The Other Voices music festival which took place in Ballina at the tail end of February, saw an economic benefit of around €1.5 million in the town, it was revealed this week. The festival was headlined by David Gray and Elbow who played in St Michael’s Church in Ballina, with numerous other acts performing in venues across the town. The event was live streamed and featured in the Other Voices television show recently broadcast on RTÉ.
The elected members of Mayo County Council were given an update on the two-day festival which ran from Friday, February 28 to Saturday, February 29 in the north Mayo town, by Anne McCarthy, head of strategic projects for the local authority, at their May meeting, which took place on Monday in the GMIT Mayo campus.
In her report, McCarthy outlined that the total cost of the festival was €420,000, which included all component elements and filming for broadcast and live streaming. Mayo County Council invested a total of €75,000 in the project, with the remaining funding coming from Creative Ireland Mayo, LEADER, the Department of Arts, local fundraising and sponsorship.
The strategic partners for the event were Mayo County Council, Moy Valley Resources and South Wind Blows, with other partners involved in other areas. In her report, McCarthy said that there was an estimated 30,000 visitors to the Ballina and north Mayo region as part of the festival and the total media coverage reach of the festival was around 30 million people through press, radio and social media.
In regard to the economic benefit, she said a conservative estimate put it in the region of €1.5 million and 'almost every business reported a significant boost to the their trade. Hotel occupancy in the town was at capacity and taxi and minibus hire companies reported that the weekend was busier than Christmas periods, with restaurants and pubs reporting a huge boost in trade'.
She also outlined that there is a concerted demand for the festival to return and to have more certainty around the dates and funding; and that there is a preference in Ballina for a three years cycle to bed the festival into the annual calender and build on the positive momentum from the 2018 and 2020 editions of the festival.