Kilkenny's 'festival fever' may see changes to event grants system

'There is a danger we will diminish the impact of the grants'

Sam Matthews

Reporter:

Sam Matthews

Email:

sam.matthews@kilkennypeople.ie

Kilkenny's 'festival fever' may see  changes to event grants system

Comedian Al Porter at the Cat Laughs Comedy Festival in 2014. The council is examining the possibility of moving to multi-annual funding for larger festivals.

The significant increase in demand for festival and events grants here demonstrates the high regard in which Kilkenny is held as a 'festival destination' — as well as the level of engagement from local communities and groups.

However, it also means that the funding is now being increasingly widely stretched across a growing number of events. These range from smaller, community-based events, such as summer barbeques and family days, to much larger festivals which attract thousands of people.

Things are now moving toward a situation where Kilkenny County Council may have to change the operation of the grants scheme to ensure the ongoing viability of the larger, 'flagship' festivals, while still facilitating newcomers and smaller events.

“There is a danger we will diminish the impact of the grants,” warned senior executive officer with Kilkenn County Council Brian Tyrrell on Monday.

Mr Tyrrell told local councillors that a strategic view of festivals may be necessary, including looking at 'community events' as separate.

“It may mean a move toward multi-annual funding, which means members would have to make decisions for a three-year or a five-year term,” he said.

Councillor Malcolm Noonan said that for some events, such as music festivals, signing different acts or getting approvals needed to be done almost a year in advance in any case.

“Kilkenny is now a music destination in its own right,” he said.