Failte Ireland funds for Samba Festival



Published 28/11/2012 | 14:08

Drogheda Samba Festival's Phil and Brian Conygnham with Minister Michael Ring, Miriam Dunne from the Spraoi Festival and Colin Crofty, Executive Director of the Association of Irish Festival Events at the recent AOIFE conference in Ballinasloe.

DROGHEDA SAMBA Festival has received €2,500 in funding from Fáilte Ireland as part of a €685,000 total for festivals in the country, however there has been disappointment the lion's share of funding as gone to north Louth events.

Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring made the announcement last week, and as well as the Drogheda allocation, Carlingford and Cooley Peninsuala events will receive €10,000 and The Tain March is to get €7,000.

While Samba Festival organiser Phil Conyngham is thrilled to get the funds, she was hoping for a little more in their 20th year.

'I really don't want to sound ungrateful, because there are so many events in the county which would love to get any kind of grant, and without it we would struggle,' said Phil, who has been the driving force behind the annual event for the past two decades. 'I was just very unimpressed when I heard that €17,000 out of €19,500 was for the north of the county. My only gripe is how uneven it seems to be and it should be more balanced and fair.'

The festival draws thousands of people and bands to Drogheda each year to join in the unique sound and sights of Samba.

The group has struggled in recent years due to funding cuts, especially having received nothing from the Arts Council for the past few events.

'Next year will be the 20th year of the festival and the plan is to contact those who have taken part and invite them back, as part of The Gathering,' she said.

'We already have bands who want to come from Germany and Holland, and the latest funding is a great help for marketing, however, there's no point selling an event if there's nothing to come to.'

The Samba committee is hopeful that a commercial sponsor may come on board for the big celebrations, to join Coca Cola, who have been involved for years.

' To say we are furiously chasing funding is an understatement;' she added. 'Much as we are grateful for the latest boost, it is a drop in the ocean to what we need for next year.'

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