IT looks like it will be a bumper summer of music festivals in Westport this year, with confirmation yesterday that yet another big concert is being planned for the town.
Sources close to ‘The Westport Festival of Music and Performing Arts’ were remaining tight-lipped about the event and what it might mean for the town, but Fáilte Ireland revealed the good news when they announced that €40,000 in funding has been allocated for a music festival in Westport this summer. Minister for State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring, is quoted in the statement welcoming the development, and says he is delighted that through Fáilte Ireland his Department were able to provide support to this latest music event in Westport.
The statement - very lacking in specific detail - was released yesterday (Monday), by Fáilte Ireland, and caused confusion in Westport, as it stated that the money was for the ‘Westport Music Festival’ However, The Mayo News has confirmed that the funding does not relate to the free open air concerts organised on The Fairgreen every year - a several day event traditionally known as ‘The Westport Music Festival’.
Rather, it is for a new two day music and arts festival to be hosted on the grounds of Westport House, and reportedly being planned for the second last weekend in June. A spokesperson for Westport House refused to be drawn on the specifics of the plans when contacted yesterday, but did confirm that an event - ‘The Westport Festival of Music and Performing Arts’ was being planned for later this year.
Speculation is rife as to who will feature at the event, with names such as Imelda May, The Waterboys and even Van Morrison being touted around Westport. It is understood that the event will have an official launch in the coming weeks where all will be revealed, and that it will be advertised nationally with promotion for the event being looked after outside Westport.
Westport House would not comment on the anticipated crowds or whether they would look to make this an annual event. The Mayo News also understands that the Westport Music Festival will take place this summer as usual - in either July or August - though over how many nights and who will headline the free open-air concerts is not known at this stage.
A further free open-air concert is being discussed by Westport Town Council after Cllr Michael McLaughlin proposed the idea at the recent budget meeting of the council. He was successful in securing dedicated funding of €20,000 for the proposal, and has stated that he favours a traditional Irish music themed event.