Monday 22 July 2019

Fleadh 2019 will break all attendance records

Hubert Murphy

The 2019 Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann is set to be the biggest production in the history of the festival, with reports that attendance numbers will be up on last year's record crowds.

Over 500,000 made it to the event in 2018 and upwards of 600,000 are planning on hitting the town from August 11-18th.

Fleadh TV will be one of the main attractions, producing a live show from 8.30pm each night from Thursday to Sunday.

They have spent the last month in town with pre-planning and for producer Paul McKay, the legacy of 2018 is very apparent.

'I have done seven of these events and the change in Drogheda from last year is huge.

'The place looks great, the mood is great and you can see how things have changed. I have no doubt it will be bigger than last year,' he stated.

He said that the festival usually starts slowly and crowds pick up towards the end of the event but 2018 was '0 to 60 from the start.'

He said they were 'blown away' by everything and this year they have the strongest line up ever of acts coming.

'Last week, we had a production team walk over the town and they were amazed. The weather was great, the buskers were out, the place was buzzing.

'Donal O'Connor is one of our senior producers and he's a Dundalk man. He might have been gritting his teeth, but he said the place was great and he was overwhelmed. I think he's planning to move here now!,' he quipped.

He feels that the town has seized the true spirit of the Fleadh and wants that to continue.

'When we come to a place, we hope we can make a difference and Drogheda has certainly taken that on board.

'There's talk of a summer festival next year to replace the Fleadh and the Christmas Market is already on board. I know the BIDS is also being planned.

'We have met some great people along the way, the likes of Valerie and the team in the Westcourt Hotel, the Fleadh volunteers, the people on Laurence's Street, Aoife in the Highlanes and Louth County Council, as well as Sgt Donal McGivern and the gardai.

'What we have found is that people don't say no. That's great.'

He wants to see people use the build up to the Fleadh and the event itself as a real promotion for Drogheda.

'When the last night of the Fleadh comes, Drogheda should be signing deals for the future, not starting to talk about it.'

Paul and Fleadh TV will take over Laurence's Street this Tuesday, July 2 for a launch event, with up to 300 young performers in action from 1pm.

'We'll be making use of the whole Cuchulainn and Ferdia link,' he added.

Fleadh TV will be taking over the top area of Bru for their intimate performances with the backdrop to the Boyne.'That will be special and people can get tickets but there will just be 80 available.'

Hector Ó hEochagáin and Doireann Glackin will be back as presenters along with a new face, renowned musician, Róisín O.

'People just love Hector because Hector loves people. He'll be back at the Thosel, meeting people from all over the world.'

Paul said that one of the issues the crew of 100 has found is that people who rented out their homes last year are staying put this time. 'They went away for the week but have heard it was so good, they are staying around for it this time,' he continued.

Drogheda Independent