The All-Ireland Fleadh would be the “jewel in the crown” of Derry’s City of Culture year and could be worth up to £40 million to the local economy, it’s been revealed.
Culture Company chairman Martin Bradley led a top-level delegation of civic leaders in a meeting with Fleadh organisers at the weekend to press Derry’s case to host the event in August 2013.
“The Fleadh, which is the biggest traditional music festival in the world, would be a wonderful centre-piece to our year,” said Mr Bradley.
“It would be particularly special to host it here, for the first time ever north of the border, as part of our year of celebrations. It would be the jewel in the crown of 2013.”
Mr Bradley said the Central Fleadh Committee – consisting of Senator Labhrás Ó Murchú (CEO Comhaltas), Séamus Mac Cormaic (President of Comhaltas), Colmáin Ó Muimheacháin, Pádraig Ó Ceallaigh, Pádraig Ó Dufaigh and Tómás Ó Maoldomhnaigh – were “energised” by Derry’s presentation.
“Obviously, there is huge competition to host such a prestigious event as the Fleadh,” he said, “but the visiting committee were very engaged by our presentation.
“Our group were able to answer every question from how we would finance the event, to accommodation, to security.
“I think it’s fair to say, we couldn’t have been better prepared – and the Fleadh Committee got to hear from each and every one of the key decision-makers directly.
“We also stressed that because 2013 was our key year, and because the Fleadh had never come North before, we would be keen to make it extra special.”
Around 294,000 people from across the globe attended this August’s Fleadh in Cavan, bringing in 39.6 million euro to the local economy.
The event cost 750,000 euro to run, featured 10,000 competitors, and was staffed by 1,400 volunteers spread across 25 venues.
The decision on where the 2013 Fleadh will be held is not officially due until next autumn. But arts chiefs here have asked for an earlier decision to allow them to properly schedule the event into what will be a jam-packed calendar for Derry’s City of Culture year.