Thursday 22 February 2018

Festival organiser says 'no hard feelings' that Imelda May cancelled gig to sing at fight

Boxing - Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs Conor McGregor - Las Vegas, USA - August 26, 2017 Imelda May sings the national anthem before the fight REUTERS/Steve Marcus
Boxing - Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs Conor McGregor - Las Vegas, USA - August 26, 2017 Imelda May sings the national anthem before the fight REUTERS/Steve Marcus

Claire Fox

The organiser of the festival in the UK that Imelda May was due to headline last night, has said that he has "no hard feelings" toward the Irish singer for her decision to sing at the McGregor V Mayweather fight in Las Vegas instead.

Lee Martin, of the Down on the Close festival in the town of Rugby, in Warwickshire, England, told Independent.ie that while at first he was “devastated” by the news, he said that he understood the singer's decision.

“We were devastated at the start. It was obviously very worrying as we would have to try find someone to replace her but I know Imelda and support her decision. It was a life-changing opportunity for her and a chance for her to get vast exposure. There are no hard feelings,” he said.

Fans due to attend May’s concert took to Twitter to express their disappointment that she would not appear at the festival. One Twitter user, Tonya Wright posted yesterday that: “@ImeldaOfficial thanks my 10 year old cried his eyes out this morning when I broke the news.”

However, Mr Martin said that out of the 1,500 people who attended the festival, very few were asking for refunds.

“There’s a lot of pissed off people on social media but the vast majority of people I spoke to last night were excited for Imelda. Very few people have asked about refunds. I still don’t know our stance on that,” he explained.

Martin was left with the task of replacing the Dublin singer. Luckily, another Irish female singer stepped in to fill May’s shoes.

“Cara Dillon performed. She has a similar style to Imelda and she was great. Everyone enjoyed it. We dealt with it,” he added.

Imelda May performs the Irish national anthem before the fight at the T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas. Photo: PA Wire/PA Wire.
Imelda May performs the Irish national anthem before the fight at the T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas. Photo: PA Wire/PA Wire.

May posted on Facebook on Friday that she would be unable to perform at the English festival as she had been “offered a once in a lifetime opportunity”.

She wrote: “I am very sorry to announce that I’m unable to perform at the 450th school anniversary in Rugby tomorrow.

"I was really looking forward to it, and hate to cancel on you all so last minute but I have just been offered a once in a lifetime opportunity that I can’t turn down. I hope you will understand. Love Imelda x”

She later revealed on Twitter on Saturday that she was invited to sing Amhrán na bhFiann in the arena before the McGregor v Mayweather fight.

“Here's the news! I’ve been asked to perform the National Anthem ahead of the #mayweathermcgregor fight in VEGAS! Let’s go McGregor!!,” she stated.

In reaction to this news, organisers of Down on the Close event stated to festival goers wrote on their website  that they were “devastated” by May’s decision which was “such short-notice”.

“As many of you are now aware, it is with great surprise and regret that the organisers of Down on the Close have to announce, at such short-notice, that Imelda May is unable to perform at the event, tomorrow.

"We are devastated, as we are sure lots of Imelda May fans are, about this short-notice cancellation, however we do understand why Imelda has made the decision to accept this new opportunity.”

Imelda performed a haunting version of Amhrán na bhFiann at the T Mobile Arena in Las Vegas this morning, as Conor McGregor walked in to the ring to face boxing legend Floyd Mayweather.

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