Hair today, gone tomorrow: Redhead festival cancelled

Redheads are singing the blues after the plug was pulled on one of Ireland’s most colourful festivals.

Last year's king and queen of the redheads Andy O'Neill and Emma Ní Chearúil. Lack of funding has seen the plug pulled on the festival.

Organisers of the Irish Redhead Convention — an annual celebration in Crosshaven, Co Cork, of all things ginger, attracting global media attention and thousands of visitors over the last seven years — confirmed it will not take place next summer.

Founder Joleen Cronin said she was extremely disappointed, and blamed increased costs and lack of public funding for the decision. She described the level of funding the event received as “a joke”, given the media attention it attracted.

“When we launched in 2010, we had little idea of the enormous impact our ginger gathering would have on redheads of all ages and the positive shifts in attitudes towards having red hair.

“We created more than just a festival; we created a family, lifelong friendships, a support network and years of wonderful memories.”

However, she said organisers faced significant challenges in recent years, with a larger festival incurring greater costs.

“With little public funding and the lack of a main sponsor, ticket sales and the sponsorship and support of small local businesses have not been enough to cover the costs. We need to take stock and take a year out to try to resolve the issues, so that we can once again the deliver the kind of festival that you are used to and deserve,” Ms Cronin wrote on the festival website.

This year’s convention cost €26,000 to run, but secured just €2,000 from Fáilte Ireland’s Regional Festival fund. An application for €15,000 in Cork County Council economic development funding was turned down.

Bad weather hit attendance figures, but it was still worth an estimated €200,000 to the local economy.

However, the fall in income, sponsorship, and funding combined to leave organisers facing an €11,000 shortfall.

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