Potential concerts and weddings for race track

CONCERT-goers and even wedding parties might soon be complementing racing fans among the Island's custom base as the Race company explores the possibility of obtaining a full bar licence.

Listowel Race Company are having their first post-race meeting this week at which one of the items on the agenda will be the possibility of buying a full licence.

With massive potential for staging large concerts at the track, the move could yet prove to be a great boost for Listowel in general.

"It would be a great thing for the town if we could stage concerts but we would need a full bar licence and that's something that's under discussion at the moment," Race Company Chairperson and bookmaker Eric Browne told The Kerryman.

"We already had the promise of one concert before and we even had a bit of interest from one man who wanted to have his wedding reception on the track so there's a lot of possibilities for big occasions. It's a perfect venue for concerts with lots of places where stages could be erected and with obvious room for big numbers of people," Eric added.

It would spell even more development for the racecourse as any profits would be invested directly in it. €125,000 was invested in drainage there this year already.

"The drainage works made a massive difference to the meeting and it's one is one of our priorities at the moment," Eric said.

With over 90,000 punters flocking to the Island, Harvest Festival 2013 was one of its best years ever. It was also a fantastic local festival with Duagh developer Patsy Byrne's horse winning the coveted Kerry National; and local men Con McCarthy, Eamon O'Carroll and Brian Quill winning with their horse The Crafty Butcher on the last day's racing.

The meeting also marked the victorious return of Kerry jockey Bryan Cooper after a period of recuperation.

Director Pat Healy said the company was thrilled with the meeting for all these reasons and more.

However, the HRI's decision to create the Irish Champions' Weekend next year, clashing with the start of the races is of concern to the company.

"Will our crowds be down as a result? No, I don't think they will. Where we are worried though is in the HRI's marketing strategy. Will there be a bias in marketing towards the Champions' Weekend and away from Listowel? We simply don't know, but it is a concern. But we're confident our attendance won't be knocked. We're still the second biggest meeting in the country and the first day has clashed with racing at the Curragh for some time and it has never affected us," Pat said.


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