Killarney festival tickets to be refunded after event cancelled

Poor ticket sales may be among ‘unforeseen circumstances’ behind event cancellation

The curse of “unforeseen circumstances” strikes again.

That was the reason given by organisers of the ill-fated Killarney Festival of Music and Food for their decision to cancel the event, scheduled to take place in Co Kerry this weekend.

It’s a term which pops up regularly explaining why concerts and events have been pulled.

It is often used as shorthand for failure to sell enough tickets to make an event economically viable.


The Killarney festival organisers, led by Darryl Downey - best known for promoting shows and events such as Rag Lane - have not commented on the exact nature of the unforeseen circumstances which led to the cancellation.

It appears clear, though, that there was a significant shortfall between the numbers expected and the numbers who purchased tickets.

Last-minute downsizing

This can be seen by the fact there was a last-minute downsizing of venue for the event.

The festival was initially due to take place in the grounds of Killarney National Park. The promoters talked in the early stages about an expected attendance of about 36,000.

A venue switch to Killarney Racecourse, with a capacity of about 6,000, suggests a smaller audience was then expected.

According to sources in Killarney, it’s believed about 2,500 tickets had been sold.

One of the more interesting questions is why the event may have failed to sell?

After all, it was a pretty decent line-up for a festival of this ilk.

More than 70 Irish and international acts were due to play the festival’s four music stages, including Duran Duran, Burt Bacharach, Texas, ABC, The Undertones, Walking On Cars, Father John Misty, Mundy and The Proclaimers.

‘Mouth-watering dishes’

The festival also heavily promoted its food side, with chefs such as Derry Clarke, Ross Lewis and JP McMahon due to “prepare delicious mouth-watering dishes using locally produced, seasonal ingredients from Kerry”.

There was also to be a number of other stages including a comedy tent featuring Après Match, Deirdre O’Kane and Jason Byrne, as well as a stage hosted by RTÉ Radio One, which was due to broadcast two-hour shows each night from the festival, presented by Kathryn Thomas and Cathal Murray.

But even that bill of fare didn’t stick with the Irish gig-going public. Since the cancellation, there has been some suggestion the event could have been promoted more heavily.

There has also been comment in some quarters that the cost of accommodation in Killarney at the peak of the tourism season may have put off many would-be punters.

There’s also the factor that we may well have reached peak festival and there are simply too many events on the calendar to accommodate a newbie like the Killarney Festival.

As things stand there are disappointed music fans out there - and a lot of questions seeking answers.

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