Westport the big winner in festival funding announcement

A boutique food and music festival, choral celebrations, a recreation of Humbert’s 1798 invasion, and a kitesurfing lake battle are some of the local festival events which will benefit this year from €49,000 announced in grant funding.

The funding was announced by Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Michael Ring, to promote regional festivals which bring employment and visitors to their areas.

The Westport Festival of Music and Food, taking place in the Tourism Minister’s home constituency on June 29 and 30, is to get the biggest share of the funding, receiving €20,000.

Last year, the festival attracted 12,000 people to the grounds of Westport House over two days. This year’s event is expected to be even bigger with acts including Canadian rocker Bryan Adams, David Gray, Sinead O’Connor, Sophie Ellis Baxtor, and BellX1.

Three other Westport festivals are also benefiting - the Westport Arts Festival (€3,500 ), the Westport Food Festival (€3,000 ) and the Westport Folk and Bluegrass Festival (€2,000 ).

Battle for the Lake, a kitesurfing and music festival on Achill Island, is also included. Organisers of the festival are to receive €2,500.

The Mayo International Choral Festival, which will see dozens of choirs from around the world compete in song from May 15 to 18, is being granted €5,000.

Other festivals benefitting are Erris Beo (€2,000 ); In Humbert’s Footsteps (€3,000 ); Scoil Acla Traditional Music and Cultural Summer School (€3,000 ); Feila na Mara Achill Island (€1,000 ); Ballina Salmon Festival (€3,000 ); and the Geesala Festival (€1,000 ).

Minister Ring said the festivals would hopefully build on the legacy of the Gathering to ensure 2014 is “even more successful” in terms of growing visitor numbers to Ireland.

“The funding announced today will allow Mayo to broaden their appeal to overseas visitors who will be able to experience everything from culture and sport, to festivals and fun,” he said.

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