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Future of festival in doubt

Future of festival in doubt

Áine Ryan

DESPITE the success of this year’s Westport Music Festival, headlined by The Sawdoctors, organisers said last night its future is in question due to lack of support by local businesses.
Speaking to The Mayo News, Dick Bourke revealed that of the 250 local businesses contacted, only 12 responded to a written request for financial support. However, Mr Bourke highlighted the great support of its main sponsors and the positive response by festival-goers to a bucket appeal for €5 each.
“Our opening night was a huge success with up to 18,000 people from all over the west attending The Sawdoctors on Friday night. We were also delighted that the entire weekend went off without any incidents, thanks to the gardaí and the support of our stewards,” Mr Bourke said.
However, he continued: “Unfortunately, there are many businesses that didn’t give us any money. We sent out 250 envelopes and only got 12 back, and some of these were from businesses that didn’t benefit at all because they were closed at 6pm. Luckily enough, there was a great response to our bucket campaign.”
Dick Bourke said the two-day festival, which also featured cover band Beatlez on Saturday night, was a voluntary effort for the community.
“Nobody makes money other than the bands and the stage owners; we get nothing out of it and have to consider our position for next year. We cannot make this festival happen on fresh air,” he added.
Meanwhile, the Project X gathering did not happen even though a second Facebook page stated it would go ahead at the Point, at Westport quay. A garda spokesman told The Mayo News last night there were no incidents at all during the festival or, moreover, any gathering at the Quay that they were aware of. He said numbers on Friday night attending The Sawdoctors, according to their estimations, were just in excess of 10,000 and around 3,000 on Saturday night for Beatlez.
The main sponsors of the Westport Music Festival are Diageo, Super Valu, Castlecourt Hotel, C&C Cellular, Blue Thunder and Toby’s Bar.