KBC hears values echoed in chamber music

The bank’s cultural sponsorship is the opposite of ephemeral, says its chief executive


Cultural events that could once reliably tap the sponsorship budgets of the banking sector have had to cast a wider net in recent years, but one relationship that has survived the downturn is that between KBC Bank Ireland and Great Music in Irish Houses, Ireland’s longest-running chamber music festival.

“One of the things we find attractive about the festival is that it’s not static,” says KBC Bank Ireland chief executive John Reynolds. “With cultural sponsorships, your concern can be that the relationship becomes stale.”

[CROSSHEAD]Long-term relationship
[/CROSSHEAD]The bank is now in its 13th year of sponsoring the festival, which takes place this year from June 11th-16th in venues including Killruddery House, Castletown House and Christchurch Cathedral. This year, it will include a performance in the Waterways Ireland Visitor Centre in Dublin, known as “the box on the docks”, for the first time.

“One of the debates we would have had is would we get involved in the three- year cycle of replacement sponsorships,” Reynolds adds. “But we see value in a long-term relationship.”

KBC Bank – which rebranded from IIB Bank in 2009 – has, since 2001, invested more than €1 million in the festival, which is also supported by the Arts Council and the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, with RTÉ Lyric FM on board as the natural media partner.

“Obviously we’re the title sponsor so we are putting up the largest share of the funding,” says Reynolds. “I think they key thing for us that the event is compatible with our business values. We don’t want to be associated with something that is ephemeral, or a moment in time – we have been in Ireland for 40 years.”