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Hermitage Green on the main stage at Inis Fest at Ennis Showgrounds, Co.Clare. Photo:Michael Donnelly.
Hermitage Green on the main stage at Inis Fest at Ennis Showgrounds, Co.Clare – Photo:Michael Donnelly.

Organisers of INIS Fest are hopeful the event will return in 2017.

Held almost one year ago at The Showgrounds, INIS Fest saw acts such as Hermitage Green, Delorentos, Mundy, Nathan Carter, Damien Dempsey taking to what was the first big-top stage in the County town. The festival was organised to commemorate the 775th anniversary of Ennis.

Originally Tim Smythe Park was to host the festival but objections from local residents and a threat of legal action saw its cancellation and subsequent return at a different venue. This impacted on the attendance at the three day showing resulting in financial losses in excess of €60,000.

Speaking to The Clare Herald, Darren Purtill of Impresario Events revealed a lack of sufficient sponsors ensured INIS Fest would not be taking place in 2016. “Unfortunately this year we were unable to run it and we were unable to find sponsors that would be able to support us, we obviously do need sponsorship to run the festival with that and getting the other bills paid we said we’d leave it for this year and look forward to future years”.

“Looking back over the year that’s just passed while everything did go off fantastically and it was a fantastic event the attendance was poor and the numbers that attended the festival were poor and we suffered huge financial losses in the first year so what we wanted to do was put those aside and look at getting the bills paid in 2016 and hopefully move forward in 2017 and look at INIS Fest again that’s the hope and the plan”.

Purtill was one of the main organisers of the festival and maintains it was flawless from an organisational and entertainment point of view but that ultimately the poor crowd led to substantial losses.

“I think a lot of people did buy into it but there was a lot of negativity in certain media on the run-up to it and as you probably remember the festival while it was due to be staged at the Fair Green in Ennis, there was a lot of objections from local residents and we actually had the festival cancelled but the Showgrounds and show society came along and offered their grounds and we looked at everything again spoke to the artists and decided to move forward and actually put on the show which we did.

“We were delighted with how it went, it couldn’t have went better in terms of an organisational point of view and entertainment, the fantastic people that supported us over the three days. Unfortunately not enough people did show up to cover the costings of it and there was substantial losses incurred on the company and on the event”.

Darren says Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann being in the County will show the people of Clare that a major event can be run successfully in Ennis.

“It was a good few years since a major event was staged in Ennis and people were wary which is right but we had a very solid plan in place from security and safety, event management, traffic management to easily cater for our own festival. Looking at the Fleadh you could have ten to twenty times the amount of people at any of the days over the week. People will see and we’re certainly looking forward to the Fleadh in August and I’m sure people will see large scale events like this can run off very easily and very successfully and safely. I don’t think it was a factor in us not running our own, the Fleadh is here in 2017 aswell and I think it would be fantastic if we had two great festivals like this in Ennis next year”.

The Ennisman is hopeful that INIS Fest will return in 2017 and go on to become a staple event in the Banner County. “We’re working hard behind the scenes all the time to see what we can do and we showed everybody how fantastic it was, there were a lot of people who had a lot of support for it so the hope is that we would certainly try our best to stage another INIS Fest in 2017 and hopefully every year, it would be fantastic if we could do that and build on something going forward”.

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