The day the music died... and moved to Kerry

Last year's Westport Festival of Music attracted 22,000 people. Photo: Conor McKeown.

Last year's Westport Festival of Music attracted 22,000 people. Photo: Conor McKeown.

The news that the Westport Festival of Music and Food would not be returning to the coastal town next year was announced on Wednesday. A short statement released on the behalf of the promoters of the event said: “After three fantastic years in Westport, the promoters have made the difficult decision to move the popular boutique festival.”

The decision to of the promoters to move the festival to Killarney in Co Kerry will be a major blow to Westport as it attracted in the region of 22,000 people to town on the last weekend of June this year, bringing in a massive financial boost to the town and the locality.

However not long after this year’s incarnation of the festival wrapped up, rumours started that there was a possibility that the festival would not be returning in 2015, with the number of ticket sales in the build-up cited as being a major concern to the promoters.

Westport House, where the festival had been held over the past three years, posted on its Facebook page this week: “We are disappointed to announce that the Westport Festival will not return in 2015. The promoters today revealed that the festival will relocate to the town of Killarney. We wish them all the best and thank them for three fantastic years in Westport.”

There was an angry reaction to the decision on the festival’s Facebook page, with hundreds of people commenting and voicing their disappointment at the decision. The people behind the page, responding to one poster’s questioning of why they were moving the festival, said: “We don't want to go into the reasons other than to say we wanted the festival to remain in Westport and continue to grow, but elements on a local level imposed on the festival made it impossible to continue.”

The festival had been seen locally as a major success over the past three years, bringing millions of euro into the local economy over the three weekends it was in the town. This year festival goers enjoyed a weekend of first class entertainment with an eclectic mix of music from more than 70 international and Irish artists including Bryan Adams, David Gray, Sinead O’Connor, Kool & The Gang, Shane Filan, 2Cellos, Bellx1, and The Divine Comedy.

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