Million-euro boost as Ballina to find its Other Voices

Ballina will welcome one of the world's most prestigious and critically acclaimed music festivals this September when it hosts a leg of Other Voices.

The festival which started off in Dingle 15 years ago has grown to become one of the most prestigious music events in the global calender with the likes of Ed Sheeran, Willie Nelson, Ray Davies, Hozier, Elbow, Glen Hansard, Ryan Adams, Florance and the Machine and Mumford and Sons all performing at it in the past.

The festival which has been a popular television hit is broadcast by RTE in Ireland and in a number of countries around the world on TV and through live streaming.

Anne McCarthy, arts officer for Mayo County Council outlined the plans for the festival in Ballina which have been in the workings for the past year to the members of the Ballina Municipal District at their March meeting this week.

She told the members that festival is slated to take place over the weekend of Friday, September 28 and Saturday, September 29 where a number of world class artists will decamp to Ballina with performances taking place all over the town.

The main hub for performances will be like in Dingle in a church, with St Michael's Chruch in Ballina the selected venue, with other performances taking place in pubs and venues around the town. Also taking place as part of the festival with be the Ireland's Edge conference in the Ballina Arts Center on the Saturday.

McCarthy informed the meeting that she and other officials and local stakeholders along with the production team behind the festival carried out a two day tour of the town last year to see if the town would be suitable for their needs and they were delighted with the locations and the town.

She also said that the festival could bring in the region of €1.5 million to the town and that the profile of the town would get great exposure with the live music in the television version of the show being inter-cut with interviews with the musicians that are filmed in various scenic locations around the town.

Tom Gilligan, director of services for Mayo County Council said that the Other Voices brand is well established both nationally and internationally.

"You just have to see the impact it has in Dingle, it was amazing being down there last year when we went to check it out. You had music in pubs and venues all day and night and you could not get into them at times. The impact it has culturally to the town is immense. The exposure will give Ballina a huge profile and attract a lot of visitors," he said.

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