Killarney music festival clash looms

Jools Holland who is on the bill for the festival.

A clash is looming between business and environmental interests over the venue for a major music festival which will bring a financial windfall to a tourism hotspot.

Promoters of the Killarney Festival of Food and Music have met the Department of Arts, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht with a view to staging the event in a section of Killarney National Park.

The department is believed to be laying down strict conditions for the June 27-28 festival and is seeking additional information from the promoters in regard to any impact the event may have on the park and on wildlife.

The festival, previously held in Westport, Co Mayo, is estimated to be worth €6m to Killarney and headline acts include Burt Bacharach, Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, and The Proclaimers.

Upwards of 20,000 people are expected to attend.

Yesterday, the department said a draft habitats directive screening had been sent in by ecological consultants acting for the promoters.

“The department is liaising directly with the promoters’ consultants with a view to clarification on some issues and to obtaining some further details in relation to the promoters’ plans and ecological effects on Killarney National Park flora and fauna,” he added.

The site earmarked for the festival is known locally as the Half Moon Field and is close to Killarney House and gardens which are undergoing a €7m restoration.

The Killarney National Park Liaison Committee discussed the situation at a meeting, on Wednesday.

A spokesperson pointed out an alternative site was available in Killarney.

However, one environmental campaigner said allowing such a festival in the park would set a bad precedent.

“Big musical events have been staged successfully in Fitzgerald Stadium or the INEC complex, which are far more appropriate locations,” he said.


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