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Sunday 25 August 2019

Popular summer festival cancelled due to increased insurance costs

Crowds at a concert (PA)
Crowds at a concert (PA)

Markus Krug

A well-known summer festival has become the latest victim of rising insurance costs - and has had to cancel its 2019 event.

The Promenade Festival, which was founded in 2014, said an increase in insurance costs - as well as stricter insurance regulations - is behind its decision.

"General insurance costs just increased too much for us. They just doubled from last year to this year," said Chair of the Tramore Events Team, Helen Young.

Ms Young also said that stricter regulations make it harder for festivals that want to include live acts in their line-up.

"The stricter regulations also include rules on the kind of insurance that the artists and bands have to have. Many of the local artists couldn’t provide those."

As a a result, the festival's insurance premium of €2,000 was doubled for this year. Organisers are now not sure whether the festival will return in 2020.

"We would love to run it again next year. We always wanted to reflect the town in its best possible light. But unless the costs go down, I can’t see it take place again in the future," said Ms Young.

"The flair of the festival was coming from the live acts and the interaction with the audience. Live music enhances every festival. If we can’t have that it would change the whole feel of it."

And while the difficulties with insurance companies played their part in the cancellation, she does not solely put the blame on them.

"It is easy to just blame the insurance companies but it’s also the general culture that is an issue. The outrageous claims of some people drive up the prices for insurance."

Furthermore the organisers also acknowledge the difficulties they were facing beyond the insurance issues.

"We had a lot of trouble to find enough volunteers for this year. Also there was just not enough support from local businesses to bridge the financial gaps."

The Promenade Festival is the latest Irish festival that has fallen victim to rising insurance costs, with the Ballina Salmon Festival in Ballina, Co Mayo issuing a similar cancellation statement in early May.

In the public statement, the Board of Directors also mentioned growing insurance costs as one of the reasons.

"The festival has experienced a difficult period since the end of the 2018 festival. This coupled with increased insurance and general festival costs have resulted in the decision that the 2019 Festival will not go ahead."

In this case, the organisers are already planning the comeback of the Ballina Salmon Festival for the next year.

"We do, however, recognise that planning for Festival 2020 will be more effective given the added time now and we feel confident that a new, invigorated and fresh festival can be delivered next year."

Read more: Why your local festivals and community events may be on the verge of extinction

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