Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Another festival feels the squeeze of slow ticket sales

The summer festival season has claimed another victim. The Dysart Festival, initially scheduled this weekend for Thomastown, Co Kilkenny, has been forced to significantly downsize its plans and move to a smaller, indoor venue because of poor ticket sales. Dysart …

Fri, Aug 8, 2008, 09:46

   

The summer festival season has claimed another victim. The Dysart Festival, initially scheduled this weekend for Thomastown, Co Kilkenny, has been forced to significantly downsize its plans and move to a smaller, indoor venue because of poor ticket sales.

Dysart was due to feature Jools Holland, classical star Katherine Jenkins, Kenny Larkin, Stacey Pullen, Cutmaster Swift and a host of Irish bands.

The motivation behind the festival was to raise funds to repair the 600-year-old Dysart Castle, birthplace of Irish philosopher George Berkeley.

However, despite the line-up and the setting – one press release described the main stage as “a huge, curving natural bowl framed by ancient Irish forests and the bend of the River Nore” – the public did not bite.

According to Kilkennymusic, the festival promoters initially pinned the cancellation on “monsoon”-like weather conditions, which resulted in one of the stages “sinking”, in an interview on Friday morning with KCLR 96 FM.

By that evening, though, their tune had changed and the reason for the cancellation had become “an insufficient level of ticket sales to enable a viable inaugural event”.

However, the festival website was not updated with information about the changes until very late on Tuesday, and tickets for the original festival were still on sale up to Sunday afternoon.

As a result, many ticket holders first found out about the difficulties the festival was experiencing through online blogs such as Kilkennymusic.com and On The Record.

A spokesman for the festival says the website was not updated because they “didn’t have anything to confirm” due to difficulties finding a replacement venue over the bank holiday weekend.

A significantly reduced festival will take place this weekend in the Kilford Arms Hotel in Kilkenny. The Blind Boys of Alabama and Gemma Hayes will headline on Saturday, with the Republic Of Loose, John Martyn, Cathy Davey, a screening of the All-Ireland hurling semi-final between Kilkenny and Cork and a DJ set from The Orb amongst Sunday’s star attractions.