June's Super Saturday
Funding is the biggest obstacle which plans to relaunch Dundalk's famed Maytime Festival face, according to BIDS director Martin McElligot.
Speaking at the launch of Dundalk's Super Saturday on June 3, he revealed that plans to hold a ten day festival, complete with a Speigel Tent at the Market Square, fell at the last hurdle when they failed to receive the necessary funding.
'We had a number of supporters and had a lot of commercial interest at levels which they could afford but when it came to the big players like Louth County Council, it didn't happen,' he says. 'It was heartbreaking to have to go back and tell them we can't do this as the sponsorship didn't come in. However, as a company we couldn't take a financial risk without the support of the Local Authority.'
He is, however, committed to the idea of bringing back the Maytime Festival and hopes that this weekend will be a taster of what could have happened.
'We need a festival which underpins Dundalk as a destination as it's a huge part of place making and that's what a BIDS Company is mandated to do.'
He believes that a festival would draw people to the town centre, pointing out that the business environment has changed in that it is leisure and amenities and not just shopping which bring people into towns.
'Dundalk has had a very poor brand image and has lost its identity over the years. The local authority are the gate keepers and need to come on board,' he says.
'We have to have an anchor sponsor to make the festival commercial viable just like a shopping centre needs an anchor tenant, in order to support fringe events as an arts festival on its own would not be commercial viable,' he continues.
'We need to have a full ten day festival as I don't see the financial return for the town centre from a weekend festival. That's why we will never give up, there are lots of things being talked about and the Maytime Festival will not go away.'
The events taking place on Super Saturday are, he says, a taster of what could happen during a full festival.
'We are having art in action classes with makers from The Crafty Rock in a marquee as well as food and craft stalls, children's amusements, and the town's traders have come on board with special offers and discounts.'
'Our budget is very restrictive and we are grateful to our sponsors including The Argus, SpecSavers and Louth County Council.'
These Super Saturday events also coincide with the arrival of the Táin March in Dundalk on Saturday afternoon. This is one of the final stages for the march which commences on May 19 May in Rathcrogan, Co Roscommon and finishes in Omeath on Bank Holiday Monday, June 5.
LMFM will also be in attendance with the €5,000 Radio Roulette shopping give-away, which was a huge attraction last year.
Full details of the events planned for Super Saturday will be published in the run up to Saturday June 3.