Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

Vantastival vs Louth County Council

Good news from An Bord Pleanála for Vantastival and all small Irish music festivals

Wed, Apr 24, 2013, 15:05


Very interesting news from the Vantastival music and campervan festival about their ongoing brouhaha with Louth County Council, which will have a knock-on efect for all those covering the Irsh festival beat.

Over a year ago, the local county council had ruled that the festival constituted development and therefore required full planning permission in order to proceed at Bellurgan Park near Dundalk. Vantastival appealed this to An Bord Pleanála, who have ruled in favour of the festival.

Per the festival’s director Louise Tangney, “the crux of the matter boiled down to the use of the word ‘local’ in a subsection of the Planning and Development Act, 2000. It was Louth County Council’s judgement that, as the Vantastival event is marketed nationally, it could not be considered a local event and therefore, did not qualify for an exemption under the current planning laws and was subject to planning permission.

“Vantastival Ltd. successfully argued to An Bord Pleanála that nowhere in the legislation was the word ‘local’ clearly defined, and in any case, any event which features on Fáilte Ireland’s website is essentially marketed to a national and global audience. By extension, each event would therefore be subject to planning permission, effectively closing down the Irish small festival scene, a potential disaster in the year of The Gathering 2013.

“The ruling by An Bord Pleanála last week, has set a positive precedent for all events coming in under the 5,000 person threshold. Until now, this has been a grey area for event organisers and local authorities alike. The diligence with which Louth County Council interpreted the current legislation brought this matter to a head and forced the Vantastival organisers to refer the decision to An Bord Pleanála in April 2012.”

This year’s Vantastival takes place over the May bank holiday weekend and acts playing include Damien Dempsey, And So I Watch You From Afar, Jerry Fish, Altan, RSAG, Mark Geary, Nanu Nanu, Daithi, Cat Dowling and many more. Tickets are now on sale at €89 for three nights camping and €40 for day tickets. Children under 14 go free and tickets for 14 to 17 year olds, accompanied by an adult, are €40 for the weekend.