WOMAD decision to prompt appeal

Shona McCarthy, Director of Derry City of Culture, 2012,
Shona McCarthy, Director of Derry City of Culture, 2012,
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World Music NI, local partner of the WOMAD festival, is to appeal against the decision not to bring the festival to Derry in 2013.

The world-famous music, arts and dance festival was to form an integral part of Derry’s City of Culture celebrations, but earlier this week the Culture Company revealed that after a feasibility study into the festival by WOMAD themselves, Culture Company had decided the financial risk to the city was too high.

Since then, World Music NI’s Darren Ferguson has said he remains fully committed to bringing the festival here.

WOMAD said they had not officially been notified of any decision to abandon the festival.

Instead, officials found out about the decision through news reports.

It was an error for which the Culture Company’s Chief Executive Shona McCarthy apologised.

“It was hugely regrettable and I do unreservedly apologise, no organisation wants to find out that way,” she said earlier this week.

The Board of Culture Company asked WOMAD for a feasibility study into hosting the festival, but found that “on the basis of the feasibility study, the financial risk of hosting the festival to Culture Company, as sole funders, was too high.”

It is understood that WOMAD had suggested a figure in the region of £1 million to being the festival to Derry.

Culture Company’s Chief Executive Shona McCarthy revealed earler this week that the organisers of the global festival had wanted a “seven-figure sum” to bring the event here.

However, with hopes of securing around £20 million for the entire year, Ms McCarthy said that that the finances, as explored in the feasibility study, “just didn’t stack up”.