A major festival planned to take place in Tim Smythe Park, Ennis has now been cancelled following several negotiations between organisers of the event and Ennis residents.
INIS Fest was due to take place for three days at the end of June beginning on Friday 26th and ending on Sunday 28th. It was hoped to transform Tim Smythe Park into a world class music venue for the festival.
Residents of the Fair Green area voiced their concerns in relation to the hosting of such a largescale event on their doorsteps. The residents cited noise pollution, the selling of alcohol to 3500 patrons in a park with a ban on alcohol consumption, damage to their personal property, anti-social behaviour and the fear of being blocked in their own driveways as the main concerns.
At 22:34 on Friday night, Impresario Events, the organisers of INIS Fest announced that the proposed three-day event would not be taking place. They felt that before a festival of this nature could take place in the area, ongoing concerns of the residents in the area need to addressed.
A spokesperson for Impresario Events said “We are disappointed that such a positive event for the town of Ennis is not going ahead at this time but we look forward to working with all interests to stage such an event in the future.”
“Impresario Events would like to thank An Garda Síochána, Clare County Council, the Vintners Federation of Ireland, HSE, St Joseph’s Hospital, Clare County Fire and Rescue, Clare Civil Defence and the wider community for their support for this event.”
A two-hour meeting organised by Impresario Events took place on Tuesday night at Tom Steele’s bar in Ennis where the event organisers met with residents to discuss the issues the residents had with the festival. Broadcaster Ger Sweeney chaired the meeting and he said it was important for Ennis to host new events that would put it back on the map while he also stated that he was keen for individuals living and working in close proximity to these events would be disturbed as little as possible.
Previously a meeting took place on March 30th where residents outlined that a strong Gardaí presence would be needed and that they weren’t happy with the proposed amount of security that would be in force. Other concerns raised at the March 30th gathering included loitering before and after the event, ticket procedures, the schedule of events, alcohol policy, sanitary provision, public urination, waste management, casual trading, car parking, power station, assembling and take-down procedures and ‘residents areas’.
Speaking on Tuesday night Darren Purtill of Impresario Events outlined that six Gardaí would be employed and would operate inside the event perimeter along with thirty five to forty private security staff. Issues outside the barrier would be dealt with by local Gardaí. To deal with the abandonment of cars, the event organisers had planned to put park-and-ride facilities in place from Treaceys West County Hotel but at the time of the meeting talks were still ongoing with Clare County Council on parking but they were unable to say where exactly the facilities would be.
Councillor Johnny Flynn admitted at Tuesday’s meeting that the event did not come under any statutory licencesing or planning process.
Cllr Flynn added that the organisers sought expert help for the event and their legal obligation was to consult with experts and bring their plans to the independent State agencies for their scrutiny. When he brought Tuesday’s meeting to a close, Ger Sweeney commented that little progress had been made and he suggested that Impresario Events would publicise and publish the answers to the residents’ questions beforehand and then hold a further meeting in a different venue. Tickets already purchased for INIS Fest will be fully refunded.
Acts planned to perform at INIS Fest included; Finbarr Furey Damien Dempsey, Hermitage Green, Delorentos, Nathan Carter, Mundy, Kilfenora Céilí Band, Frankie Gavin and De Danna. A host of further guests were to be announced in the coming weeks.
Commenting on the announcement of INIS Fest in February of this year, Cllr Johnny Flynn expressed his delight with a festival of this magnitude coming to Ennis. “INIS Fest is a real win for the people of Clare and surrounding counties, who now have a fantastic music festival right on their doorstep.”
“The festival will deliver huge benefits for the local economy and the tourist sector, while it will also help to promote the Clare County Capital as a vibrant and interesting place to visit. I have heard that some Clare people abroad are planning to return home for the weekend which underlines the sense of community that this event will also bring,” added the Mayor of Ennis.
The festival was organised to celebrate the 775 anniversary of Ennis. A big tourism boost was expected to coincide with the event, but such a boost will have to come in the shape of another format.