFEA – AOIFE members can enjoy ALL the discounted member benefits without having to invest again in a membership fee. Our first ever Summer School was instead hosted in Tarrega (4th-9th Sept. 2013) and has been a complete success, creating an exciting learning environment, combining academic teaching and best-practice lectures by event professionals with fun, hands-on, behindthe-scenes experience at the world’s leading street theatre festival, the Fira de Tàrrega. Over 20 third level students from 14 EU countries

attended and plans are progressing for a second edition. The summer school was designed as a camp, creating an informal environment and allowing for plenty of personal interaction with other participants. The topics covered are based upon elements of the IFEA’s formal ‘Certified Festivals and Events Executive’ accreditation programme for industry professionals. Programming topics such as artist contracting and on-site production handling were covered. Lecturers and speakers included former and current CEOs, programmers and marketers of multi-purpose city celebrations, fringe festivals, classical music festivals, historical re-enactment events and other, as well as artistic producers of the Fira de Tàrrega and international specialists. Looking at the upcoming events, this year’s IFEA EUROPE’s Annual Conference 2014 will go behind-the-scenes at the world-famous

Carnival de Nice, 13th – 16h of February and explore how festivals and events truly become city trademarks and messengers of cities’ identities. The main conference will feature organisers and other speakers representing cities and events that have caught the soul of a region or city and its people. It will be inspirational to all as everybody will share ideas of how to bring out and communicate this soul via attractive programming, marketing and audience engagement activities. Members as well as non-members of IFEA Europe are invited – and as usual, IFEA offers a special delegate rate for students of event management, tourism and AOIFE members. To read the conference programme and see the special rates arranged for AOIFE members please visit IFEA Europe Blog: Find us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter

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A pioneering scientific study on a European scale: ‘Music festivals, a changing world’ FESTudy is a trans European Collborative Project undertaken by the Association of Irish Festival Events and nine sister networks to begin benchmarking our European Festival and Events sector. Its core findings were launched at a Symposium in Lille, France in late November 2013. It is a scientific research project on music festivals in Europe (all aesthetic combined). The project aims to establish a common understanding of festival politicies, as well as their management and integration into the regional development. With an interdisciplinary and comparative approach, the international research team, expert on festivals and cultural policies, relied on a network of institutional partners (federations of festivals, regional and national authorities, festivals). Despite a few long-standing pioneers, the festival is still a new idea in Europe. Its diversity (in terms of style, scope, public funding or cultural reach) has long been an obstacle to comparative analysis. This work presents the first study undertaken using a single, unique method on a sample of nine national festivals  (eight European countries and Quebec), which was subsequently extended to events from six other countries. The comparison focuses on a total of 390 music festivals, including 21 Irish Festivals, representing a wide variety of genres, musical styles, scope and seasonal programmes. All major aspects are explored, from the purpose of the festivals to human resources and business models adopted. The first part of the survey reviews this analytical journey through the world of festivals. The second part contains several chapters on different countries, enabling the impact of the cultural, economic and political setting in which these events are created and developed to be measured. Whereas artists themselves have long since gone beyond national borders, this twofold international

comparison allows the differences between country-specific models to be transcended. This project marks a definite step regarding the state of available information. It goes beyond the actual gathering of information produced in the different contexts, to offer a unique method of collection, treatment and analysis of data. Its objectives being therefore to provide quantitative and qualitative guidelines on the following four major themes: • The variety of contexts in which European festivals develop; • The activity of the festivals in their diversity of genre, territorial installation, date of events; • The spinoff effects of the festivals on art, culture and employment; • Networking Europe: Festival programmes et cooperations, measuring the degree of cooperation existing at several levels, including that of festival organisations and that which we can see on examining the artistic programmes of events and to measure artistic movement in Europe. This project marks a definite step regarding the state of available information, and it is extremely positive and important because of its collaborative nature. It is a scientific research on which more than nine countries have concentrated their knowledge and effort, thus creating a network capable of generating a joint effort to define music festivals and their latest trends. It is also directly encouraged by the European Commission, who were engaged in the first place in the project and supporting the nine national association of European Events and the research project in general, co-directed by Lluis Bonet (researcher at the University of Barcelona), Michel Guerin (Director of the Observatory of Cultural Policies in Belgium French) and Emmanuel Négrier (researcher at CNRS - France). Full details of the research are available on

AOIFE Acts Commissioned Research History 1999 O’Keeffe Report 2001 Loftus Report 2002 Development Plan 2004 Fiona Goh Report: First National Benchmarking study of sector 2009 Festivals Flagship Report: Dominc Campbell 2013 FESTudy First European Festival Benchmarking study of sector 12

For a current update on all our members in this county visit

Pilot Project for a European Platform for Festivals new FESTIVALS programme launched at Irish Conference The European Festivals Association is the umbrella organisation for festivals across Europe and beyond. One of the oldest cultural networks in Europe, it was founded in Geneva, Switzerland, in 1952 as a joint initiative of the eminent conductor Igor Markevitch and the great philosopher Denis de Rougemont. Since its foundation, the Association has grown from 15 festivals into a dynamic network representing more than 100 music, dance, theatre and multidisciplinary festivals, national festival associations and cultural organisations from 44 countries. AOIFE was enrolled as a prestigious National Collective member in 2006 and has been an active Affliliate member attending all Collective meetings and participating in annual General Assemblies. In 2012 AOIFE had the honour of hosting the launch of the Associations 60th Anniversary celebrations in Dublin with the annual Collective Members meetings. Like our British, French, Swedish, Italian, Finnish, Norwegian, Bulgarian, Estonian, Czech, Flanders, Serbian, Spanish and Swiss State Associations – AOIFE members enjoy the benefits of the year round European Programme of activities and knowledge transfer from the heart of Europe on Cultural policies and innovations. As the title of our Annual Conference states, in a time like this, limited resources and a decreased tourist flow can really challenge our Capacity to Endure, making the process of festivals creation if not impossible, certainly demanding. Sometimes new resources and chances can come from a greater environment and disclose new possibilities opening Irish Festivals to the wider public and new challenges. The European Festivals Association has always paid much attention to capitalising on the potential of Irish festivals, in order to maximise their contribution to various EU policies, including for instance: innovation, social inclusion, education and intercultural dialogue. 2014 sees EFA launch a pilot project called EFFE: Europe for Festivals – Festivals for Europe. It is a Commission funded two year programme aiming to reward European cultural festivals for their outstanding contribution to European cultural life and their sustainable impact on societal development offering the EU an instrument to involve as many European arts and cultural festivals as possible into a joint programme. Europe for

Festivals – Festivals for Europe will identify and promote festivals’ best practices that reflect the values set by the EFFE work programme ultimately inspiring action and progress in all arts and cultural festivals. A European Festival Award will be given to a selected number of festivals who match a number of criteria set by the EFFE platform. It will allow European citizens access to the information of a brand of top cultural festivals united in a European platform which will be communicated worldwide, in line with the European Agenda for Culture to promote Europe globally as a vibrant place of arts and culture. Europe for Festivals – Festivals for Europe: A European Platform for Festivals offers a possibility for the European Union to recognise and celebrate the inspirational work that festivals across Europe and across Ireland carry out every day. The European Festival Award will be a huge opportunity for any Irish Festival to be cast into a European environment and to gain benefits such as a European and worldwide visibility, promoting the uniqueness of Irish culture and hospitality in a much wider situation. Not only winning, but also competing in the European Festival Awards should undoubtedly bring many other benefits, from increased revenues through merchandise, tickets and sponsorships, to a higher profile with artists, booking agents and other festival fans.   The European Festival Award is a unique opportunity for people working in and with the festival industry to get together to create effective international business relationships, forge European friendships and collectively come up with solutions to commonlyexperienced issues. This would make the industry stronger and better for everyone. AOIFE will be the Island-wide partner for the €1.3m programme and will alert the sector as to how to get involved through our website, social media and events in Spring 2014. Find us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter For a current update on all our members in this county visit



Insurance Conundrums Explained for Festival & Event Organisers Since 1995 AOIFE has instituted a Group Insurance Scheme for its membership. For the past three years our brokers to the Group Scheme have been the Dublin based, O’Driscoll/O’Neill and Managing Director, Niall O’Driscoll, answers some of our questions about the benefits of the only Irish Tailored Festival and Event Scheme run on the island.

insurance policy will provide cover for these indemnities. There is also increased duty of care and screening of adults surrounding children as a result of new legislation. It is very important that organisers are aware of their responsibilities in this area. When arranging your insurance cover, you should speak to our team in ODON as we understand your needs. INSURANCE COVER WHAT DO YOU NEED TO CONSIDER? You need to consider the following covers, Public Liability, Employers Liability, All Risks Cover for equipment, stages, power, lighting, artworks etc, money, Cancellation Cover for weather, non-appearance, death, refund of tickets, motor for courtesy festival vehicles, directors and officers; the list is endless. So it’s important that you discuss this with us, at the early stages of planning.

COULD YOU SUMMARISE FOR US THE NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN THE INSURANCE MARKET FOR THE LEISURE SECTOR? Over the past 12 months we have seen three main areas of development, 1) Claims are on the rise, 2) There is reduced Insurance Capacity for the Leisure Sector and 3) Health & Safety and Risk Management Requirements – All of this unfortunately leads to more work, more costs and less fun! CAN YOU GIVE US SOME OF EXAMPLES OF CLAIMS AND WHAT CAN BE DONE TO PREVENT AND TO PROTECT ORGANISERS? A child cut their hand climbing on a fence, this cost insurers €147,000; An adult slipped on wet floor and broke their wrist, this cost insurers €72,500; An adult slipped and fell down stairs, soft tissue damage, this cost insurers €45,000. Organisers should have procedures and clear guidelines that all staff/ volunteers are aware of, so if an incident occurs, a full report and investigation can be carried out immediately. This should include completing an incident report form, photographs of the area and witness statements. Organisers should also take a proactive customer service approach. REDUCED CAPACITY FOR THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? Capacity in its simplest form, is an insurers ability to underwrite insurance policies. We

have seen many insurers move away from underwriting Event & Leisure Business. In 2014 we will see the leisure and events insurance market being underwritten by specialist/niche insurance companies or brokers like ourselves. Through our partnership with AOIFE, you will continue to have access to this exclusive insurance scheme.



The festival and events team are Claire Dumbrell, Sean Lawlor, Angela Sheehy and Gareth Ball. You can contact them on 01 6395800 or our full contact details are on our website

Safety at your event is vitally important. You owe a duty of care to all people that are attending or working at your event. You should ensure they are attending or working in a safe environment. Preparing a detailed Event Management Plan, will pinpoint areas of exposure and help organisers to eliminate these possible areas of risk. We are also seeing a more focused approach by local authorities with some councils working in partnership with organisers to ensure the safety of people attending. Many venues are now looking for wider indemnities. Organisers need to be aware of the personal implications of signing these, you should speak to our team in ODON before signing these, as we can advise if your

With everything that we’ve mentioned, increased numbers of claims and reduced capacity, we do expect a small increase in premium for 2014? WHO to TALK TO IN O’DRISCOLL O’NEIL?

HOW EARLY to ARRANGE INSURANCE? You should contact ODON at least six weeks prior to your event. However, we can turnaround quotes in 24 hours subject to full information being received. DO ALL INSURERS OR BROKERS OFFER THE SAME COVER? Absolutely not! The AOIFE insurance scheme has been designed over many years and offers a tailor-made festival package to suit the needs of individual festival.

For a current update on all our members in this county visit


What did AOIFE do for the Sector in 2013? Lobbied on behalf of the Irish Festivals & Events for: • Minimising Reductions to the Arts Councils and Tourism Direct Grant Aid Budgets. • Engaged proactively and encouraged the Leader network to support and invest in innovative Festival and Event Development. • Supported and promoted the National Campaign for the Arts. • Strongly promoted the importance, value and economic impact of the festival sector to Irish business, tourism and local authorities. • Trained and Mentored over 950 Festival & Event Organisers. • Networked the popular Ezine: Irish Festival news to over 3,500 sector contacts 12 times a year. • Worked with our Insurance Partners O’Driscoll/O’Neill to ensure low cost tailored dedicated insurance cover to membership & keep competitor offerings keen. • Represented the sector in the Dept. of Tourism Policy Review • Continued to evolve the delivery of the Northern Ireland Festival and Events Development Project with our Association Partners Voluntary Arts Ireland (VAI). • Hosted approximately 190 delegates to the 20th Annual Conference in November. • AOIFE’s website hosted some 35,000 visits during the year. Our Facebook page continues to attracts new friends and promote innovative practice. • Hosted the secretariat of the IFEA Europe Network. 


For a current update on all our members in this county visit

• Continued the Placement Partnering programme for full-time event Management students. • AOIFE‘s help desk and office dealt with over 200 member and public enquiries on average per week. • Produced the Annual Review and our Year Wall Planner. • Trained and delivered on site events, administration, marketing and communication skills to over 14 Irish and International students at our secretariat. • Represented the Irish Festival and events sector to over 135 Irish events and activities and some six overseas conferences. • Presented to the International Festival and events conference.  • Participated in the Transnational European Bench marking project FESTudy. • Supported County Gathering Project teams in compiling calendars and building expertise – assisted directly nine county Gathering Teams. • Organised the Carlton Best of Marketing Awards for Good Practice in Design and Marketing with online and offline collateral. • Presented to over six different campuses and their Event Management Students on the Irish Festival and Event Scene . All for as little as 50 cent per day! • AOIFE is 3rd largest Festival & Event Association in Europe. • AOIFE is 4th youngest Association in Europe, founded in 1993. • Organisation is resourced by Executive Director, Projects Co – ordinator and a variety of Third Level Trainees from across Ireland and Europe. • Our Sector Engages over 45,000 volunteers – island wide.

The Average Festival Event Profile Typical Festival Aims

Typical Festival Themes Relative Importance 3%

Education Other Encourage Social Inclusion Celebration Boost The Local Economy Showcase local heritage/arts Promote local area Increase Tourism in the area Promote artistic excellence

25% 19% 3% 4%

9% 7% 2%

Average National Festival Income

26% 10% 8% 23% 17%

Admission/Box Office Public Subsidies National Sponsors (cash) National Sponsors (in kind) Local Sponsors Fundraising Commercial Revenue




Festival & Events by Theme Arts other Sports Dance Street Events/Carnival Agricultural Food/Drink Literature Drama/Theatre Multidiciplinary Arts

Average National Festival Expenditure

4% 12%

3% 4%

13% 29% 12% 1%

1% 24%


Fees for Acts/Artists Event Licences Staffing Insurance Event Costs Training Administration Marketing


Typical Volunteer Activities Other Bars/Catering Technical Assistance Meeting and Greeting Acts or Artists Selling Tickets Print Delivery and Distribution Prepared Mailings Managing Events Marketing Administration Programming Events Co-ordinating Event Requirements Fundraising Stewarding/Ushering

Relative Weighting

Average Volunteer Age 0.04 0.13

0.1 0.16

0.16 0.21 0.2

Under 18 years 19 - 25 years 26 - 34 years 35 - 44 years 45 - 54 years 55 - 64 years Over 65 years

For a current update on all our members in this county visit


CASTLE STAGE HIRE Established in 1990, Castle Stage Hire has grown to become one of the leading event services suppliers in Ireland North and South, specialising in: • Outdoor staging • Indoor Staging • PA and lighting • Catwalks and tiered platforms • Disabled ramps and viewing platforms • Crowd barrier • Rigging • Dance floor covering • Drapes • Truss and lots, lots more.

CONTACT US FOR A COMPETITIVE QUOTE FOR YOUR NEXT EVENT. 39 Lisbofin Road, Blackwatertown, Dungannon, Co. Tyrone, N. Ireland BT71 7JQ T +44 (0) 28 3754 8892 · F +44 (0) 28 3754 8892 · M +44 (0) 7841 101 601 ·

Placement Partnering Belfast Metropolitan College Course: Foundation Degree in Event Management for the Tourism Industry Time: Based throughout the programme Key Contact: Deirdre Cummings 077 1517 3817 or Duration: Throughout DBS & Portobello College Course: Events Management & PR Placement Time: May - January. Key Contact: Carol Clifford 01 417 7530 or Duration: 200 hrs outside of college. Dublin IT Course: BA Hospitality Management Placement Time: February - July, 2nd Year. Key Contact: Stephanie Burke 01 402 4353 or Length of placement: 5 months Course: BSc Event Management Placement Time: February - July, 2nd Year. Key Contact: Stephanie Burke 01 402 4353 or Length of placement: 5 months Course: BSc Tourism Marketing Placement Time: February - July, Year 3. Key Contact: Stephanie Burke 01 402 4353 or Length of placement: 5 months Dundalk IT Course: BA of Event Management Placement Time: February - Sept., 2nd year. Contacts: Catherine Staunton 042 937 0225 or; Shirley Donegan 042 937 0227 or Length of placement: 21 weeks. Course: BA of Hospitality Management Placement Time: February - Sept, 2nd year. Contacts: Catherine Staunton or 042 937 0225 Shirley Donegan; or 042 937 0227 Length of placement: 21 weeks. Dun Laoghaire IADT Course: BBS Event Management Placement Time: Contact the college at any time but the block release means invariably that some go out to industry from early spring to summer and some late spring to late Autumn/early winter. Key Contact: Audrey Stenson or 01 214 4672

Grouse Lodge Course: Festival Mgmt & Sound Production Placement Time: October - July Key Contact: Liam Molloy 090 6436175 or Length of placement: 6 weeks

Sligo IT Course: BB Tourism with Event Management Placement Time: April - September. Year 2 Key Contact: Ann Higgins 071 91 37220 or Length of placement: 6 months

Letterkenny IT Course: BA Hotel Restaurant & Resort Mgmt Placement Time: Septermber - December. Key Contact: Ciarán Ó hAnnracháin 074 918 6603 or Length of placement: 12–15 weeks

St. Johns College Course: Rural Tourism Placement Time: Key Contact: Derval Glavin 021 425 5500 or Length: 10 days (1st Year), 40 days (2nd Year).

Course: BA Culinary Arts Placement Time: Septermber - December. Key Contact: Ciarán Ó hAnnracháin 074 918 6603 or Length of placement: 12 - 15 weeks

University College Dublin Course: Tourism Course Placement Time: Anytime up to March Key Contact: Elizabeth Varley 01 716 8625 or Length of placement: 8 weeks

Course: BA (Hons) in Destination Tourism with Marketing Placement Time: February - May. Key Contact: Ciarán Ó hAnnracháin 074 918 6603 or Length of placement: 12 - 15 weeks Course: BSc (Hons) in Sports Coaching & Performance Placement Time: February - May. Key Contact: Lynn Ramsey 074 918 6204 or Length of placement: 12 - 15 weeks Course: BA in Administration and IT Placement Time: September to December Key Contact: Patricia Doherty 074 918 6202 or Length of placement: 12 - 15 weeks Course: MSc in Marketing Practice Placement Time: Throughout the program Key Contact: Patricia Doherty 074 918 6202 or Length of placement: Throughout Limerick IT Course: Business Studies & Event Mgmt. Placement Time: March Year 3 Key Contact: Dr. Noelle O’Connor 061 293 166 or Length of placement: 6 months Course: Business Studies & Tourism Mgmt. Placement Time: March Year 3 Key Contact: Caroline Shanley 061 293 167 or Length of placement: 6 months

GMIT 0.04 Moate Business College Course: Event Management & Public Relations 0.1 Under 18 yearsTravel and Tourism Course: Placement Time: February 0.13 Time: February/March Key Contact: Tomas Mangan 19 - 25 Placement years 0.16742 401 Contact: Orla Power or 091 26 - 34Key years 648 1178 or Length of placement: 30 weeks 35 - 44090 years 0.16 Length of placement: 3 weeks per year 45 - 54 years Course: Tourism Management 55 - 64NUI years Galway Placement Time: February0.21 Key Contact:0.2 Maria Murphy Over 65Course: years MA Arts Policy & Practice Placement Time: April & May 091 742 294 or Key Contact: Dee Quinn Length of placement: 30 weeks 091 495 076 or Length of placement: 4 weeks

University of Limerick Course: BBS Marketing Placement Time: May-June Year 3 Key Contact: Treasa Landers 061 202 978 or Length of placement: 8 months University of Ulster Course: Leisure and Event Management Placement Time: Year 3 Key Contact: Adrian Murphy 028 7012 3999 or Length of placement: All year Waterford IT Course: BA (Hons)in Hospitality Mgmt. Time: September - December, Year 3 Key Contact: Norah Fogarty 051 845 553 or Length of placement: 12 weeks Course: BA (Hons)in Tourism Marketing Time: May - August. Year 2 Key Contact: Angelo Hurley BSc, MSc 051 302 667 or Length of placement: 4 months Course: MA in Arts & Heritage Management; Placement Time: June - August Key Contact: Norah Fogarty +353 51 845 553 or Length of placement: 3 months AOIFE SUPPORTS THIRD LEVEL We support third level event, hospitality, marketing and tourism management students finding work placement and internships within our organisations. Please contact info@ for further information on placement partnering. If your college is not mentioned here, please contact us to update our website listing.

For a current update on all our members in this county visit


Online Responsible Server Briefing Tool ServeAware is a free online briefing tool for staff serving alcohol at festivals or other events. Designed to efficiently communicate the basics of responsible serving, it was rolled out by MEAS Limited in advance of the 2013 festival season, and has been used by over 1,200 festival staff over the course of the summer. The course gives a comprehensive introduction to the principles of responsible serving, and can be completed in just 15â&#x20AC;&#x201C;20 minutes. It consists of five short sections, each of which deals with information central to a serverâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s duties: Standard Drinks, Alcohol and the Body, Alcohol and the Law, I.D. and Under-18s, and Responsible Serving Strategies. Upon completing all five sections, the user will receive a customised certificate as confirmation. Anyone planning a festival or event at which alcohol will be served is encouraged to have their staff undergo ServeAware training in advance. It is available free of charge at The link can be sent to staff via email, and they simply have to register an account to complete the programme. For managers and more senior staff, face-to-face Responsible Serving of Alcohol (RSA) training is also available. For more information on ServeAware or RSA training, you can contact MEAS on 01 611 4811 or at

Festival Support in Northern Ireland One year on from the start of the joint festival development initiative between AOIFE and Voluntary Arts Ireland, the festival sector in Northern Ireland is just as vibrant and the appetite for growth and new projects challenges our support mechanisms to adapt in innovative ways. The festival sector in Northern Ireland is a diverse world and working with long established organisations, festivals coming into the maturity of their third or fourth year, those just at the start of the big adventure or even the merely speculative, galvanise us to address real need. A natural development from a wide spectrum of training events and a response to popular demand has lead to the provision of a bespoke one-to-one support service. Individual festival and event organisers receive hour-long sessions focusing on their project needs and future development. Colin Dardis from Purely Poetry writes: “I found the session incredibly informative, knowing that support and guidance was available to help focus direction and energy, allowing people’s visions to reach realisation.” Our current commitment is to enable festival organisers, committees and volunteers to gain confidence and access the wealth of resources that we can make available. Festival organisers bring an abundance of passion, fresh ideas and energy. We provide the advice and resources to overcome difficulties and to translate their passion into successful events by focusing on individual need and tailoring our service to each individual festival or event. Previous experience working with local authorities has led to the development of a new accessible scheme, ‘The Pop-Up Arts Clinic’, rolling out our bespoke one-to-one clinics within

local authority areas. The first scheme begins in January 2014. Aimed at strengthening the links between event organisers, arts groups and their local arts officers, it offers the service in a range of geographical areas. Taking you through the nuts and bolts of running an activity, event or group, covering training, volunteering, funding, social media and marketing opportunities these sessions focus on individual need and circumvent covering superfluous topics. During the first round of the scheme, Support Officer, Emma Whitehead, will be available on the third Tuesday of each month at Down Arts Centre for one-hourly sessions between 10am and 5pm. Contact Down Arts Centre at or Call 028 4461 0747 (048 4461 0747 for ROI) if you would like to book a support clinic. What’s new for 2014? Big things are afoot with new festivals launching in Northern Ireland in 2014; baking, arts and science and stitching are among the genres being explored.

For a current update on all our members in this county visit


Antrim: Belfast Photo Festival The Belfast Photo Festival has been running since 2011 but being biennial, this was just its second year. Running from the 6th to the 30th of June the festival had a lot to offer the public with a budget of just £60,000 (£130,000 with benefit-in-kind). Artistic Director, Michael Weir, noticed this year a great increase in interest for the 2013 festival. There was even a “larger percentage of international attendance at festival events and exhibitions” than before and Michael can partially attribute this to the City of Culture “and the promotion it has provided for Northern Ireland.” Festival attendees were much more diverse due to the fact they were coming from all over the world, in comparison to the festival in 2011. “To keep this up for the next edition of the festival, we will continue to promote our events and exhibitions to an international audience and provide a unique and innovative programme that appeals to a wide audience.” This year marketing and advertising became much more about visual bombardment and it was hard for the public to escape what going on. Pre-festival, Michael “booked more pay-phone-box street-level advertising in Belfast City Centre” and had a large outdoor advertising structure constructed on the lawns of Belfast City Hall along with exhibitions throughout the entire month of June. As with many festivals this season the advertising campaigns are involving more and more technology and online opportunities could not be passed up as Michael and his team began to utilise “an increased number of social networks.” The festival itself was much more of a show than in 2011. “We created more of a spectacle at our exhibition openings by incorporating characters with elements of performance and live music.” The size of portfolioreviews were also increased to give a greater amount of feedback to the audience with regard to their photographic works. A symposium was also offered for the first time which focussed on photography and the


printed page. “This gave the opportunity to our audience to engage directly with photography publishers and editors” said Michael. The Ormeau Baths were reopened for the festival, which had been Northern Ireland’s premier visual arts gallery and has been closed for two years now. Apart from utilising the Belfast City Hall lawns almost every day, The MAC was also incorporated into the activities as Northern Ireland’s flagship centre for the arts. This festival, which buzzes with activity for almost a month in the year, requires a lot of work and hours to get it off the ground. Volunteers were throwing themselves at the festival this year. There was also a vast increase in international application to volunteer or intern with the festival and organising team. Volunteers were also very eager to undertake training to develop their skills and apply these new found skills to the festival at hand, according to Michael. While the festival is biennial, plans are in motion for the launch of the ‘Belfast Youth Edition’, Europe’s first photo festival for young people in the 2014 festival season.

Among our festival and event members in County Antrim Gig ‘n The Bann Cross Community Festival Auld Lammas Fair Ballymena Arts Festival Festival of Fools Heart of The Glens Festival Féile An Phobail For a current update on all our members in this county visit





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High Res is an award winning company that has lead the way with design and implementation of groundbreaking technology for some of the largest events in Ireland. Working with your Festival or Event team, our experienced designers and project managers can develop and deliver unique ideas in show design, show creative, lighting, projection, building mapping or integration with Television.

High Resolution Lighting Ltd Unit E, Merrywell Business Park Lower Ballymount Road Dublin 12, Ireland.

T: + 353 1 4299 044 24

Armagh: John Hewitt International Summer School

The Market Place Theatre & Arts Centre hosted the 26th annual John Hewitt International Summer School in Armagh this year. The 2013 festival ran from July 22nd to 26th, Monday to Friday. Director Tony Kennedy has been involved with the festival for 15 years now and with a budget of £65,000 he estimated the return for the local economy to be £250,000 over the space of the five days. He said that sponsors did not look for anything new this year but they do “continue to look for recognition, and appreciation.” Financially it is unsure if the City of Culture had a positive knock-on effect for the festival, but Tony has seen a “general increase in arts” and hopes to develop their marketing strategy further next year as a result of the City of Culture. This year their marketing strategy was very much based on technology and online activity with the establishment of a new website for the John Hewitt Society ( and increased Facebook and Twitter activity. The committee members also increased contact with the Northern Ireland District Councils for their PR work. However, even with the vamped up marketing strategies, Tony noted that bookings were made later than before and there was a much greater demand for subsidised places in the summer school. As well as this, while numbers held up overall, Tony mentioned a noticeable reduction in visitors from the Republic of Ireland. With regard to volunteering for the summer school festival Tony stated: “Volunteering was at a similar level as previous years. We hope to develop this in the coming year.” The festival this year had many attractions and of particular attraction were the poetry segments. “Poetry was particularly popular, as was lunchtime Irish prose readings, particularly Pat McCabe, Deirdre Madden

and Anne Enright,” said Tony. Also popular was the political panel discussion involving Baroness May Blood, Arlene Foster MLA and Naomi Long MP. Innovation was greatly shown in this year’s programme also when the audience were shown a demonstration by Neil Shawcross in which he painted a portrait in just one hour before the audience’s eyes. As a summer school, this festival is also very much about learning and a higher level of interaction with its audience. Tony and his fellow committee members worked hard to increase the number and range of creative writing classes. They also “built a partnership with Ulster Arts Club who launched their Summer Exhibition at the Festival.” There was also a specially featured session for visiting American students to showcase their own work. Looking ahead to the festival and event season of 2014 Tony has many plans for the next John Hewitt International Summer School Festival. He wishes to “have a theme based on ‘Regionalism’, which reflects Hewitt’s interests and possible tensions arising from the Scottish independence vote.” An increase in volunteer input is also on the cards for the next festival in 2014.

Among our festival and event members in County Armagh


William Kennedy Piping Festival Bard of Armagh 7 Hills Blues Festival

For a current update on all our members in this county visit


The Fanzini Brothers Comedy circus shows, walkabouts and workshops

Fanzini Teeny Big Top 38 foot round circus tent available for hire Contact Con Fanzini on 087 9978146 or

free design audit Promoting your festival today can be a challenge. With all the new technologies that have popped up your festival can be left behind fast. We can help you with this challenge. We are offering a free communication strategy audit and will give you suggestions on how you can promote your festival using both traditional and new methods.

T: 091 862 933 E: W:


Derry: 2D Comics Festival Derry’s 2D Comic Festival has run annually since 2007 over a period of three days; this year the festival spanned over four fun-filled days from May 31st to June 2nd in Londonderry, Co. Derry. With 62 invited guests and 27 exhibitors from Ireland and the UK, the 2D Comic Festival wrangled in over 5,100 attendees this year, “a substantial amount of whom came from outside the city,” said festival organiser David Campbell, before adding: “We had attendees from as far away as Spain and Sweden who had travelled specifically to attend the 2D, which alongside the diverse guest list - helps to illustrate that the event is a truly international one, in terms of scope, scale and appeal.” However, this booming success for the newly expanded festival has little to do with the City of Culture’s own promotional strategy. “It’s more competitive in terms of getting noticed in the busy City of Culture calendar of events,” stated David. Marketing and sales was boosted from the regular strategy by “door-to-door distribution of flyers and programmes; expanded brochure, which was distributed both in print and online and we made the 2D podcast a permanent feature,” said David. However, while finding it difficult to be seen in the calendar of events, David found that there were networks to be exploited through the City of Culture which benefitted the 2013 festival immensely.


Regarding volunteering, the City of Culture also had knock-on affects with active volunteer organisations and The North West Volunteer Centre. “The volunteers made a vital contribution despite the fact that we didn’t provide quite enough preparation time and training beforehand, due to the tightness of the schedule,” said David. The expansion of the festival included more workshops and speakers than ever before, “allowing more people to take part and learn about and enjoy the comics’ art form.” Moving to a larger venue for the Comics Fair enabled more space for programme content, adding very much to the experience of the whole festival, especially when it was expanded to a two-day feature of the festival. “Thankfully both decisions were vindicated with record attendances and overwhelmingly positive feedback from guests, exhibitors and attendees alike. We managed to grow the festival significantly but retain the same warm and inviting atmosphere as previous, smaller shows,” boasted David. Having more portfolio reviews than ever before allowed more attendees one-on-one access with one of DC Comics top editors who travelled from New York City for the festival, to give advice and talks about working in the industry of comic books. The ‘Heroes & Legends’ show and training sessions were ticketed events but while they brought great revenue for the expansive festival, they also brought with them great appeal for the entire festival as a whole. The 2D Comics Festival has been supported by the Verbal Arts Centre “who wanted to host a special extended edition of the festival for the City of Culture year.” Financial support for the festival and its ambitious and successful expansion came courtesy of the Culture Company, DCAL, Derry City Council, Arts and Business Northern Ireland, Brunswick Moviebowl and the British Council.

Among our festival and event members in County Derry Banks of the Foyle Halloween Carnival Christmas Illuminations: The Big Switch On. St. Patrick’s Day Spring Carnival Derry Walled City Cultural Trail: July/August Derry City of Culture For a current update on all our members in this county visit


Down: Sunflowerfest Sunflowerfest has now been running for five years and in that time it has grown so much as a family, arts and music festival in Hillsborough, Co. Down, running from the 9th to the 11th of August. Festival Director Michael Magowan estimates the budget of the threeday festival to be £130,000. This large-scale family festival has a great impact upon the local economy, bringing in about £87,000 to the area over the three days of events, even though the camping offer was reduced from three nights to two. Sponsors of the festival were much more interested in increased product sales as opposed to brand awareness, according to Michael, who added: “Sponsors are more inclined to offer sponsorship-in-kind instead of cash sponsorship.” In approaching sponsors Michael and his team also had to be much more strategic than before. Sponsors now are seeking much more detailed proposals and history of demographics and market segments before they are willing to commit any form of sponsorship. As such they received “virtually no financial support from anyone, save £4,000 from Lisburn Council,” said Michael. Michael and his committee had mixed thoughts with regard to volunteering at the festival. Michael said the festival was “oversubscribed with volunteers” and it was suggested that this was a way for people to get into the festival for free, which was a “sign of tougher economic times.” However, “by and large they all loved the experience and want to do it again.” It should also be noted that the festival found most of their forth-coming volunteers to be female.

Events and activities were provided for all age groups and niche audiences from circus workshops and dance classes at the Kids’ Zone to tin-smithing and blacksmithing workshops at the craft village. Live music acts were quite a large part of the festival. “Our surprise top performers were some of our relatively unknown acts like Zombified, Little Miss Stakes, My Fellow Sponges, Pocket Billiards, NI Soul Troop, Rufus and the Blackened Trees, Ezekiel Boom and Gabrial Makamanzi,” boasted Michael. “It was an overall festival vibe of goodwill and love that took the audience by storm!” Looking forward to next year Michael and his team wish to increase ticket sale of both day and weekend tickets. This year they rose ticket prices by 40% and they will continue this trend. Overall the committee wish to see “a grand total attendance of 5,300 over the weekend.” To do this the festival will work on their social media awareness and want 17,500 Facebook ‘Likes’ by August 22nd of next year. But more than anything the festival’s goal next year is to “consolidate the position of Sunflowerfest as a leading all-inclusive and family friendly music and arts festival in Northern Ireland,” according to Michael.

Marketing for the festival involved a lot of hard work for the committee and volunteers this year with flyers being delivered door-to-door in 20,000 letterboxes. The committee also worked on their email contact list and used it to its fullest potential, while bringing in more dance acts and DJs peaked more interest still.

Among our festival and event members in County Down Boley Fair Camlough Lake Water Festival Festival of the Peninsula Fiddlers Green Folk Festival Groomsport Music Fest


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Fermanagh: St Patrick’s Festival

The St Patrick’s Day Festival in Fermanagh is a county-wide event that takes in so much more than the traditional parade for the Sunday preceding St Patrick’s Day. Bryony May is the organising committee’s treasurer since 2010, when it was thought that there was no county event for the holiday except some local events in smaller villages and so the festival kicked off in 2011. The budget for the festival which represents such an internationally recognised holiday is a “tiny” £18,000. No studies have ever been carried out on the economic impact but she estimates it to be “in excess of £100,000” due to the 10,000 attendees. Perhaps the most riveting aspect of this year’s festival was the 300 metre snake made and exhibited during the parade by “about 150 scouts, cubs and beavers,” according to Bryony. The snake was part of the ‘Snakes’ theme of the festival, due to the legendary tale of St Patrick ridding the island of snakes. It was such a fantastic success that the committee are already planning to showcase another 300 metre large scale mobile for next year’s theme: “The Past, Present and Future.” The committee set themselves quite the challenge this year also in trying to set a Guinness World Record with their snake. However, unfortunately it was not accepted as a valid submission, but was certainly the largest snake ever in Ireland! Alas the festival still faced many challenges this season. Traditionally held on a Sunday, any St Patrick’s Day parade would struggle to find those willing to participate or bands that can perform, and this one is no different. “The economic climate also makes fundraising rather difficult,” as there are no sponsors apart from the local council, who support the festival enough to break even, not generate revenue in preparation for next year. However, there is a bright light at the end of the festival funding tunnel, according to Bryony. The St Patrick’s Day Festival received Peace Funding as a result of their “quality engagement;


contributions to peace building and engagement with a variety of different people in different age groups.” To accomplish their interaction with the audience the festival contained a Viking longboat along with other lough activites allowing the parade to go from water to land for the first time. There were also Irish and Hyland dancers and folk and rock music acts live on the streets. Like many other festival in Northern Ireland, the City of Culture has had no positive knock-on effect. “If anything it’s taken funding away,” said Bryony. She said that if you’re in a surrounding village to the city of Londonderry, then maybe it has a good effect, but their festival takes place “over an hour and a half away.” Looking ahead to next year they are very hopeful after the social media campaign and television coverage received by the festival. Themed as ‘The Past, Present and Future’, the future of this festival seems bright with plans for an even bigger carnival, more activity content and maybe even another attempt at breaking that world record with a large scale mobile to shadow the snake.

Among our festival and event members in County Fermanagh Fermanagh Live Enniskillen Festival Music & Arts Sea Plane Fest For a current update on all our members in this county visit


Tyrone: William Carleton Society Summer School The first William Carleton Society Summer School was held in August of 1992 and has been running annually ever since. This year the summer school was extended to be a weeklong event, which took in the ROI August Bank Holiday weekend, from August 2nd to 8th. PRO Michael Fisher has been involved with the society for many years and said: “All our society committee members and the director of the summer school are volunteers.” However, he has found it increasingly difficult to recruit volunteers under the age of 35. “Those who do volunteer are very committed and many have been involved with the summer school since its inception in 1992,” he said. “Volunteering with the society gives people the opportunity to contribute to the community in a positive way.” The committee members also found that given the growing age of their regular attendees, it is becoming more difficult to branch out in marketing strategies or become more innovative. “They are from an older age group and are not used to social media for example in accessing details of the summer school programme on our website. Several stakeholders prefer to have details sent out to them by post in advance of the school.” Michael also finds these regular attendees to be rather critical when they try and branch out from their literary foundations, “which makes it difficult to be innovative.” The society does not have any sponsors but does receive a small grant from the Dungannon and South Tyrone Council to the tune of £4,000 but “the formalities for getting the grant seem to have become more complicated,” according to Michael. One of the greatest aides to the society’s summer school this year was the reintroduction of the cross-border link with Co. Monaghan. This cooperative step meant that some events that had previously occurred in Clogher could now be relocated to places associated with the author, William Carleton, such as Emyvale in North Monaghan. This new feature was greatly marketed due to new approaches such as an upgraded brochure in full-colour with details of the weeklong activities and articles relating to the author. “We produced several

hundred colour flyers which were distributed to addresses in the wider Clogher area.” For the added convenience of Summer School attendees from the Republic, the organisers have established a facility by which Euro could be used for membership and event fees. Video footage was also taken throughout the entire Summer School proceedings and is being uploaded gradually to the Society’s YouTube channel in preparation for next year. As it’s a summer school, interaction with the audience is important and the seminar on contemporary writing is important for this. “This year in addition to the literature slot, we decided to move away from our main brief and to hold a discussion on dealing with the past,” said Michael. “The Summer School was advertised as part of The Gathering in Co. Monaghan and separately in Co. Tyrone, but this publicity did not attract any new visitors from outside Ireland,” said Michael. The City of Culture also had a similar lacking effect in that it did not affect festival attendance or revenue positively. Even “the level of voluntary activity for the society is similar to last year.” Although the well-supported Beckett Festival in Enniskillen “could prove to be a useful link for our society if we decide to hold some future activities in the Fermanagh area. Next year the society hopes to expand its activities in the Dublin area, where Carleton lived for many years,” and to attract a number of high profile speakers to the Summer School to increase attendance figures.

Among our festival and event members in County Tyrone Strabane Fair Day Craic in the Brack


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Cavan: Virginia Pumpkin Festival The town of Virginia in Co. Cavan has put on a spectacular festival every year since 2007. The six-day Virginia Pumpkin Festival ran this year from the 25th to the 30th of October, incorporating the October Bank Holiday weekend. The festival fittingly leads up to Halloween and the Virginia Pumpkin Festival is very much about the pumpkins! Competitions included the Perfect Pumpkin and the Perfect Pumpkin Pie Competitions. The Perfect Alternative Pumpkin Competition challenged competitors to create pumpkins from recycled materials in which the schools were involved and was a very eco-friendly challenge, according to festival chairperson Phelim McCabe. In true Halloween style, visitors to the festival could take a stroll through Deerpark Woods, a naturally scary location, for the Haunted Forest Walk. Great attendance was seen and the forest was transformed by volunteers with scary scenes. All manner of ghosts and ghouls were out to play tricks for this event! Perhaps the most anticipated event of the festival every year is the Grand Carnival Parade, and this year was no different. Performed by LUXe, the parade illuminates the darkened town of Virginia and has been named the “finest illuminated parade in the country” by many. Beginning at the Virginia Showgrounds after dusk the parade has a grand spectacle of aerial performers on the Sky Hook and Empress Tower, mechanical horses, glittering mirrors, dancing girls, exotic giant lanterns and of course the famous giant pumpkin resembling that featured in the popular children’s film, Halloweentown. The LUXe performers continued to showcase their talents on the Sunday afternoon also out on the streets of Virginia. The parade made its way through the town bringing spectators to the lakeside of Lough Ramor for the grand fireworks display, beautifully reflecting on the waters. The festival is also proud to be the host of Ireland’s largest Fancy


Dress Ball. With thousands attending every year the event is filled with all sorts of characters from witches and ghosts to Batman and the Simpsons. The festival event has a great atmosphere with a backdrop of the most enjoyable music to the high spirits of the fancily dressed. The prize fund for best dressed attendees is also an amazing €2,000! Among many other events like Junior Disco and Monster Bingo Night, the Virginia Pumpkin Festival could not forget The Gathering. Celebrating its 50th Anniversary, the Virginia College school had a reunion for past pupils from 1962 to 2013 and to mark the event, a ladies football match was played between past pupils and the Cavan Senior Ladies team. With so many delightful events like Theatre Night by the award winning Millrace Drama Group and the 5km Fun Run for Virginia St Vincent de Paul it is no wonder people came from far and wide for all 6 days of the festival. The marketing strategy of the year could only have helped as Phelim and the team launched the new festival webste and dove into their social media campaign hitting more than 11,000 ‘Likes’ for the Facebook platform. Next year they hope to expand on this and attract more international visiors “through international marketing.”

Among our festival and event members in County Cavan Killinkere Jamboree Festival Virginia Pumpkin Festival Belturbet Festival of The Erne /The Lady of The Erne For a current update on all our members in this county visit


Carlow: Bagenalstown Floral Festival Carlow’s Bagenalstown Floral Festival is a highlight of the Carlow Floral Festival Trail every year and this year was no different. Taking place in sunny July, the festival spans across three days; Friday to Sunday inclusive. With a cost of €20,000 to run, the floral festival is finding it more and more difficult to finance the festivities. Sponsorship is getting harder for the committee to acquire as businesses and service providers become less willing to part with their hard earned cash. “It’s getting more difficult as money is scarce,” said honorary secretary, Michael Lakes, who has been involved with the festival for the past seven years. The sponsors who were willing to commit to the floral festival fortunately have not asked for anything out of the committee’s reach. “Sponsors are looking to for their name to be put on all advertisements,” said Michael. The Bagenalstown Floral Festival was also lucky enough to warrant some radio coverage this year. As such, sponsors asked to be mentioned on radio programmes featuring the festival. This year’s sponsors were of course committed during an opportune year, as the floral festival team bumped up their marketing prowess. The amount of advertising produced - posters, radio and social media - were increased from any year before. Even the geographical area covered by advertising increased with “signs erected further outside the town than before,” according to Michael. Perhaps the added advertising had a positive effect on the recruitment of volunteers and encouraged people to get involved in such a valuable

event to their local area. The festival organising crew noticed a great increase in the number of young people getting involved in the activities of the 2013 festival. “There are more young people getting involved than before,” said Michael with delight. The festival itself is much more than its namesake will let you believe. Live music filled the town’s streets this season with even more events held off the streets; organised this way for safety reasons, according to Michael. The river and surrounding area was buzzing with waterside activities as well as those water-based sports and events too. “People were out in good spirits because of the great weather,” stated Michael. The year of The Gathering brought with it more positivities for this year’s festival as many visitors came from abroad for the festive activities of the three days in Bagenalstown. Hand in hand with this the committee organised a ‘Returning Emigrants Dinner’ for those who came from places like the UK and the US. Looking ahead “plans aren’t fully drawn up yet” but they are certainly in motion for another successful festival season in 2014.

Among our festival and event members in County Carlow Bagenalstown Floral Festival Pan Celtic Eigse Fesitval Carlow Garden Festival Carlow African Film Festival


For a current update on all our members in this county visit


Clare: Ennis Food Festival In the heart of Co. Clare was born the Ennis Food Festival in 2013. Taking place from October 4th to 6th, the festival had a great line-up for foodies island-wide. According to organising committee member, Sarah Malone, the festival had a “teensy” budget of less than €2,500 with which to pull off the first three-day festival “so I think we’ve done well to mount this festival,” she said. The festival itself was filled with events and activities for food lovers. The opening day of the festival was very much a family friendly day at the St Tola Organic Goats Farm in Inagh. Here, festival goers were able to meet the Clare All-Ireland hurling goalie, Pa Kelly, and “sample some delicious award winning cheeses.” Sample tasters even got the chance to meet the goats the cheese had come from and imagine the chain of production where raw materials become final products. That same night the Old Ground Hotel hosted the Clare Harvest Banquet “which was a great night out with entertainment,” according to Sarah. What makes this banquet unique is that all the food served is sourced and prepared in Co. Clare, even the wine, and all diners were given a list of the ingredients used and where to source them afterwards, providing a boost in local income. The Saturday saw the very first Ennis Food Fair hit the town in the hall and grounds of the Holy Family School. The fair had stalls with wares from food producers, cookery demonstrations and so much more, all for free! There were bouncy castles to entertain the young ones and sugar-work artistry to demonstrate the culmination of art and food. Workshops were available on cake-decorating with the local O’Connor’s


Bakery and even master-classes on wine tasting. A Taste Trail was also incorporated in the festival. For only €2, participants could test the tastes of cafes in the town of Ennis throughout the day. Perhaps the most fun event of the festival however has to be the ‘Bollywood comes to Ennis’ event. This “novel way to enjoy Indian cuisine” sold out very quickly. Attendees enjoyed an Indian supper with a screening of a Bollywood film, which was partially filmed in India and Trinity College, Dublin. At just €16 per head, diners were given the option to come in Indian attire if they wished, including colourful saris and painted-on bindis. On the final day of festivities foodies could enjoy a lazy Sunday afternoon at the Rowantree Cafe Bar and test their knowledge on all things culinary with the Sunday Brunch & Food Quiz; a laid back way to end the festival highs and enjoy the dwindling weekend. Sarah said “our team of volunteers have been marvellous” and in seeing their hard work pay off this year, she and the committee hope to see the event become an annual and sustainable event in the town of Ennis, which will bring with it a much wanted economic boost in future years.

Among our festival and event members in County Clare Féile Brian Ború Scariff Harbour Festival Iniscealtra Festival of Arts Spanchil Hill Show and Fair Irish Craft Beer Festival Willie Clancy School of Traditional Music Corofin Traditional Music Festival Ennis Book Club Festival Ennis Street Festival Ennis Fashion Week For a current update on all our members in this county visit


Cork: Irish Redhead Convention

The Irish Redhead Convention has taken place in Crosshaven, Co. Cork since 2010 late in the month of August and due to great success this year will continue to do so. 2013 marked the 4th annual Irish Redhead Convention. With a budget of €50,000 the Convention estimates to have created €140,000 in local economic revenue in Crosshaven over the weekend of August 23rd to 25th. “To date the festival has relied on the support and generosity of suppliers and volunteers who associate with the event for one or more of the following reasons; red hair, the local community or the associated charity. Therefore the cost base has been kept at a minimum,” said Joleen Cronin, Convention founder and event organiser. Joleen puts this success down largely to two things; the large crowds and The Gathering 2013.

was shown long in advance for volunteering roles from home and abroad but in reality 50% of the volunteers only materialised on the weekend itself.

Joleen said: “As time went on, the organising committee were bubbling ideas and enthusiasm, and in 2013, with the help of The Gathering Ireland, the Convention ambitiously grew to a two-day festival,” having only been a one-day festival for the previous three years. The festival was largely marketed as a Gathering event and this generated much overseas interest as over 300 of the 2,500 visitors were from the US, the UK and Europe. Attendance increased by an impressive 150% from 1,000 in 2012, to 2,500 due to targeting the overseas market according to Joleen.

Joleen also found that this year sponsors wanted to align themselves with particular elements of the weekend rather than the whole event. For instance sponsored the new Redhead King and Queen and Blarney Woolen Mills donated volunteer t-shirts, showcasing their clothing range. Joleen added that having expanded the timeline and capacity of the event, dealing with increased logistics and a larger range of sponsors made 2013 more challenging.

Regarding festival volunteering, she stated that the commitment, support and enthusiasm from volunteers over the weekend was phenomenal. The skill set and professionalism was impressive while specialist volunteer groups – photography; social media; press groups etc – used their core skills to engage with the successful festival. “In general we noticed that with local people, there was a long-term commitment given from a core group on committee level. The majority of those who gave up their time on the weekend itself did so generously, however, commitment was only given at the last minute, making it difficult to plan exact roles and responsibilities,” said Joleen. Interest


For a current update on all our members in this county visit

Apart from targeting locals and worldwide redheads, the Conventions team of volunteers and attendees were also attracted by the charitable element as €7,000 was raised for the Irish Cancer Society. “This money goes towards cancer care, research and support in Ireland and we are very proud to be able to donate towards this,” said Joleen.

The Irish Redhead Convention also appealed to many more attendees by focussing on many smaller events rather than one headline act. “Well received activities that were hosted included the Ginger Chef Cook-Off, Redhead Storytelling, photo booths for natural redheads and the popular carrot tossing championships,” as well as the unique village-wide ‘Ginger Discount Scheme’ which included a range of special offers from businesses and services throughout Crosshaven, such as reduced accommodation rates and beauty treatments and discounts at the fun fair to name just a few. Next year the Convention hopes to acquire a lead sponsor following the example of another successful redhead festival, The Redhead Days in The Netherlands who are sponsored by McDonalds and Ryanair.

Cork: Cape Clear Story Telling The island of Cape Clear once again hosted its annual storytelling festival from September 6th to 8th of this year. The Storytelling festival has now been running almost 20 years and annually extends over three days. With a budget of €25,000, Festival Co-ordinator Gerry Clancy, estimates the economic impact to be immeasurable. “This is the single biggest economic event on the island and benefits the ferry, shop, three pubs, two restaurants, B&Bs, hostel and campsite. In addition there is a spinoff benefit to other business on the mainland. The investment provides an excellent return to the island,” said Gerry. One of the greatest economic benefits to the festival and the island was changing the weekend on which it takes place. By doing so the festival no longer clashed with the popular music festival, Electric Picnic. As a result the age profile of the visitors became much younger and it is estimated by Gerry that 30% of the visitors were new to the festival in 2013 and there were many more day-trippers than ever before. As well as an increase in newspaper coverage, the festival embarked upon a hefty social media campaign, during which the number of Facebook likes increased by 650% in just one week. At last year’s festival a professional photographer was used and these high quality photos increased the quality and vibrancy of the social media campaign incalculably coming up to this year’s festivities. Marketing was also vamped up by a display in the Cork City Tourist Office window, Italian translation options for website pages and logo rejuvenation. As well as this two tickets were donated for an online auction by the National Storytelling Network in the US, which organises the world’s biggest storytelling festival annually in Jonesborough, Tennessee. Sponsors of the festival became easier to work with and there was a “higher level of interest than ever before.” This year they requested more and more to be mentioned in the social media campaign of the festival and for their venues to be more involved in the festivities. “We always try to recruit volunteers that are either aspiring storytellers


or have a genuine interest in storytelling or have a genuine interest in storytelling as we find that they are more responsive to the needs of our performers and audience,” said Gerry. The festival organisers also received many compliments throughout the festivities about the dedication and helpfulness of all their volunteers. Festival organisers also added a sixth venue in the other Irish college on the island. “You could even say seven venues as we also had a ‘Storytelling on a Boat’ event,” which featured a musician aboard to entertain during a boat trip around the island. The Gathering of course played its own part in the festival and Gerry puts down the increase in volunteer requests and an increase in European and US visitors to it. However, dissimilar to other Gathering festivals, Cape Clear Storytelling actually saw a decrease in revenue from last year’s “bumper year”. Plans for next year’s festival are already underway, including a screening of a documentary film made during the 1995 festival by an Italian Broadcasting Corporation member at the beginning of her career. They will also be inviting back some of the emerging, diverse storytellers of this festival season and celebrating their 20th anniversary retro style.

Among our festival and event members in County Cork Fastnet Short Film Festival Rosscarberry Family Festival Timoleague Harvest Festival Cape Clear Storytelling Festival Corona Cork Film Festival Crosshaven Traditional Sail Ballinspittle Community Festival Shandon Street Festival & Food Fair Newmarket Summer Festival Clonakilty Waterfront Festival Cork Folk Festival Cork Midsummer Festival Cork International Choral Festival Festival of The Bard Kinsale Regatta Festival Midleton Food & Drink Festival Big Jazz Fringe/Cork Jazz Festival All-Ireland Confined Drama Finals Cork French Film Festival East Cork Early Music Festival Kinsale Arts Week World Ghost Convention Cork City Festivals Forum For a current update on all our members in this county visit



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Donegal: Rathmullan Community Festival In the seaside village of Rathmullan, one will find a local treasure of 15-yearsold. The Rathmullan Community Festival takes place annually on the August Bank Holiday weekend for three days; Friday to Sunday inclusive. As with any festival, if there are no volunteers it will not be able to get off the ground. The community festival committee fell under hard times when it came to recruitment this year, according to committee secretary of 15 years, Margaret Todd. “It’s harder to get people involved,” she said. She points out that the young people they came in contact with were “reluctant to get involved” and while bursting with fresh ideas, the youthful would rather someone else were to carry them out. Those who do sign up were also reluctant to go to pre-festival organising committee meetings, which are integral to a smooth running festival. Fortunately the crew have had much more cooperation and success with their sponsors. While they did seek more acknowledgment for their contribution that did not seem too much for the committee to give. “We haven’t had any difficulty dealing with our stakeholders, I think because we appreciate the difficult times that businesses find themselves in. They do their best to support us,” said Margaret. “The festival weekend brings a lot of people to the town and therefore the businesses benefit greatly,” she added. This symbiotic relationship is qualified in the sponsored budget of €20, 000 to €25,000 and the impact on the community valued at €50,000; double the budget! Apart from the usual advertising, the festival and sponsors benefitted from some new additions this year. A brand new Facebook page was established for the community festival’s maiden voyage into the world of social media campaigning. The team also took out some local advertising on the Rathmullan District Resource Centre’s website.


Even with this new push from advertising and support from loyal sponsors, attendance did not increase any. “Before we would have noticed that the same people would attend each night. This year it was evident that people would pick a certain night or nights that they would come out,” stated Margaret. She put this down to the current economic climate but was delighted to say that their generated revenue was on par with previous years. “Due to the economic climate it is evident that people do not have the same money to spend.” The level of entertainment and talent could be what dragged those people out to keep revenue up. Musical acts included Flash Harry, the James Peak Experience and a great response was received by The Logues who played on the final night of festivities. Like so many others The Gathering has had little to no positive effect on this festival. The committee did not organise anything themed by The Gathering as there were other Gatheirng events going on in the same area the following week. Other committees have mentioned the difficulty in standing out among The Gathering’s events calendar and Rathmullan Community Festival is no different but was lucky enough to execute a festival on par with previous years regardless.

Among our festival and event members in County Donegal Clonmany Family Festival Oireachtas na Samhna Churchill Fair Mary from Dungloe International Festival Rathmullan Community Festival Sea Sessions Surf/Music Festival Bundoran SeaFest Feile Ceoil Chill Chartha (Kilcar Fleadh) Allingham Arts Festival Ballyshannon Folk & Trad Music Festival Lennon Festival Laghey Blast Festival For a current update on all our members in this county visit



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Dublin: 10 Days in Dublin Festival 10 Days of Dublin is a festival of music and so much more, which began in Dublin back in 2010. Robert Kearns, festival co-founder and company director, has been involved since conversations about the festival began in June of that year. Running for 10 whole days, beginning from the first Thursday in July, the festival had an incredibly strong music programme, according to Robert. The line-up included a number of acts who had been building their own reputations for the previous few years who did very well at the festival. Robert listed such local acts as “Meltybrains?, Shadows and Dust, Nova Collective, Trinity Orchestra and Tandem Felix were particularly big draws.” The setting has a lot to do with the experience and atmosphere of a musical act and a lot of thought was put in to making these musical experiences memorable for all. Unusual sites were used for a range of acts including churches, art galleries, the streets and all kinds of unused areas in pubs, clubs and restaurants. “People are finding all kinds of new ways of using cool spaces, and that’s been great to see. It creates a whole different experience for the artist and the audience,” said Robert. With a budget of just €40,000 for the ten day festival, the Dublin area benefits in at least €200,000. The festival has been operating without sponsors for the past three years but “our stakeholders are now the people we work with who we can call on the phone for a chat, not just faceless people we’re trying to get something out of, and that’s great.” Year on year the festival has become easier to arrange and execute due to these mutually beneficial relationships.


“The festival is growing and we work very hard to make it come together, so we’ve won a lot of the trust that we were desperate for when we were starting out.” Working with stakeholders is important but working with the audience is more so. The organising team spent a lot of time with the audience this year ascertaining their experiences. “It was the first year where we carried out broad surveys at events which allowed us to work out our audience demographics and importantly how they’re finding out about our festival,” said Robert. The crew hopes this new knowledge will allow them to better tailor the festival experience towards their current audience and learn to better connect with those who the festival passes by. The marketing strategy, which will evolve next year based on the newly collected information, included downloadable daily planners so festival goers could easily plan out their days and a larger footprint was left around the city than ever before – “more posters, more programmes and better distribution plans.” Looking ahead to next year, Robert and his team hope to “build extra capacity in terms of staffing, budgets, venues, and facilities in order to even better serve the need for our artists.”

Among our festival and event members in County DUBLIN ESB BEO Celtic Music Festival Open House Dublin Dublin Bay Prawn Festival Rith 2014 The Five Lamps Arts Festival Harolds Cross Community Festival “Lift” Youth Arts Festival Balbriggan Summer Fest Ballymun “Other World” Festival Gathering Dublin Red Line Book Festival Ranelagh Arts Festival Dundrum Arts & Cultural Festival Street Performance World Championship Templebar Tradfest Rose Festival St. Patrick’s Festival Dublin For a current update on all our members in this county visit


Galway: Cúirt International Festival of Literature The Cúirt International Festival of Literature is a seminal event in more than just literary circles. The five-day event has now been running for almost 30 years, this year from the 23rd to the 28th of April in Galway. This year the festival added interactive learning labs to its itinerary, which were an innovative move for the younger festival attendees. “The labs follow the format of a conference and participants take part in a course of sessions given by practitioners from different disciplines,” said festival administrator Tara O’Connor. The labs catered to primary school level children on the Thursday and Friday, then teenagers and young adults on the Saturday. “The labs used the same format as a conference and incorporated disciplines other than literature.” Taking place in the Galway Arts Centre, the large three-storey building made the festival capable of hosting five groups at any one time. “Due to the nature of the space, there was more room for experimentation aesthetically because it is altered regularly with every change in exhibition,” said Tara. Regarding advertising strategies, perhaps unique to the festival is the iPhone app. “The app for the iPhone was set up in 2013 and there are plans to create an android version in 2014,” according to Tara who said the aim of the app was to increase activity on the Cúirt Twitter and Facebook accounts. “To promote these we had posters designed and placed in prime Cúirt locations to direct traffic to the sites.” As another part of the online campaign to push pre-advertising, the festival committee set up a MailChimp account to begin an organised

mailing campaign for promotions in the run up to the festival. The five-day festival was run by just 12 volunteers this year, and as noted by many other festival committees, was predominantly female, with only one man joining the ranks. However unlike other festival committees, the volunteers were rather young, ranging from 20- to 30-years old. “About 50% were foreign students that were here for two to three months. Some were in college completing their Erasmus year. At the interview they stated that they were interested in experiencing Irish culture and particularly Irish literature,” said Tara. Dealing with stakeholders now has become much more easily done for the well established festival who are in their 29th year. Tara puts this down to newly implemented marketing initiatives, including partnerships with the university nearby. The sponsors seem to have requested nothing new in 2013 as they are already getting what they need from the festival. “They receive a couple of tickets to shows, have their logo placed in our programme and we recommend and use their businesses for hospitality purposes.” The sponsors benefited greatly from the festival during its duration as lunches were hosted in their venues and the hotels were used to accommodate the visiting writers for the stay. The 2014 season will see social media and lab development for the festival, but Tara and her team also hope to implement a new delegate scheme in the new year.

Among our festival and event members in County Galway Galway Early Music Festival Cúirt Literature Festival Explore Clonbur Festival Connemara Mussel Festival Féile Phléaráca Chonamara www Galway Oyster & Seafood Festival Find us on Facebook Killimor Traditional Music Festival Tuam Trad Festival Shorelines Arts Festival Portumna Spirit of Voice International Quilt Festival of Ireland Ballinasloe October Fair & Festival Clifden Community Arts Festival Inishbofin Community Arts Festival


For a current update on all our members in this county visit


Kerry: Charlie Chaplin Comedy Film Festival For the third year in a row the Charlie Chaplin Comedy Film Festival took place in Waterville,took place from August 22nd 25th Secretary Norma Moriarty has been involved since the festival’s inception three years ago and has seen the Gathering have quite the impact upon it. Seeing the knock-on effect of The Gathering in increased visitor numbers, Norma is happy to say that with a budget of €100,000 the festival generated immeasurable revenue for the area. “The festival has become a huge draw for visitors and returning immigrants. All local guesthouses and hotels gain considerable business from the event and the bars, restaurants and shops rate it as their best business weekend of the year,” said Norma. The festival endeavoured on an online campaign this year with the help of Fáilte Ireland. Audience-reach figures peaked at a phenomenal 750,000 and Norma puts this down to the iconic brand that is Chaplin. The marketing strategy also expanded to include advertising on the popular South-West radio station, Spin SW, “which was instrumental in reaching a younger demographic.” The launch of the festival was also strategically located in The Everyman Palace Theatre in Cork where Chaplin once performed, which brought great novelty and curiosity to the event. Entertainment included street performers and the Short Film Competition and full houses were noted for the documentary premiers and live music acts. The performance by Dylan Moran was particularly successful and popular. Regarding volunteering Norma was delighted at the huge response to their call for volunteers and felt fortunate to have volunteers from Dublin, Cork, neighbouring towns and locals. “Many of the non-local volunteers were keen to learn as much about event management as possible and in many cases were also genuine Charlie Chaplin fans. Sponsors of the event seemed more likely to sponsor specific elements of the festival rather than the festival as a whole. In doing


so the sponsors were seeking a clear link between the events they were staging and the products and services they provide, according to Norma. Stakeholders sought after “clearly defined benefits for the kind contributions that they make and a possibility of increased business as a result of their support,” she added. The Charlie Chaplin Comedy Film Festival also had the fortune to partner with Fossett’s National Circus. “The Big Top allows us a venue that makes it possible to attract top-class performers and screen films in a special atmosphere,” said Norma. Perhaps the most drawing element of the four-day festival was the world-record breaking attempt. The Charlie Chaplin Look-a-Like event was an attempt to gather as many of the Look-a-Likes in one place as possible. Unfortunately the previously set record remains unbroken but “it is one we’ll be repeating again,” according to Norma, speaking of the 2014 festival, planned to be held from August 21st to 24th “We did not manage to break the record on this occasion but we are even more determined to do so in 2014. This event relies entirely on our audience becoming the performers.”

Among our festival and event members in County Kerry Féile na Bealtaine Scoil Cheóil an Earraigh Ballyheigue Summer Festival Sneem Family Festival Killarney Summerfest Valentia Isle Festival Puck Fair Rose of Tralee International Festival For a current update on all our members in this county visit


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Kilkenny: Last Rose of Summer Kilkenny’s last Rose of Summer concert broke out onto the festival and event scene this year with great and ambitious plans. July 22 saw the initiation of the one-day festival this year in Jenkinstown. The concert celebrated the bicentennial of Thomas Moore’s publication of The Last Rose of Summer, which was one of the writer’s best known works. Thomas Moore, Ireland’s National Poet or Bard of Ireland, composed The Last Rose of Summer when visiting his good friend, George ‘Punch’ Bryan in Jenkinstown. It seemed only fitting that the organising committee arranged for the concert to be held within the original walled garden area of Jenkinstown woodlands. The tribute concert exhibited a great deal of talent. Anthony Kearns, an internationally renowned tenor, performed at the concert and was “a good choice”, according to chairperson, Thomas Downey. Anthony performed much of his own repertoire along with some Thomas Moore melodies. Nicola Brennan and other such young talent took the audience by storm also in the concert’s first trip to the stage! The concept of the concert was conceived long before The Gathering was but with the year that was in it, the committee decided it best to begin preparations early, according to Thomas. “The Gathering was the big thing because it gave us status but because there was so much going on, everyone was looking for publicity,” and it was difficult for the concert to find a place among all these events. This momentous event was unfortunate however to coincide with another. “We were unlucky to coincide with Wexford’s JFK events and that did affect attendance,” said Anthony. Due to the low turnout it could be 2015 before the committee is able to repeat the event again. Looking at the silver lining though, the “people who came were surprised at how much they enjoyed it!”


While it seemed fitting to hold such an event in the walled gardens of Jenkinstown woodlands from which Thomas Moore drew so much inspiration, the committee thought it a bit “risky”, even during July, given Ireland’s unpredictable weather patterns to hold the concert outdoors. However the setting turned out to be a “fabulous” location for the momentous event. The concert was marketed in many ways from pictorials in the newspapers to radio coverage and advertising, to a social media campaign. The concert had very little sponsorship due to the times that are in it, but this allowed the advertising to focus heavily on the event itself and not just its supporters. A lack of sponsorship comes with many hardships though and the committee hopes that “as the economy picks up it should be easier.” The team is lucky to have so many willing volunteers like the local GAA, but the real challenge is finding the person that matches the task to be done, noted Thomas. Even with this very willing workforce Thomas knows the committee has a lot of work ahead of them if they are to develop again in 2014 instead of waiting until 2015, should the economy not pick up.

Among our festival and event members in County Kilkenny Kilkenny Arts Festival Ballykeeffe Summer Events & Concerts Abhainn Rí Festival Irish Conker Championship For a current update on all our members in this county visit


Kildare: Gerard Manley Hopkins International Literary Festival Kildare hosts the world renowned Gerard Manley Hopkins every year and has done for the past 26 years. Running from the 19th to the 26th of July, the festival was so filled with activity it began a day earlier this year and was extended to three days. Events Co-ordinator, Elaine Murphy, and the organising committee put on a great festival this year. The festival began a day early this year to accommodate the arrival and concert given by famous Swedish pianist, Hans Palsson. Having won a Gold Award, which is the Nobel equivalent for music, Palsson played an almost dreamlike rendition of works by Bach, Beethoven, Mozart and Debussy. The festival also featured traditional Irish music by fiddle Frankie Gavin with vocals by Michele Lally. Diarmuid Johnson also played a set of traditional music on his wooden flute, often accompanied by his readings of poetry inspired by the Celtic, Gaelic and Welsh languages. The festival was heavily based on educational lectures given by key speakers. Topics covered included the unique friendship between Gerard Hopkins and Robert Bridges, an examination of Hopkins as a sacramental poet, his views and experiences of love, the ‘American Hopkins’ Hart Crane, Hopkins as a prophet, his idea of the nature of the human self and his work on the prayer, ‘St Patrick’s Breastplate’. Editor of The Oxford Companion has described this as “the best literacy festival in Ireland,” and the educational aspect has a lot to contribute to this statement. One of the finer things about this festival is its ability to branch out beyond the written word of Hopkins. A poetic highlight was a very rare interview granted by Thomas Kinsella for which audience members were lucky enough to witness a personal reading of some of his own work. Other poets featured at the festival were Desmond Egan, Donald Gardner, Shizue Ogawa and Jean Luc Havard; poets from far and wide across the globe. There was also a special reading from Niall Donnelly, prose and film script writer. Visual arts were a large part of the festival and among the alternative artists who were showcased stood Charles Cullen, James McKenna, Eleanor Swan, Anna Linnane and Benedict Byrne. The pieces added an extra artistic feel to the festival and some fit in well with the visual effect created by Hopkins work. Festival goers also had the option of taking a field trip to the Great Connell Abbey. The educational and spiritual visit was then followed by the annual Hopkins Banquet in Maynooth; the highlight of the festival as considered by many. A special Youth Programme also took place specifically aimed towards students. This was an excellent way for secondary students who had fallen in love with the poet to further enjoy and understand his work. The festival was officially launched in the Newbridge Credit Union, who are local supporters of the festival. A special presentation was made by Newbridge Silverware CEO, William Doyle, who received a beautiful pencil drawing by renowned artist Brian Bourke from the Gerard Manley Hopkins Society President, Conor Bownan. Among our festival and event members in County Kildare Monasterevin “Venice of Ireland” Festival Kildare Derby Festival Newbridge 200 Gerard Manley Hopkins Int. Literary Festival


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Laois: Durrow Scarecrow Festival The Durrow Scarecrow Festival in Durrow, Co. Laois, has been running now for four years. The festival extends over nine days; this year’s festivities will run from July 28th to August 5th. The festival’s budget stands at just €10,000 but festival ViceChairperson Noeleen Dunphy said about the economic impact: “It was estimated that the average spend was €35 so a total of €330,000 was spent in the local economy.” As the festival was showcased as part of The Gathering a school reunion for St Fintain’s College was featured. “We organised a school reunion for St Fintain’s College in Castle Durrow. The castle was home to St Fintain’s College before the school was merged into a community school in Haywood in Ballinakill.” New to the festival this year was also ICA Boot Camp, judged by Breda McDonnell, former boot camp judge. A more light-hearted feature of the festivities was the ‘Woof and Wellie Walk’, for dog owners and their dogs. Apart from these, street entertainers and scarecrow entries


fuelled the festive atmosphere. These festive activities must have been very appealing for visitors as attendance rose from 2,000 last year, to a phenomenal 14,000 this year! Noeleen commented that dealing with sponsors and stakeholders “is getting easier as the crowds coming to the festival are increasing.” This may have had something to do with the vamped up social media campaign that resulted in a 207% increase in Facebook ‘Likes’, coming from the UK, US, Australia, Canada and Argentina to name just a few. This was a great reflection on The Gathering’s effect, Irish Diaspora and the longing to return home. Volunteer recruitment was also up and the committee saw more 18- to 20-year-old women than ever before giving up their time, along with many “people who have retired from work and people who work part-time.” Noeleen commented that the festival committee in preparation for next year’s festival in 2014.

Among our festival and event members in County Laois French Festival Portarlington Durrow Scarecrow Festival Halloween Howls Comedy Festival Youth Rocks Arts Festival Find us on Facebook For a current update on all our members in this county visit



Leitrim: Phase One Electronic Music Festival As yet another new festival breaks out onto the scene, Phase One Electronic Music Festival finally took off in Carrick-on-Shannon, Co. Leitrim on April 19th and 20th of this year. Zoe Dunne established the festival with four other friends, beginning their preparations back in 2012. Since then the committee has grown greatly as has the large group of volunteers involved. Taking place in The Dock Arts Centre the festival kicked off with many fundraising events throughout the previous 12 months and “in financial terms the budget is just under €25,000 but when taking benefit-in-kind into the equation the budget is at least double,” said Zoe. “The festival attracted attendees from all over Ireland and from overseas, so it is thought to have significant economic impact in terms of both domestic and international tourism,” said Zoe. It is hoped that the national and international recognition received by the music festival will help generate more revenue in following years. Artists and volunteers who worked at the festival have since reported paid opportunities arising for them since as a result of the platform provided by the festival. For this event, recruiting volunteers seemed no problem for Zoe and the rest of the committee. People were more than willing to travel from all over the country to volunteer. “We received emails from complete strangers up and down the island offering their time and skills. We had a large number of people offering their services for free because they were electronic music fans or producers but some of the locals who approached us weren’t necessarily fans of the particular niche of festival offered, but were willing to help out just because it was an event happening locally,” said Zoe. The committee decided for their marketing strategy they would take advantage of what Fáilte Ireland had to offer in the way of support and


additional PR from The Gathering and the Carrick-onShannon 400 Celebrations “and we focussed on building our online presence well in advance of the festival. This really helped drive our marketing effort, both with securing acts and gaining media attention,” said Zoe. The festival coordinators made a great effort also to connect with a number of radio programmes, both national and of the niche electronic music market, and arranged interviews with well known and emerging acts and organisers. Sponsors and stakeholders however were a little more difficult to acquire for this festival. “With so many festivals on offer, sponsors are really picking and choosing their events. This worked both for and against us. We have built a couple of really strong collaborations,” which match the niche of electronic music, according to Zoe. Zoe stated it is also now easier to deal with stakeholders now that the festival is established and set to recur again next year. Each and every event and music act was a great success for the festival but they have learned that “the outdoor stage didn’t really work for us last year so we have a few surprises up our sleeves with regard innovative locations for Easter 2014!” Continuing to look ahead to 2014, Zoe said: “We are hoping to expand on the film and visual arts element as well as bringing some of those elements onto Main Street, Carrick-on-Shannon. Musically we have some great acts both Irish and international” as well as plans for an emerging electronic artist stage.

Among our festival and event members in County Leitrim Jamestown Show and Heritage Festival Joe Mooney Summer School of Traditional Ballinamore Family Festival An Tostal Dromahair Huntersmoon International Mushroom Festival Leitrim Roots Festival For a current update on all our members in this county visit


Limerick: City of Cluture In July of 2012 Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan, announced that Limerick was to be Ireland’s first City of Culture. The designated year will begin on January 1st of 2014 but plans are already well under way for the forthcoming festival and event season. In this year’s budget, Limerick City of Culture was fortunate to receive €6 million in funding, according to Limerick Marketing Company’s Kelly Moran. “Limerick is looks forward with anticipation to its reign as Ireland’s first National City of Culture in 2014. The city is currently undergoing a process of profound change and 2014 will be the year in which a new single local authority will be established.” The City of Culture team has already received over 350 project suggestions extending over all forms of cultural events including sport, food, art, biodiversity, heritage and history, community arts and education. It is clear what local groups are taking advantage of the City of Culture and the publicity that comes with it, with events like plays on the River Shannon and a tea dance on O’Connell Street already in the works for the city. “Limerick’s residents are fully embracing the Treaty City’s upcoming year as the culture central,” said Kelly. Focusing on the festival and event season itself, the team said: “A number of festivals and events already set to embrace Limerick’s year as National City of Culture include the Kate O’Brien Literary Festival in February,” the Eva International in April and the city’s largest festival, Riverfest, on the May Bank Holiday weekend. Regarding marketing of the seminal year ahead for Limerick, the Limerick Marketing Company promoted the City of Culture at the National Ploughing Championships in September, a sponsored lunch at the TBEX Conference in Dublin in October and the World Travel Market

in London in November. “Our ‘Find Out More’ event earlier this year was very popular and attended by many members of the public. We had choirs, street performers, slack lining and many other interactive entertainers animating the event,” said Kelly. The Cultural Team have also relocated headquarters to the aptly named ‘Cultural House’ in Limerick City’s Georgian Quarter; cultural yet convenient. Once the full programme of events is released the full utilisation of Limerick venues and sites will be realised by the public, according to Kelly. Limerick City already contains many “superb cultural venues” and institutions, including the Limerick City Gallery of Art, RTÉ Lyric FM, The Irish Chamber Orchestra the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, “which celebrates its 20th Anniversary next year.” “Limerick aims to welcome many new and returning visitors to the city and county by lifting the lid on the rich and diverse culture capacity of Limerick and exhibit to each other and to the wider world the very best the city has to offer, leaving a lasting and revitalising sense of pride in place.”

Among our festival and event members in County Limerick Eva International, Biennial of Visual Art Feile na Maighe Foynes Irish Coffee Festival Kilmallock Walled Towns Day Ballyhoura International Walking Festival Ballyhoura Spook Fleadh by the Feale


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Longford: Aisling Children’s Arts Festival Aisling Children’s Arts Festival celebrates its 16th year on the festival and event scene this season. The weeklong festival runs from October 20th to 26th in Longford, but there “are a lot of projects that may begin sometime before the festival begins and run for a few weeks,” according to festival chairperson, Colette Meally. Having been involved with the festival for 12 years now, it can be said that Colette knows the festival inside and out and she puts the overall cost of running the arts festival at €25,000 for the week. However, not everything is so bright for the festival who are starting to struggle financially. “The festival is growing in popularity all the time but the funding is harder found,” she said before adding: “Our plans for 2014 are unfortunately to scale back and cost-cut. We can no longer afford to run the festival at the same costs.” Local businesses continue to support the festival as best they can but all grants accessible by the committee have decreased. Other fundraising attempts included flag days, bag packing and information packs sent to Longford’s larger businesses hoping to increase sponsorship. The impact on the town’s economy is incalculable but Colette commented that the festival gives back by providing workshops and projects for local artists and “creating openings where they can go into schools and colleges to facilitate workshops. All arts materials are bought from a local supplier.” Marketing for the festival however is very innovative to the scene as it does not just include committee participation. “We have a project with the Longford Leader where Transition Year students from the local post-primary schools, over a number of weeks, create a supplement for the paper that is published the week before the festival,” said Colette. Using Facebook and Twitter in a social media campaign is also new to the festival and is paying off as attendance grows. Participation in the St Patrick’s Day festival in Longford is also great PR early in the year. The festival itself was given a theme this year – ‘Dreaming of Home’ – to incorporate the year of The Gathering. However The Gathering had no other involvement with the festival, financial or otherwise. New projects included an exhibition of pottery and top hats created in local schools with the guidance of a local potter and milner. A showcase of mime, theatre and dance was also directed by three local artists in the three local schools. Regarding volunteering Colette is very complimentary about her hardworking committee and other local voluntary groups like Backstage Youth Theatre, Lions Club and Longford Library. “Someone is always on hand to take on the numerous jobs,” despite all juggling full-time jobs. Looking ahead times may be tough with cuts planned but even scaled back the festival is sure to be a great success in 2014.


Among our festival and event members in County Longford Aisling Children’s Arts Festival Helium Festival Johnny Keenan Banjo Festival Hype Festival For a current update on all our members in this county visit


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Louth: Vantastival Vantastival is a very unique music festival located in Bellurgan Park, Co. Louth. The three-day event ran from the 3rd to the 5th of May this year; possibly its most successful year yet. As the name suggests, Vantastival is branded towards Volkswagon van owners, but campervan owners and campers with tents attended in the masses also. Festival co-founder and event director, Louise Tangney, noticed a great increase in families and campervan owners to the festival as well as high attendance from Northern Ireland. “We did notice an increase in attendees from the UK,” she said, but like so many others, the committee did not associate this with The Gathering’s campaign. “We put this down to our increased marketing spend with UK magazines as opposed to The Gathering.” Marketing and advertising changed quite a bit from previous years’ strategies in the hopes of meeting a more targeted audience. Advertising was increased in UK campervan magazines and radio coverage was spread out among Radio Nova, Phantom FM and Today FM, the latter two with which they advertise every year. The team decided to cut back on print advertising in Irish newspapers and quite innovatively, tickets were available through Facebook. Volunteerism is an invaluable asset when it comes to getting any festival going off the ground. Louise and her committee experienced a very mixed bag of results for this aspect of festival organisation however. For many volunteers it was their first festival experience and we had quite a few repeat volunteers,” she said but found that many of her volunteers cancelled at the last minute or simply did not show up at all, to the festival’s detriment. The festival itself was as exciting as the three years before. Three main stages run live music from lunchtime until 1am every day with smaller

satellite stages located around the area. “We put a major emphasis on unsigned Irish acts and showcase over 80 acts during the weekend at our main stages, with many more performing in smaller satellite stages.”Headliners included Damien Dempsey, And So I Watch from Afar who went down brilliantly, as did The Bob Marley who performs every year. The classic Volkswagon vans put on a show for spectators all by themselves. “The multicoloured classic Volkswagons are undoubtedly the stars of the show. Throughout the weekend the van-owners are delighted to set up deck chairs outside their campers and listen to the music from the nearby stages while socialising with like-minded people. This adds to the sense of camaraderie at the festival,” said Louise. The Vantastival crew also includes very creative and skilled carpenters who utilise their talents to turn natural materials into the stages and artwork which is exhibited around the area. “This eco-architecture is becoming almost as much of an attraction of the event as the music and other activities.” The festival currently runs on a budget of €110,000, making €300,000 for the local economy. The team hopes to increase attendance by 20%, and in turns its revenue, for next year. Next year will also see new and exciting attractions for all the family at the festival.

Among our festival and event members in County Louth Vantastival A Taste of Carlingford Oyster Festival Drogheda Samba Festival Drogheda Bonanza Festival


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Mayo: Ballina Salmon Festival Ballina Salmon Festival is almost running for 50 years now in Ballina, Co. Mayo. The all-inclusive family-friendly festival ran this year from July 7th to 14th. The festival office was relocated this year to the town centre, which immediately drew in more interest as there was “an increase in footfall to the festival office.” The events guide featured on TV3 also provided a new advertising platform never before used by the festival and they cut back on spending in the local media to focus on more large scale advertising. “We worked closely with Western People, who are part of Thomas Crosbie Holdings, to promote the festival locally and nationally,” said Benny. The Gathering also had many positive effects for this festival, seen in the increase in American visitors, and a positive effect on the wider community. In preparation for the 50th Anniversary Celebrations next year, “we intend to build on our links to our UK and American counter-parts next year.” Sponsors of the festival are becoming more demanding for value for money and want greater publicity than before. According to Benny the festival’s sponsors wish to become much more involved in the festival itself and the activities taking place. Volunteers from the festival however seem much more willing to cooperate, and expect little to nothing in return. “Local organisations like the Stephenites and GAA Club members volunteered for different events.” Benny said the festival is lucky enough to have volunteers return year after year and even those who work with other festivals come to help out. A highlight of the festival in 2013 was the reintroduction of International night.

Food on the street for Heritage day proved to be exceptional and the return of International Night provided yet another platform for foodies to enjoy. As well as this the much anticipated night brought with it street performers, including the local Burmese community, which “took the audience by storm!” The Teddy Bears’ Picnic was also a huge success with the little ones and their parents, helped very much by the weather of the season. Attendees were able to interact with the festival even more than before with the help of more arts and crafts events and activities for children and visitors books, which will provide great insight into the planning of next year’s festival. Looking ahead to 2014, the festival is set to be bigger and better than ever due to the 50th Anniversary Celebrations of the Ballina Salmon Festival. Along with this year’s reintroduction of International Night, the committee hopes to bring back the Mardi Gras to celebrate on the Saturday July 12th of next year.

Among our festival and event members in County Mayo Feile na Tuaithe-Turlough Park Ballyhaunis Summer Festival Achill Yawl Sailing Festival Grace Kelly Film Festival RoolaBoola Children’s Arts Festival Achill Half Marathon Achill Walks Festival/Féile Siúlóidí Acla Féile Bia Na Mara / Achill Seafood Festival Heinrich Boll Memorial Weekend Inishbiggle Festival St. Patrick’s Day Walks Festival Geesala Festival Mayo International Choral Festival Westport Arts Festival


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Meath: Scurlogstown Olympiad Traditional Haymaking Festival Trim and Trim Castle, the setting for Mel Gibson’s Braveheart, was once again lucky enough to host another special event, the Scurlogstown Olympiad Traditional Haymaking Festival. Taking place on June 15th and 16th, the festival is there “to promote Irish culture and capture the old skills, crafts, games, pastimes, traditional song, dance, storytelling,” and much more, according to PRO John Marron. Interacting with the audience is important with any festival and this cultural event is no different. The festival committee reached out to younger children to attend by running a story competition for all the National Schools in Co. Meath. “Next year we will involve the schools in a recycling competition,” said John. There were also play-in-thehay areas and events set up for children and teenagers at the festival. The festival also held All-Ireland sythe-cutting and sheaf-tossing competitions that appealed to all age groups and many visiting from abroad. Perhaps most popular of all however, was the Donkey Derby and all-day set-dancing, which “were massive crowd pullers plus the ongoing live music on three stages.” The festival utilised the river and local fishing and anglers clubs and canoeing clubs to provide activity on the waters of the River Boyne, across from Trim Castle. Novelties of the weekend did not end there as the field by the river was turned into an Old Irish Village, complete with thatched roofs for affect and activities for visitors seeking entertainment. John and his team did not find any impression from The Gathering on the festival itself, but a survey carried out by the committee and volunteers found a great increase in visitors from the UK. “We keep in contact with Irish associations in London and Manchester and we send festival DVDs to centre in the UK and the USA,” concluded John about this sudden increase in visitation. The committee of this festival have a €30,000 budget to play with for the festival, which includes a céilí on the night before. John believed the economic impact to be very difficult to estimate but “the three hotels and BandBs are full” for the festival annually. John hopes to


continue to bring more attractions for the pubs and hotels and for the tourists for which they may provide in the future. This year, the festival found one or two challenges in their marketing as “good signage is nullified by newer County Council restrictions every year,” said John about the road signage needed for newcomers to find the festival. We did take up the opportunity to take part in the Temple Bar Tailgate 2012 and Temple Bar Tradfest 2013 for some pre-festival exposure and utilised Facebook and brand new website. The festival has even received international television coverage at home and in Canada, Wales and Belgium. Most marketing strategies and festival activities would not be possible without sponsors. In approaching sponsors John found that “They look for attendance numbers and ask what publicity we intend on using and seek us to highlight their contribution as well as urging our members and patrons to support our sponsors.” One thing that John mentioned that seems unique to the Scurlogstown Olympiad is team-bonding for volunteers. “A good social outing or trip for volunteers helps” in bonding a team that most work hard and efficiently together to pull off such a large scale event.

Among our festival and event members in County Meath Navan Shamrock Festival Trim Hot Air Balloon Fiesta Scurlogstown Olympiad Haymaking Festival Dunshaughlin Harvest Festival Blue Jean Country Queen Festival Swift Satire Festival, Trim For a current update on all our members in this county visit


Monaghan: Monaghan Town Country Music Festival The Monaghan Town Country Music Festival is brand new on the festival and event scene this year. The festival took its maiden voyage from July 18th to 21st and was to be a ‘one off’ but plans are already being made for the same weekend in 2014. With a voluntary committee of nine people and a humble bank loan of €5,000, this festival “simply cannot put a figure on the impact” it has made to the revenue generation of the town. Sponsored by many businesses the festival cost €85,000 to run while generating €40,000 in revenue, half of which was donated to 17 local charities, who were close to the committee’s hearts, according to festival secretary, Julie Brannigan. This first time endeavour was so successful for the festival that the committee plans to “copy and paste” what they did this year while just tightening up their own skills wherever possible. Organisation strategy included holding off the festival until 6pm in order to beat the 9am to 6pm common working hours. One of the main priorities was to tackle the safety factor of the festival and this was done by pedestrianising the entire Monaghan Town ‘diamond’. Also taken into account when thinking of safety was alcohol consumption. “We do need alcohol. Punters need to be able to get a drink safely,” said Julie. The organising committee did not allow people to bring their own alcohol and drinks were confiscated on the way in to the festival from those trying to sneak it in. There was also a lot of work and cooperation made with the Town Council and Gardaí for the benefit of the safety and enjoyment of festival attendees. While the diamond was pedestrianised there was no traffic and people could


enjoy the stress-free environment the music and festivities were set in. The stage was also professionally provided and erected and was the “phenomenal” centre-piece to the musical acts. It was also found that the visual of the stewards set the audience at ease, knowing that those in charge were on site should something go wrong. The organising committee also tapped into the English market for the festival and to boost attendance. All the English clubs were emailed and showed great interest due to the year of the Gathering. Radio advertising also played a great role in getting people to this phenomenal first festival. When recruiting volunteers, Julie found that people were very split into two categories: “Those who will want to work, and those who won’t.” Local volunteers also boosted attendance as neighbours came to see their neighbours. This event received no Gathering 2013 funding and it was thought that people had “no faith in the event, so we said we’d do it on our own,” said Julie. “The venue and timing was perfect,” said Julie before adding that with the weather on their side, the outdoor musical acts were a fantastic hit while ‘Big Tom’ was the act of greatest popularity. “Three generations of family came to see him; couples who hadn’t really been seen in years came out to dance to his music and he brought many people into the town,” she said before adding: “People are still talking about it!”

Among our festival and event members in County Monaghan Carrickroe Welcome Home Festival Clones Film Festival Carrickmacross Festival Flat Lake Festival For a current update on all our members in this county visit


Offaly: Tullamore Show and AIB National Livestock Show The Tullamore Show & AIB National Livestock Show is possibly Offaly’s largest festival and one of Ireland’s largest agricultural shows. The one-day event takes place annually on the second Sunday of August; this year August 11th. An element of Tullamore show which interested visitors immensely was the area of inventions and innovations at the agricultural show and was something talked about for many weeks after the show was over, according to show secretary, Freda Kinnarney. “Many people expressed an interest following up to enquire about the products and services.” Last minute preparation also saw the quick development of a Trade Networking Event for the livestock industry, in association with the AIB National Livestock Show. The event, together with networking “provides an opportunity to highlight the quality of our livestock, the meat produced, possible new and existing market opportunities, while reinforcing the high standards of production, presentation and traceability.” The event left visitors and committee members alike amazed at the success of the sector. The event hosted many guest speakers for enthusiasts of the sector such as Joe Burke of Bord Bia and MEP Mairéad McGuinness. The daylong festival provided more artistic entertainments for visitors too, including local music acts like Ruaile Buaile, “a young up and coming band from around the area and Ruggedwood, which is a fivepiece folk & pop band,” said Freda. “We thought it was important to get local bands involved as a way of promoting the local area and to encourage young people to get involved.” A competition for the Best Dressed Man of the day was also a feature and was introduced to the show as a way of attracting more men to the entertainment section.

The site itself was developed substantially this year too for the convenience of 62,000 plus people in attendance on the day. “We designed a new roadway at gate five for exhibitors to avail of. This made the site more accessible and helped the flow of traffic through the site,” said Freda before adding that the new road acted as a safety feature for traders, competitors and the general public if there had been an emergency, which thankfully there was not. The area for the horses was also relocated and restored thanks to the hard work of the committee and volunteers. By moving the horses many more car parking facilities could be created for the ever growing show. With a colossal budget of €900,000 Freda estimates the town of Tullamore will generate approximately €2 million during this one day event alone. Such success will hopefully allow the show to grow as its committee intends. Plans for 2014 will include not only more development on the site and site layout but an extension of the programme of events “to fulfil the desires of the target audience.”

Offaly Among our festival and event members in County Offaly Canal Quarter Festival Shakefest OFFline Film Festival Tullamore / AIB National Livestock Show Shannonbridge Music Festival Birr Vintage Week & Arts Festival


For a current update on all our members in this county visit

Roscommon: Roscommon Lamb Festival The Roscommon Lamb Festival has been running for six years now and showcased from the 1st to the 6th of this year. The six year festival has grown steadily and made many successful changes this year. Maura Allen and her colleagues have put together a great festival every year but feel management could still do with some improvements. Planning ahead they hope to expand their existing committee and work on the development of sub-committees for a smoother running and more organised festive week.

in 2014. The Aileen Cust was a Gathering event but due to poor attendance the crew will not be running this event again.

As with many festivals there are difficulties in confirming financial support from sponsors but they show great support for the festival. The team offers their sponsors packages in levels of gold, silver and bronze to correspond with their level of monetary support. Support stickers were also given to all sponsors to be displayed in their store front windows. Supporters were also linked with certain events at the festival that they had a particular interest in associating themselves with, along with having their name on all programmes and marketing material. “The sponsors took ownership and made their presence obvious at their events.”

Volunteerism at the event was mixed as it was “hard to get commitment over a long period but they will help during the events.” A link made with the ploughing championships, show committees and IFA provided the festival with great and experienced stewards for the events but the team found it difficult to get farmers on board by donating their time.

The festival itself was a fantastic six days for the public with sheep shearing, Family Fun Day pony rides, the barrel train, face painting and all simple activities for the kids worked well. The BBQ on the site was a great success. Having previously had the BBQ marquee elsewhere, the relocation was better due to the infrastructure and over 500 people attended this event. The Food Trail appealed to so many there are plans to expand it next year, as well as the Farm Walk, associated with Teagas, which attracted another 500 people and plans to be repeated

Next year holds in store, many home improvement plans for the organising crew and the festival itself. Apart from a committee expansion and restructuring and repeat events, Maura and her team want to expand the wool craft aspect of the festival and reach out to more people and potential visitors. Reaching out to more catering people is also on the cards for the local festival now creating half a million Euro in the area from a budget of just €60,000.


Among our festival and event members in County Roscommon Roscommon Drama Festival O’Carolan Harp & Traditional Music Festival Boyle Arts Festival Roscommon Lamb Festival Castlerea International Rose Festival For a current update on all our members in this county visit


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Sligo: Sligo Live Music Festival Sligo Live is Ireland’s greatest folk, root and indie music festival. This is the festival’s ninth year in existence and ran from the 23rd to the 28th of October, all across the town of Sligo. Rory O’Connor is the festival’s executive producer and has been involved for all nine years the event has been running. Growing from strength to strength the festival is now so successful that Rory and his team estimate the local impact to be in the area of €4 million! The festival had a magical line-up of over 80 live acts this year including the famous Imelda May. Performing in IT Sligo, the singer from Dublin played her “fresh blend of irresistible jazz beats, blues and fast-paced rockabilly.” Having previously performed at events like Electric Picnic and T in the Park, it was great to see such a headliner at Sligo Live. LAPD and other up and coming acts performed including the Dublin band Villagers, whose front man has said Sligo Live was a brilliant festival and “the live arena is where it’s at now for new acts to get their break.” Rory believes these bigger and well-known up and coming acts really took the audience by storm. However while the festival is so successful it takes a large budget to keep it going, but Rory states that dealing with stakeholders is becoming more and more difficult as “money is very tight.” These sponsors also want a greater emphasis placed on a more youthful audience. To accomplish this, the committee expanded their marketing strategies to include Facebook and Twitter in their PR.


The team has always concentrated on international visitors and attracting them more and more to the festival without the help of The Gathering and “this will continue to increase,” he said. However, the festival itself did breach international bounds this year by bringing heats of the 50-year-old competition, “Fiddler of Dooney”, to New York and Boston. A very strong programme of traditional music was also included this year to attract overseas audiences. As with any festival there are of course ups and downs and one of the low points for this year’s festival was the cancellation of a scheduled event. ‘The Soundtrack of Our Lives’ event was cancelled due to the unfortunate closure of the local venue that was to host: the Source Sligo. A sign of the times for most local businesses and festivals. The crew also noticed this year that ticket booking was done a lot later this year than before, as people are searching for more value for money when it comes to festivals and events. Rory also stated that for the volunteers of the festival, organisers must always find ways of giving back and rewarding the people who execute the festival so well and successfully. “They were all wonderful people with huge capabilities.” Looking forward to 2014, Rory and the team are very much anticipating the “major celebration for the 10th anniversary” of the Sligo Live Festival.

Among our festival and event members in County Sligo So Sligo Food Festival Find us on Facebook Sligo Jazz Project: Summer School & Jazz Festival Sligo Live Music Festival Coolaney Summer Festival For a current update on all our members in this county visit


Tipperary: Terryglass Arts Festival The Terryglass Arts Festival is a staple of life in Tipperary, having been in business for 15 years now. Running from the 14th to the 18th of August, the €65,000 festivities create over €150,000 annually for the area, according to festival committee chairperson, Valerie Cotter. It was a big year for sales and marketing steps in Tipperary this year. The organising team introduced online booking for festival and event tickets, stepping into the future and adding a convenient way of engaging with the festival for visitors. Advertising in the locality was increased also in the newspaper and radio formats. Diligent record keeping in the past paid off immensely for the team too as they could contact previous festival goers and remind them of the new festival dates. “Some bigger sponsors were looking for a little bit more recognition than just being on the brochure,” said Valerie, before adding that they wanted to be associated with and publicised at specific events, rather than with the festival in its entirety. The Tipperary festival was lucky enough to attract performers all the way from Glasgow. “One of the highlights of this year’s festival was the exhibition ‘Travelling Circul’ by Sharmanka. Mysterious and darkly humorous, the amazing kinetic sculptures presented an eerily magical theatrical performance,” said Valerie.

As the festival celebrated 15 years in development, the festivities kicked off with a Gala Opening Night which showcased two emerging and exciting young talents from the rich lakeside landscape. “As the opening night was such a success we plan to build on it for next year and try and showcase new emerging talent from the area in all aspects of the arts,” she said. The festival is also well known for its participative arts programme and this year featured new, innovative and technical workshops and these were sold out before the festival even began. The Lambert Puppet Theatre Show was loved by all its audience and the committee received “numerous requests to have them back next year.” More of the events were held in the festival marquee than before and this served quite well and is something the committee wishes to build on in the future. The festival also hopes to expand more within the outlying areas and host more events in other types of location. The Gathering specific events included The Gathering at the Quay, which featured rushwork workshops on a barge on the lake. “It demonstrated the rushes being picked and then dried and then participants worked with them to make a takeaway object,” and was a very well attended event. Volunteers for the festival signed up in the masses with some already signed up for next year. “Volunteers now feel that they have a big part to play in the running of the event.” For 2014 plans so far are to build on the market research carried out at this year’s festival, which reveals that the festival is doing a lot right but they are working towards a stronger family audience.

Among our festival and event members in County Tipperary Clancy Brothers Music & Arts Festival Cloughjordan Festival Dromineeer Literary Festival Terryglass Arts Festival Cashel Arts Festival Cloughtoberfest


For a current update on all our members in this county visit


Waterford: Ardmore Pattern Festival The Ardmore Pattern Festival runs from July 21st to 28th in Co. Waterford’s seaside village of Ardmore. “The weeklong festival consists of familyoriented events catering for everyone from the very young to the very old,” said committee member Rosie Mansfield. This festival is taking ‘going green’ very seriously this year and in the future. The committee re-launched their website in the hopes that visitors would utilise their online sources much more readily than before, “which in time will allow us to reduce our brochure printing levels and be more eco-friendly.” The website contains a full real-time working events calendar and is a one-stop shop for everything a visitor to Ardmore would like to know, such as accommodation, food and drink and other things to do in the area. “As more people move to mobile internet usage it also works towards our environmental and social responsibility goals,” said Rosie. The website will play a huge part in the 2014 season for the festival also, as the team plans to make it service sponsors better and impact the local economy positively. It already has gained visitor hits from 67 countries in 2013, possibly due to the year that was in it; The Gathering. Over 60 international visitors were recorded at the festival, with 10 of which coming specifically for the song contest featured for The Gathering. The extra visitors brought in great income via accommodation, dining, entertainment and travel providers in the area and according to Rosie, due to detailed records, they will be inviting the same people back in 2014 too. The songs written and performed for the contest were based on Ardmore and the ethos of The Gathering such as coming home to the seaside


village or welcoming people back. “Declan Carey from Cork was voted the winner with his song The Sunny South East,” and won the top prize of €500, a unique trophy and a professional recording session with Claycastle Recording Studios. The organisation of the festival also tightened up and had a very positive effect overall to the committee’s delight. Tickets for events were previously sold on a demand basis with certain committee members’ phone numbers given out to correspond with certain events. “This year we chose the local Farmers’ Market as the dedicated ticket selling point each week, which resulted in ticket sales of multiple events at the same time and helped us to reach selling targets faster,” said Rosie. The events themselves are innovative and allinclusive, from a children’s play named The Suitcase, to the stunt flying display, and the spectacular live fire show, which complimented the fireworks display. All age-groups of people were cared for, both indoors and out, a huge accomplishment for a committee of just seven people. Planning ahead “one of our key aims is to maintain the motto of ‘free family fun for all.” Preparations spans over 10 months so plans are almost always in the making as each year the committee searches for bigger and better ‘wow’ factors for their festival goers.

Among our festival and event members in County Waterford Ardmore Pattern Festival August Racing Festival Dunmore East Bluegrass Festival Dunmore East Rambling Weekend Family Fun Day Imagine: Waterford Arts Festival Immrama, Lismore Festival of Travel Writing Spraoi Festival Waterford sprÓg Storytelling Southeast Symphony Club of Waterford Tramore Oceanic Surf & Sea Festival Waterford Festival of Architecture Waterford Festival of Food Waterford Harvest Festival Waterford New Music Week Waterford Writers Weekend For a current update on all our members in this county visit


Westmeath: A Knighthood for a Dinner

“A Knighthood for a Dinner” is a relatively new festival as 2013 was just its second year in establishment. It spans over the three days opf the June bank holiday weekend, May 31st to June 2nd, in Kilbeggan, Co. Westmeath. Costing €40,000 last year, the organising committee managed to run the same festival at just €20,000 this year, according to committee chairperson, Alan McCormack, who has been involved since the festival’s inception. “It is estimated that the festival generates revenue to local businesses of €150,000 to €200,000,” over the three days, said Alan. Revenue for the festival and local economy might be linked to the new marketing strategy which included a detailed programme of events and advertising for the main sponsors; advertising on local radio and newspapers and road signage on all the access roads to the town of Kilbeggan. Sponsors also required this year more recognition of their sponsorship in all festival advertising and social media. “They need to know what return they will get on their money and how it is being spent,” stated Alan. Volunteering is a vital part of any festival’s success and this year “all volunteers were local and we had our Fire Officer as head of Health and Safety,” according to Alan. This year the festivities included a fireworks display as the festival’s finale and a much anticipated display of swordfighting and archery by the Freelancing Knights of Redemption. There


was also a very informative and creative display of old-style ‘Kitchen and Cookery’ with free tastings for all attendees. The Lord and Lady of Kilbeggan competition also turned out to be a great hit this year. As well as the regular festivities and those of a medieval theme, the festival played host to many reunions over the three days. “We organised a community photograph of all the people living in the locality,” said Alan, noting the great way of boosting festival attendance. The members of the 1965 and 1972 GAA teams were also invited along to reunite with each other “and we invited them to a reunion at the Kilbeggan Races.” Thinking ahead to next year’s festival, Alan and the committee are hoping to host a commemorative event: “We hope to have a commemorative event next year relating to the First World War.” “We are looking to raise the profile of the festival in 2014 by inviting President Higgins to our festival and to market our festival on national television and radio,” said Alan, looking forward to the festival’s continued success in the Kilbeggan area.

Among our festival and event members in County Westmeath Festival of the Fires The Green Village Music & Arts Festival Body & Soul Festival For a current update on all our members in this county visit


Wexford: John Barry Maritime Festival Wexford town’s John Barry Maritime Festival is a relatively new kid on the block when it comes to festivals, having been established in 2012. Originally a two-day festival, 2013 saw an extension to a three-day event, running from June 20th to 23rd of this year. The festival has a budget of €30,000 but Lorraine Galvin, one of three festival directors, estimates the local monetary impact to be over €500,000. Getting such ‘big spender’ crowds to any festival or event relies heavily on how the festival is presented to the public in the run up to the event. Lorraine said that this year the audience engaged much more with the social media campaign and showed their interest through online platforms. A television ad was also placed on TV3’s events guide and a promotional video uploaded to YouTube pre-festival. “We refloated and dressed up a stricken Viking longboat and entered it into the Wexford St Patrick’s Day parade, handing out leaflets for the festival on route,” said Lorraine. Having won Best Float in the parade created a lot of local publicity and buzz about the festival too.

Most important of all for any festival is the content; that is what keeps people returning year after year. “our number one crowd pleaser had to have been our Flyboarder, propelling himself out of the water to massive heights with a jet pack and water hose along Wexford Quay.” A new state-of-the-art stage was erected for the music and dance acts of which there were plenty, along with the largest Irish and UK model-boat exhibition and free food flowing freely for the festival goers. The festival was also lucky enough to see the “first visit of a Royal vessel was welcomed into Wexford harbour since 1921.”

None of this activity would be possible without committed sponsors of course. The committee found a high demand from sponsors to be featured in the festival brochure and could only think of one strategic way to deal with such demand: “We limited branding on the brochure to festival partners and patrons and benefit-in-kind partners over a certain amount. We created a hierarchy of branding,” said Lorraine. Sponsors got the benefit of their investment year after year and as such the committee “offered two banners this year for each festival friend.”

The ever growing festival is building on this year’s success and is planning not only the three-day festival again but a “new John Barry Maritime Heritage week” for the five days leading up to the established festival. This heritage week will offer visitors special offers and events in Co. Wexford’s maritime tourism sites such as the Hook, Irish National Heritage Park, Duncannon Fort and the Dunbrody. There will also be the Commodore John Barry Homestead in Rosslare tour and the 100th Anniversary of the Rescue of ‘Mexico’ talk.

Among our festival and event members in County Wexford Strawberry Fest Eileen Aroon Festival Enniscorthy Street Rhythms Dance Festival AIMS Choral Festival New Ross Piano Festival


For a current update on all our members in this county visit


Wicklow: Arklow Seabreeze Festival The Arklow Seabreeze Festival takes place annually in the lively town of Arklow, Co. Wicklow. Running this year from July 19th to 21st, this festival has something special and entertaining for everyone. This year the festival was off to a great start before it even began. Leading up to the festivities the Swinging Pubs Competition took hold of the town, with all local pubs and publicans taking part to both support the festival and bring in ever welcome punters. The competition also featured a lot of local musical gems exhibiting their talents. Festival royalty was also chosen in the lead up to the main event. Each year the festival coronate a Festival Princess and Mr Seabreeze for the entertainment of all visitors and enjoyment of all those involved in and participating in the pageants. Even though the festival is always free for all attendees and visitors, Tina O’Sullivan and her colleagues always put on a magnificently entertaining and fun-filled show. For the children the carnival was available on site all day for every day of the festival. There was also the McDonald’s Teddy Bear Picnic for the little ones, specifically associated with the McDonald’s fast food chain. The sector is seeing more and more that sponsors wish to be associated with particular events and not the festival as a whole, in order to target a specific audience. Entertaining festivities included so much more however, such as a mini car push, burger eating competitions, street busking competitions and a pig derby to name just a few. The competitions made the festival so much more participatory and engaging for the fun-seeking festival goers. For the more agricultural types there was even a tractor pull and wheelbarrow obstacle race arranged.

The four day festival had a constant backdrop of music also, between the busking competition, traditional music sessions and other anticipated acts. Friends in Low Places is a Garth Brookes tribute act that headlined along with others like Richie Kavanagh, ever the crowd pleaser, Rebecca Gersly & Band, The Kilkennys, Tell No Foxx and Children of the Son. For those sporty types among visitors there was no disappointment in entertainment and fun. The festival played host to the Arklow Geraldines Ballymoney (AGB) Ladies Under 12 and Under 14 football tournament. The local teams were very successful in their endeavours as was the festival. Studio 55 Junior Dance School also performed for the festival and Bokwa fitness, Taekwondo, Kobra Kick-boxing and martial arts demonstrationS were all the rage among the public. As it was the year of The Gathering it seemed only fitting for the festival to host an International Pipe Band Competition for which bands came from far and wide to enter. The festivities went out with a bang as a fireworks display was released upon the night sky on the last night of the festival. The fun-filled family festival was very successful in 2013 and hopes to be just as well-off for 2014.

Wicklow Among our festival and event members in County Wicklow Bray Jazz Festival Dunlavin Festival of Arts Wicklow Arts Festival Bray Summerfest Glendalough Mid Summer Festival For a current update on all our members in this county visit


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National Competitions for Light, Jazz and Popular Music, and Male Voice 3pm, ST. FIN BARRE’S CATHEDRAL, Adm. Free

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Sung by The Clerks Choral of St. Marys Collegiate Church, Youghal.

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EVOCATIONS with The Songmen



Fleischmann International Trophy Competition SUNDAY 5TH MAY 8pm, CORK CITY HALL

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Carlton Hotel Group Marketing Award Winners

Helen Wells and Pauline Cotter accepting an award from Miriam Dunne for the Corona Fastnet Short Film Festivalâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Best Poster

The team from the John Barry Maritime Festival accepted their award from AOIFE chairperson, Miriam Dunne for the Best Flyer

Michael Whyte of the Galtee Moors Festival accepting a Carlton Marketing Award on behalf of Engage Arts Festival Bandon for Best Programme

Joleen Cronin from the Irish Redhead Convention with AOIFE Chairperson Miriam Dunne

Ballymena Borough Councilâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Rosalind Lowry accepts the Carlton Award for Ballymena Blackboard from Miriam Dunne for Best Photograph

Miriam Dunne with Phil Conyngham from the Drogheda Samba Festival for Best Website

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Joleen Cronin from the Irish Redhead Convention


MA Festive Arts Irish World Academy of Music and Dance University of Limerick

The MA Festive Arts Programme at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance is a unique programme, offering students the opportunity to study festivity, arts management and creative practice in an engaged and interdisciplinary environment. This MA Programme is ideal for those looking to develop their career in arts and event management, in research or to develop their own practice as a performer. The programme combines core shared modules, while allowing individual students to focus on research, arts management and curating, or creative performance. Students get the chance to apprentice with a festival or arts organisation during the programme. The MA is taught by Academy staff and by a wide range of visiting practitioners, who bring their experience and expertise to the course. Combining research skills and practical development, this MA will provide students with experience and expertise relevant to the contemporary arts environment. For information on entry requirements and further course details, please visit and view our postgraduate programme options, or email the Course Director, Dr. Niamh NicGhabhann, The MA Festive Arts programme aims to: provide students with a strong foundation in theoretical and methodological principles relevant to the study of festival. provide students with practical experience in the creative development of festival-based artistic programmes, events management, and festival-based performance. provide an integrated context for studying a variety of performance practices. provide students with the skills to engage in reflexive scholarship around their own practice. provide students with the skills to create audio, visual and written archival documentation around identified festivals.

The programme will equip students with the ability to: address the key requirements of festival coordination including artistic programming, events management, marketing, finance, security, health and safely and audience development. engage in practitioner-based research that contributes to the growth of international research in festive arts. direct a performance-based programme of study. Critically evaluate key issues in performance practice and research relevant to the area of festive arts.

Entry Qualifications


Applicants should normally hold an honours undergraduate degree and / or substantial experience of an appropriate arts practice, evidencing a record of achievement equivalent to a high honours degree, as per ULâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s APEL policy. In all cases, the application process will include an interview and audition.


Financial Overview AOIFE Revenue 2013 Corporate Advertising €17,000

Total Membership Fees Training Fees/Seminars Conference Sales/Income


Sponsorship Grant Aid Commercial Services Income


Total Income 12 Months: €178,500


• 87% of All Network Income is independently earned of subsidies. • Only 30% of AOIFE's income comes from the Membership Fees. • Nearly 25% of AOIFE's Income comes from our Commerical Services to the sector. • 10% of AOIFE’s income comes from Training/Seminars (26% down on 2012)

€18,500 €17,500


AOIFE Expenditure 2013 €6,000 €1,100 €11,000 €9,000


€25,100 €16,500 €3,500 €2,200 €7,000 €9,000


€11,000 Total Gross Estimated Expenditure: €178,500 €4,000


Office Rent Insurance Executive Expenses International Affiliation/Liaison Annual Conference Research/Report Commissioning Executive Training/Skilling Network Marketing Activities Training/Seminars Administration Costs Legal/Accountancy Fees Website/Info Technology Wages & Salaries Commercial Services Banking Charges & Interest • Just 16% of All Network Expenditure (€27,950) goes to Rent, Insurance, Admin, Exec, Overhead Expences. • Approximately 36% of All Networks Income goes on Staff Costs. • Approximately 52% of the Association Income is spent directly on Members Sector benefits. • A Full Set of Audited Accounts is returned to the AGM each year and filed with the CRO. Note: A full set of Audited Accounts is available each year to any member upon request to the secretariat.


AOIFE Team 2013 AOIFE LTD / Board of Directors / National Executive


Miriam Dunne Former Programme Director Waterford Spraoi Festival, Current Freelance Festival and Arts Producer. Maria Moynihan M.D. Milestone Events, Former Director of Dublin St. Patricks Festival, Cultural Day of Welcomes and Galway Volvo Port Stopover Festival Director 2010. Geoffrey Kane Director Wicklow Arts Festival. Jan Rotte Director of the Imrama Travel Writing Festival, Lismore, Co. Waterford. Karen Bonner Former Director of Greystones Arts Festival, Current Committee Member Greystones. Gerry McColgan Former Events Manager Derry City Council.

Executive Director: Colm Croffy Projects Co-ordinator: Paula Harley Third Level Interns/Trainees: Administration, Communications, Special Events, Online Marketing, Research and Training. AOIFE has been an official Training Host Organisation for a number of European Programmes and Third Level institutions and has utilised the grateful involvement in 2013 of the following organisations: • Erasmus/ Davinchi Vocational Training EU Programmes • University of Limerick • InHolland University, The Hague • Europaische Wirtschafts und Sprachenakademie GmbH • Ist. Mag. I. M. S. P. Gobetti • ITC E. Majorana • Galway Community College • Umeå University • Liceo Linguistico Ipcl Ninni Cassara • Università DI Napoli “Parthenope” • University of Padua • Friedrich-List-Schule • University of Verona

AOIFE would like to thank the following Work Placement Students/Interns from over eight different European countries who assisted us in delivering our programme: L-R: Colm Croffy, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway; Paula Harley, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway; Owen Dunne, Kilcormac, Co. Offaly; Samantha Berry, Limerick, Co. Limerick; Pamela Ryan, Thurles Co. Tipperary; Sharon Jeths, Holland; Barbara Parodi, Italy; Chiara Scianname, Italy; Letizia Torelli, Italy; Elysa Geraci, Italy; Alexa Potthoff, Germany; Elia Tedesco, Italy; Vanessa Klement, Germany; Sarah Fehlinger, Germany; Valeria Rizzato, Italy; Micol Campanaro, Italy; Paul Costello, Listowel, Co. Kerry; Elina Hansi, Germany; Nadine Wiz, Germany; Darren Hogan, Ballinasloe, Co. Galway.


Training / Mentoring Clients & Partners

Belfast City Council

Cork City Council

Please contact for a bespoke event/festival organisers training and mentoring programme for your area.


AOIFE: Reeling in the Years AOIFE History 1993-2013: First founded in March of 1993in Arklow, Co. Wicklow, AOIFE – Association of Irish Festival Events – established itself as the island’s primary organisation for festival and event suppliers, funders, influential policy-makers and all types of established and novice organisers representing the festivals of food, music, dance, heritage, film and comedy to name just a few. In the last 20 years AOIFE has built an organisation that offers many services to its members. In 1997 AOIFE was an instrumental component in the initiation of the first ever ‘Showman’s Show in Ireland’ in Dublin’s RDS. It has become an integral part of the AOIFE Annual Conference ever since. “This is a magical shop window for festival organisers, where one can see an array of speciality acts,” said former AOIFE chairperson, Padraic Moore back in 1997. Just months later in February of 1998, the AOIFE Advisory Council was launched. For members this provided a free hands-on advice service catering for any issues a festival may be experiencing or that of its corporate and associate members. The Annual Conference of 2000 launched the company’s online career. Having now entered the cybersphere, was, and still is, an integral and useful tool for both AOIFE and all those which it represented. Containing all the information needed by potential members, existing members were now given easy access to contacts, publications and links to other useful sites. For the everyday festival-goer, the search for upcoming festivals and events had never been so easy. In 2002 the AOIFE organisation packed up and moved to the Ballinasloe Enterprise Centre in Co. Galway. It relocated again in 2011 to the heart of the town. The humble Town Hall Theatre located on Society Street is now the core hub of AOIFE’s team and operations. The 10 year anniversary of AOIFE’s development brought with it more than just celebrations. A big year for AOIFE, 2003 saw a lot of networking and research growth for the association and in turn, the sector. The Five Year Strategic Plan for the company was adopted and evolved; it served as a blueprint for future success and took up where the O’Keefe Report left off. AOIFE contributed to the Tourism Policy Review Group in relation to Casual Trading and made a much needed submission to the Alliance for Insurance Reform regarding the essential needs of festivals and events which were not previously understood by policy makers at the highest level. Perhaps the most important thing that occurred for AOIFE in 2003, however, was the undertaking of a research study based on the impact of festivals and events on life in Ireland. According to former chairperson, Ian Malcolm, this research carried out by Fiona Goh for AOIFE proved the “positive economic relationship between visiting crowds and the hospitality industry,” and was published in 2004. Internal structure for the association underwent great change in 2004 and was one of the biggest changes and greatest steps forward for AOIFE. Such a large organisation needs a matching workforce and AOIFE began taking on Third Level interns taking care of everything from IT, media, membership management and press and communications. This became a very symbiotic relationship. AOIFE gained from the interns a much needed workforce and a fresh perspective and way of thinking. The interns in turn gained from AOIFE the experience they needed to succeed in the field of their chosen careers.

AOIFE and Fáilte Ireland collaborated on a major project, beginning in 2005. Together they began offering Training Seminars for those involved in the festival and event sector and have since trained 1,200 volunteers. 10 years ago AOIFE went through quite drastic organisational and structural changes at a National Executive level after the O’ Keefe Report . Due to a mixed bag of luck for the festival and event sector the year previous, it was deemed necessary to ‘mix it up’. A new Secretary General was appointed and the National Executive was reduced from 10 to seven persons after the challenges endured in 2005. AOIFE established and developed their team at local level with the introduction of District Member Liaison Officers, which tried but failed to bring the recruitment and story of the network to the coal face. For its members AOIFE has provided not just advice, but in-depth seminars and workshops specifically tailored to festivals and what they need to help them to succeed, expand and play on their uniqueness. Whether it is a sales and marketing strategy, social media establishment or the training of volunteers, AOIFE has been available with a helping hand every step of the way. In 2011 the AOIFE Secretariat had to down size premises from the Enterprise Centre partner the Town Hall theatre Team in Society St. Ballinasloe. In a decade between 2002 when AOIFE first received it’s funding from FI at €90,000 and 2012 when it its public funding commitment was reduced to €22,000 – the Association has found the capacity to earn 87% of it’s operational income from it’s own resources . It is know the third largest Festival and Event Association Europe and enjoys a rich contacts system – linking best European and Itnernational practice to our Irish organisers. Every year AOIFE holds a conference for its members, and interested parties. This year’s conference not only unites the festival and event industry under one roof but also marks the 20th anniversary of AOIFE’s establishment. The conference added a very valuable aspect to it just three years ago in 2011. The Placement Partnering Programme became an integral part of conference for both festival and event sector employers and organisers and for Third Level students seeking work experience. AOIFE gained valuable symbiotic relationships when it took on interns and decided to share this experience with its conference attendees. Last year approximately 65 students attended the programme seeking placements in the sector as they are training for such work in Third Level institutions across the globe, and many of these were placed. Employers too, gain much through the programme with newly trained interns coming in on a usually voluntary basis and providing fresh ideas, enthusiasm and insight. This year, AOIFE’s Annual Conference 2013 is aptly named ‘Capacity to Endure’. The fact that AOIFE is still here 20 years on is a testament to the great passion and volunteerism showcased throughout the entire festival and event sector.

For a current update on all our members in this county visit




AOIFE Review 2013  

The 2013 Annual Festivals Review of AOIFE (Association of Irish Festivals and Events). Email us: or visit www.aoifeon...

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