Organisers of the well-received INIS Fest are hopeful they will turn the weekend festival into an annual event in Clare’s County town.
Ennis’ Showgrounds was transformed into a world class venue for the weekend activity with one of the biggest big tops ever seen in Clare constructed for the event. Some of the biggest names in Irish music graced the stage for INIS Fest including; Mundy, Damien Dempsey, Delorentos, Hermitage Green, Nathan Carter and Rackhouse Pilfer. Local acts such as Sarah McTernan, Little Tents and the Piebald Ponies also performed during the weekend.
Speaking on Clare FM’s Morning Focus on Monday morning, Darren Purtill of Impresario Events expressed his delight with the event. “I’m extremely proud of myself and all the team, it couldn’t have gone any better from a production point of view and a safety point of view it was fantastic. I think anybody you will ask will say they had a great time over the weekend if they were lucky enough to get there. It was brilliant and we’re delighted with how it all came off”.
Despite such positive reactions across the County to INIS Fest, organisers have announced that they are in a financial hole following INIS Fest. “We’re not going to lie, financially we’re in a bit of a hole, we are taking stock of everything now over the next few days, we’ll look at getting everyone paid and that is where we are” Purtill said.
He added “It would have been upwards of €180,000 to run the whole event. We’re waiting for the final ticket sales to come through. There is a hole there of approximately €60,000”
While a setback of this nature could deter some individuals in this line of business, Ennisman Darren Purtill is determined to “get through this” and he is hopeful INIS Fest will become an annual event that will continue to bring the people of Clare together. “We’ll find a way of doing it some way, we’re destined to do it and we really want to do it” he stated.
Councillor Johnny Flynn played a crucial role in the organisation of the event and he recalls meeting Darren and John McCarthy over twelve months ago and how he was struck by their drive with an event that would commemorate the 775th anniversary of Ennis. “A year ago I met Darren Purtill and John McCarthy and I was so impressed with their enthusiasm and their desire to do something for Ennis”.
Flynn says both Mr Purtill and Mr McCarthy were aware there would be a financial loss in the days leading up to the festival but he praised the duo for their loyalty and courage to give the event their best shot all the same. “They had the courage and conviction and the loyalty to the town to go ahead with it and run a world class event”.
In conversation with The Clare Herald back in May of this year, Darren Purtill outlined the aims of INIS Fest. “We believe that INIS Fest is a hugely positive event which not only provides the people of Clare and surrounding counties with a fantastic music festival right on their doorstep but also promotes the Clare County Capital as a vibrant and interesting place to visit. Our intention is to establish INIS Fest as an annual feature on the local and national festivals calendar”.
The reaction to the festival on social media and in the general public domain has been extremely positive and with the drive of Purtill and McCarthy along with their families there is nothing to suggest why INIS Fest cannot become an annual music event in Co Clare.
One of the most striking features of INIS Fest was the platform it gave to over a dozen local artists and groups. Among them was Cormac Ó Muíneacháin and Cillian Gavin, who are students of Vardens Ennis Guitar School. The festival organisers handed the duo a few minutes on the big stage where they performed a cover of Counting Stars by One Republic. Both boys are from Ballynacally, and they are both aged 11.
Meanwhile, Vardens Ennis Guitar School is running a Summer Camp from July 27th to 31st: a week of learning to play with other musicians in a band setting. Enrolment is being taken for September classes in Guitar (Acoustic & Electric), Piano, Ukulele and Singing. www.ennisguitarschool.ie