THE SUMMER festivals that are responsible for bringing hundreds of thousands of people into Kilkenny were criticised for their failure to support the Watergate theatre at Monday’s borough council meeting.
The manager of the Watergate Theatre, Ger Cody said that they would be asking the Chamber of commerce to think twice before writing a blank cheque for funding of the festivals. He said “What a shame then last year that during the rhythm and roots festival the organisers couldn’t see fit to put one gig on in the Watergate. What a shame then that this years comedy festival can’t see fit to put one gig on there. The same festivals would of course see fit to put the gigs on in hotels because of course it is free. Frankly, from our point of view this is not good enough. These festivals will be sending out their annual letters to members of the chamber of commerce, borough and county councils, asking them for help in funding these festivals. We, the Watergate, are member of the Chamber of Commerce and we are asking members to think twice before contributing and ask them why they will not support their local civic theatre.”
However, Cllr Malcolm Noonan was quick to point out that the Rhythm and Roots festival will be holding a gig in the Watergate this year. John Grant will be playing there on Sunday 1st of May and has already nearly sold out.
The Cats Laughs have been hit by severe budget cut backs since they lost there title sponsor. As much as they would like to they are unable to use all the venues availabel in Kilkenny. A spokesperson for The Cats Laugh comedy Festival said “Every year The Cat Laughs Comedy Festival showcases the very best of Irish and international comedy in Kilkenny. The lack of a title sponsorship arrangement for 2011 has required the festival to make severe budget cuts, resulting in the consolidation of shows into a smaller number of venues. Festival programming is undertaken annually in close collaboration and discussion with our venue colleagues, but unfortunately we simply cannot use every venue every year.”