'Live at the Marquee' coming to a town near you? 

Cork County Council is initially to purchase a massive marquee to help promote community festivals once lockdown restrictions are lifted.
'Live at the Marquee' coming to a town near you? 

Although the council-purchased marquees will not feature headline acts like Elton John, they will be used to host community festivals and artistic events post-lockdown. Picture: Eddie O'Hare

'Live at the Marquee' could be coming to a town or village near you in Co Cork, although it may not feature Elton John, Diana Ross or Bob Dylan.

Cork County Council is initially to purchase one massive marquee to help promote community festivals — particularly focused on music and the arts — and more could follow.

Its officials are looking at funding streams to see if they can purchase more of the marquees after being told by councillors that demand for them will be massive when Covid-19 lockdown restrictions start to ease.

Fianna Fáil councillor Seamus McGrath had asked for the move and welcomed news from Niall Healy, director of municipal services, that he was making progress on it.

Mr Healy said the local authority was already using funding it got from the Government in last year's Town and Village Renewal Scheme to purchase one.

“The initial purchase is intended to be available for use countywide and will inform how Cork County Council can best respond to the needs of communities in terms of recreational infrastructure. It is accepted that 2021 will not be a typical year, with many outdoor events and festivals being cancelled/deferred. It may, therefore, be next year before the equipment is properly tried and tested, and the outcome of the initiative becomes evident,” Mr Healy said.

Mr McGrath said he could foresee several community groups and organisations interested in using it and suggested a second one should be purchased.

Booking system

He suggested a booking system would be needed and a specific council crew would be required to put them up.

Fianna Fáil councillor Frank O'Flynn described it as “a wonderful idea” and told officials he could see it being so popular it was probably wiser to purchase one for each of the council's eight municipal districts.

Council chief executive Tim Lucey said it would be important to support arts and culture events, which had been badly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said he'd look at possible funding streams from the Government to acquire more marquees, adding that the sheer size of the county probably warranted this.

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