A surprise, late, change of location for the Killarney Festival of Music & Food from the National Park to the local racecourse, was due to “additional costs” arising at the original venue, organisers said.
When the two-day event, held in Westport, Co Mayo for the past three years, was announced for Co Kerry earlier this year, promoters boasted it would attract 36,000 patrons. However, Kerry County Council, the licensing authority, yesterday said it had been informed the attendance would be under 5,000 each day.
An event licence is only required when the crowd is greater than 5,000. But the organisers are still obliged to consult with gardaí and the council regarding a revised traffic management plan for a much smaller attendance, the council said.
Headline acts on the programme include Duran Duran, Burt Bacharch, Jools Holland, and The Stunning.
A spokesperson said holding a festival in a greenfield site presented a number of financial challenges, especially in year one, and they were experiencing unexpected additional costs outside their budget.
“We really want to make sure we get the first year of the festival right so we needed to relocate to somewhere where were can run a successful festival within our budget,” she said.
“Killarney Racecourse is a great venue which accommodates large numbers on a regular basis as it has a great infrastructure. All the acts are performing — everything that we have advertised will be exactly as planned.”
She said the racecourse had an excellent infrastructure including bars, hospitality areas, and “flushing loos which are a bonus at a festival”.
All ticket holders are being notified by Ticketmaster and they can apply for a refund if they wish.
This weekends festival is relocating to Killarney Racecourse beside the National Park. Another stunning location! pic.twitter.com/8NtxerbbT2— Killarney Festival (@Killarney_Music) June 23, 2015
The racecourse company board decided on Monday night to allow the event go ahead on its property “in the interests of Killarney”, but subject to conditions and to agreement with gardaí on a traffic management plan.
Meanwhile, the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, responsible for Killarney National Park, said it had played no role in the promoter’s decision to change the venue.
“The department is positively disposed towards this event, which should have positive economic and cultural benefits for Killarney,” said a spokesman.
“The department agreed terms with the promoter to facilitate the festival taking place in Killarney National Park. There were no outstanding issues with compliance.”
Adult tickets cost €76 daily and €142 for a two-day ticket. Up to two children under 12 per paying adult will be admitted free.
In addition to music and comedy acts such as Neil Delamere, Jason Byrne and Karl Spain, the event features celebrity chefs including Derry Clarke, Ross Lewis and Catherine Fulvio and artisan food producers.
The organisers said they were working with everyone locally, including all the relevant authorities, to make the event run as smoothly as possible.