Following a successful Tradfest , festival chairman Cllr Malcolm Noonan is calling for a more strategic approach to positioning the city as the music capital of Ireland.
“Tradfest and St Patrick’s Day weekend is the kickstart of the festival calendar in Kilkenny. We were overwhelmed with the feedback from both the parade and the music programme for Tradfest and hope to build on the quality of the festival for next year’ said Cllr Noonan.
“Many visitors look at a festival like this and book two or three bed nights,” he said emphasising the spin off such festivals have on the local economy.
“Similarly with the Roots Festival we have visitors who come back time and time again. These are the big spenders in the local economy. I think we should consider the cumulative impact of these festivals, the potential for future concerts in Nowlan Park, the diversity of venue sizes from Cilin Hill right down to the Watergate and Cleere’s Theatre and promote the city as a music mecca.
“We also have a diverse music programme in Kilkenny Arts Festival, Kilkenny Music Festival, Kilkenny Musical Society and the best of local talent in Rockfall. Visitors and locals mix in a safe environment and in a compact city that is ideally placed to become Ireland’s music capital’ he said.
Cllr Noonan cited collaboration between UK Tourism and UK Music in promoting music tourism overseas. They estimate that tourists going to concerts and festivals is worth over 2.2billion pounds to the UK economy. He maintains that a similar approach could be taken by Failte Ireland, Irish Music Rights Organisation (IMRO) and music promoters.
“Kilkenny could lead the way by merging supports of existing festivals, sharing infrastructure and creative talent and be supported by Kilkenny Tourism and the new economic unit of Kilkenny County Council.
“Tradfest has great potential and if it’s to move to the next level it will need a strategic approach. Kilkenny has come a long way and won many accolades over recent years, Ireland’s music capital could well be our next destination,” concluded the Tradfest Chairman.