Féile facing funding cut

Féile has been the big daddy of community festivals for some time now. For many years, I was involved in a local community festival and was part of a national group of festival organisers. Throughout this time and since, Féile has been seen as the event at the forefront of development and innovation in communinty festival matters. I remember when they did an economic impact assessment years ago, when making the direct link between a festival and an economic impact had not been contemplated before.

It is not surprising that the news that there has been a £100,00 funding cut has been greeted with dismay. Indeed Danny Morrison goes one further and tries to find an equation between the millions spent as a result of rioting last September and the reduction in funding. There is no equation and no logic to be found. Investment into ventures such as Féile build capacity within communities and provide an alternative to unproductive or violent behaviours.Bairbre de Brún has commented that:
This is not the way to reward community effort and entrepreneurship. The organisers of Féile an Phobail, and the thousands of volunteers behind the scenes must be applauded for their sterling work over this past eighteen years in putting West Belfast on the map, when others tried to denigrate and demonise this community.

And I believe she is correct. Tourism in Belfast has increased 400 fold since 1994, and the City Council see tourism as a stable and growing economic basis for the future. Part of the marketing package of Belfast is Féile, so it seems shortsighted to reduce funding and place it at risk. In many cases, the rationale is that such events should be self-funding and develop a delf-sufficiency, but this may not be wholly achievable in a deprived area such as West Belfast. To quote again from Danny Morrison on this area of the issue:

Given the historic deprivation in the area prices were kept at a minimum and all literary, political events and lectures were deliberately free. The events which made some profit – marquee concerts, comedy night, tribute nights – helped to defray the costs of some of the cultural events which had received only limited funding, but it was never easy.
The Northern Ireland Events Company (NIEC) – which is funded by the Department of Arts, Culture and Leisure (DCAL) – likes to subsidise the occasional Elton John or Pavarotti concert in the grounds of Stormont.
Four years ago it refused to fund the Harlem Gospel Choir at Clonard Monastery for spurious reasons, including that it made no “significant contribution to promoting social cohesion.”

  • Why don’t the Provos try to make the festival pay its way? Maybe they could have a friendly chat with some local entrepreneurs and persuade them to support it? Perhaps Daily Ireland could sponsor some of it? Or Gerry Adams could put some of his own private wealth into it? Maybe the Northern Bank could lend a few quid on easy terms?

    Although I would prefer the Harlem Choir to U2, Elton John or Fat Boy Slim, who invited them to Clonard? Fr Reid?

  • Miss Fitz

    Why dont you check the programme Taigs, you might find the answers to your questions.

    http://www.feilebelfast.com/documents/Feile_August_2005.pdf

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Miss Fitz: “Why dont you check the programme Taigs, you might find the answers to your questions. ”

    Aw, but what’s the fun in that, Miss Fitz? I mean, reasearch? Why do that when you can toss unsubstantiate aspersions from the peanut gallery?

  • andy town rebel

    slap it into them, they should be self sufficient by now,many events are held locally to me,and being disabled and unemployed i could not afford the gig fees,there has been alot of loot generated and bar bringing a load of strangers into our neighbourhood who pee and litter wherever suits them i see nothing going back into the community,the same community who cant afford to participate, if danny wants it sooooooo bad maybe he should write a book on it and for go the profit!!!!!! odds of this? id give better odds on the ra decommissioning

  • P113

    What about the Northern Bank money?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    P113: “What about the Northern Bank money? ”

    A) Assumes facts not in evidence; and, assuming arguendo

    B) Seeing as there was a change of scrip (paper money meant for limited (usu. geographic) use), a goodly chunk of the take is good only as fire-starter and toilet paper, and not much good for those, either.

  • m
  • While Danny has a point, it’s a bit hard to take the ‘Violence shouldn’t pay’ message seriously, when it comes from the man who argued for a ballot box and Armalite strategy, was present at the torture of an informer and who subsequently milked his republican connection for every penny he could get…

    Having said all that, why has the funding been cut?

  • Pete Baker

    Despite Taig’s abrasive approach there is a valid point to be made in regard to the comment on trying to make the festival pay its way.

    By all accounts there has been no problem with levels of attendance at the events.. in fact the accounts would suggest full to overflowing attendance.

    And yet, as stated by Danny Morrison, it was a deliberate policy that – “prices were kept at a minimum and all literary, political events and lectures were deliberately free.”

    That’s a wilful approach which was dependent on the level of public subsidy of the Féile.

    Far from rewarding community effort and entrepreneurship, and in contrast to Bairbre de Brun’s claims, such an approach, and reliance on public subsidy, actively works against entrepreneurship.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Gonzo: “While Danny has a point, it’s a bit hard to take the ‘Violence shouldn’t pay’ message seriously, when it comes from the man who argued for a ballot box and Armalite strategy, was present at the torture of an informer and who subsequently milked his republican connection for every penny he could get… ”

    Sooooooooo, Gonzo, what is you take in Emptey new little PUP-pet, if you don’t believe a body can learn a better way?

  • andy town rebel

    1 particular gig was christy more, and when tickets went on sale they were sold out almost instantly, how come says you, well you tell us, it was obvious a corporate event and the locals were not welcome, say what you like i was on the ground and knew this to be the case,tickets were even on sale on ebay ffs,again with massive profit margins, how come every year the begging bowl is out to fund what must surely be a self funding event, it being the biggest in europe and all that.

  • Betty Boo

    From the posts I only can come to the conclusion that you are audience not organiser, nor being involved in the make it happen part. So you are talking about what?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Pete Baker: “Despite Taig’s abrasive approach there is a valid point to be made in regard to the comment on trying to make the festival pay its way. ”

    There is a not-so-fine line between “abrasive” and “ignorant.”

    Besides, 3,000,000 to clean up the Loyalist mess at Whiterock, they can’t come up with, what 3.33% of that for a peaceful festival?

    Pete Baker: “By all accounts there has been no problem with levels of attendance at the events.. in fact the accounts would suggest full to overflowing attendance.”

    And how many of those could attend were events made to pay full freight? Now, admittedly, some nominal fees on some of the events, spread across the breadth of the event, could likely make up the amount without depressing attendence, but if the need is seed / up-front money, then raising tickets marginally isn’t going to solve the problem, is it?

    Pete Baker: “Far from rewarding community effort and entrepreneurship, and in contrast to Bairbre de Brun’s claims, such an approach, and reliance on public subsidy, actively works against entrepreneurship. ”

    Ah, but was this event ever really envisioned an excercise in entrepeneurialism in and of itself? Its a community fair, not a corporate start-up and IPO. The economic benefit comes from those ancilliary aspects that accompany a large event.

  • TAFKABO

    Well,at least the Twelfth is absolutely free to attend.
    Disability problems? fear not, they’ll even bring it to your front door.

    If anything ought to be funded, surely it’s this event?

  • Miss Fitz

    http://www.communityfestivalsfund.co.uk/

    This is the page from the NI Events website that lists all of the festivals it is funding. From the number of ‘Orangefests’ and other PLU events being funded, I would hazard a guess that there has been a significant emphasis on funding applications for Ulster-Scots and Orange events this year. Assuming the pot is only so big, there may have been a general reduction.

    One word about admissions to community events: they are purposely kept low in order to encourage and enthuse a local take up for events.

  • Pete Baker

    Dread

    Your points:

    1. I was being, perhaps excessively, polite.

    2. Deliberately setting no charge to access certain events makes the Féile wilfully dependent on a public subsidy unless the profits from other events cover the costs of the free events.

    3. My comment was in response to the claim by Bairbre de Brun – in regard to rewarding community effort and entrepreneurship. If you have an issue with the claim for entrepreneurship, I’d politely suggest, you take it up with her.

  • Miss Fitz

    Pete
    Community festivals are not neccesarily ‘wilfully dependant’ on a public subsidy.

    It is a major case of swings and roundabouts in a community festival. You may make a profit on a big name performance, but you may need to pay for flights/accomodation for other emerging acts. In the case of the festival I worked in, we explored differences in both sides of the community and brought speakers in for discussion and music in the name of healing. There was a nominal fee, but the message and the method were substantially more important that the fiscal bottom line.

    Feile worked on the same premise. If all any of us wanted to do was put on acts, we’d get Jim Aitken in and sit back. Community festivals are more multi-faceted than what you are implying.

  • Another rebel

    I have to agree with andy town rebel, on the ground if I could afford it I’d get away for the whole week. People drunk and shouting and singing at all hours of the night, the place is awash with drink. The area is full of strangers screaming and yelling.

    anybody who thinks this is a good thing should have it outside their own doors. Lets see what you’d think about it then.

    I hope the funding goes and the whole thing goes away. Theres nothing in it for the locals thats for sure.

  • m

    Why the problem with the term entrepreneurship? This seems like a community enterprise.

    And while the festival may not make profit of itself it clearly draws in much more money to the area than it uses.

    And since when can’t cultural enterprises be just that without a financial aspect?

    Bloody capitalists, trying to restrict the definition of ‘entrepreneurship’ to purely monetary terms now.

  • andy town rebel

    concessions my a&*e, the festival is profit making ,fact,as for the free events written word/photography and political …..surely you are not being serious call these community events, jeffery donaldson talking s&%*e or a load of old pictures hanging on a wall in an empty unit in curleys is hardly in the same vein as a top headline group or solo artist,profits should have been invested and used sparingly,profit making events such as this do not warrant money from the public/community purse, make it all free and 100% support will be yours from all communities, will you do this? alas no, why? because big event=big money

  • Pete Baker

    Miss Fitz

    The comment I made was in relation to Danny Morrison’s claim of a deliberate policy of making certain events free of charge for this particular Féile.

    My follow-up comment made clear that I envisaged a better approach, given good attendance in general, to be that the more commercial events subsidize the less commercial.

    My point was that the implication from Danny Morrison’s comments was that it has been a deliberate approach not to do that but instead to continue to rely on the public subsidy.

  • Brenda

    I went to one event in the big marquee in Andersonstown, and I will never return. They had portable loos which smelt to high heaven, and the floor of the marquee was all stained with booze. Rickety tables and chairs, and the behaviour of people wasn’t good. It was very shabby I thought. Perhaps it is just me, as when I go out, which isn’t often due to cost I like the surrounding to be nice. There was no niceties in the marquee.

  • Betty Boo

    What still strikes me as odd is that we are made to pay for “parades” or “traditions” even if they are more exclusive then being just some fun for the family on the day out.
    The opening ceremony of the Special Olympics would not have been possible without this sort of funding, as so many other projects. Projects, which never set out to make profit, hope though to be able in the future to fend for themselves, if only for one reason, that some of the unnecessary paperwork might disappear and restrictions (artistic!) to let them go, where no one, bold or not, has ever gone before.

  • Miss Fitz

    Betty
    I cannot think of one festival in Ireland that does not benefit from local or state funding of one kind or another. My only other experience of this is in France, where local festivities are heavily or wholly subsidised by the Mairie.

    Becoming self sufficient is not the raison d’etre of these events, it has more to do with social inclusion, capacity building, tourism, na d an expression of what makes the community tick.

    Brenda

    Yeuch!

  • m

    Brenda,

    I agree the standard of the marquee and other facilities have often left a lot to be desired. The standards are likely to drop further if the full programme is maintained with reduced funding.

    If you look at the programme much of it is stuff you couldn’t or wouldn’t charge for (and they don’t) If it was a just profit event then they’d only have ‘big’ acts, with every ticket full price and the prices would reflect high levels of amenity.

    but then it would be a very, very different festival. A worse one IMO.

  • andy town rebel

    “What still strikes me as odd is that we are made to pay for “parades” or “traditions” ” first i heard of it, the orange order charges nothing to view the spectacle,the inla,ira or lord mayor dont charge to see their parades,as for the special olympics it is a low blow to bring disabled kids to this forum in the light that you do,their lives may be short their lives are more for living the moment,money should never be an issue in catering to their needs and how dare you compare a corporate event funded by the public pot and big business againt the special olympics for very special children

  • Con

    So the Feile goes the way of every other popular annual festival of our time.
    Are you really surprised?
    The writing was on the wall when there was no marquee erected for the last one. Christy Moore would have filled that easily, all locals could have afforded entry blah blah, but the Feile is just too big now to be easily contained in what is essentially a residential area.
    Sounds like Notting Hill Carnival, or even Glastonbury which turned from a CND benefit hippy festival into the corporate sponsored load of shite that it is today.
    Pity, a community festival gets so poular that the local community feel alienated by its very presence.

  • George

    I went to the 1994 20 years after internment Feile and stayed somewhere in Andytown where little 11-year-old street urchins warned us freestaters against bumming their women and Mano Negra played every night until 3am in a housing estate in Springfield.

    Then it was off to the Ardoyne for some semi-naked techno in the GAA club.

    I don’t care how much it costs but if it’s half as crazy today it must be kept. I’ll even donate.

  • Pete Baker

    The question would be, Miss Fitz, the extent of involvement of local representative assemblies, from whom such public funding would be provided, in the organisation of those festivals.

    And I’ll point again to the fact that it was Bairbre de Brun who raised the issue of entrepreneurship.

  • “I went to one event in the big marquee in Andersonstown, and I will never return. They had portable loos which smelt to high heaven, and the floor of the marquee was all stained with booze. Rickety tables and chairs, and the behaviour of people wasn’t good. It was very shabby I thought. Perhaps it is just me, as when I go out, which isn’t often due to cost I like the surrounding to be nice. There was no niceties in the marquee.”

    I can see you aint a big festival goer Brenda

  • Miss Fitz

    Pete
    I suspect that the reference to entrepreneurship was more to do with the subsidiary growth of business in the area, as opposed to the festival itself. As you can note in the intro, I can recall Feile commissioning an economic impact assessment in about 1997. I dont recall exact details, but they were able to prove the point that Feile brought tourist pounds to West Belfast that would not otherwise have come. I see Bairbre deB has put that figure currently at £3m.

    If we proceed with this area as a Gaeltacht quarter, and if the City Council continue to promote and support local tourist fora, well they will have to continue to have something for the tourist to see.

    Or has Feile outlived its usefulness in the new Belfast, and is it time to shine the light somewhere else?

  • Brenda

    m the festival, a lot of the stuff on it, is run by organisations where they open their doors to others and have open days etc. Thats local people paying for the events they run, I dunno maybe they get some money. Some of the bus runs they have, there’d be like one bus on a first come first served basis. Some times there is ‘do’s’ in the big bingo hall facing curleys, and a neighbour of ours went to see dominic kirwan for £5, and there was no drink. But that is the type of crowd Kirwan attracts, middle aged ladies etc. I heard good reports about that but it was more the exception than the rule.

    Then there is the other side, there is a lot of drink, a lot of the stuff in the marquee is sponsored by beer companies, and it does flow free and fast. I don’t think its any cheaper. It does spill into communities in the early hours, and for some it must cause a nuisance. Knowing how people can behave.

    Perhaps a balance is needed to run the thing a little better. I know the parade last year at the end of it, left the falls park in a dreadful state. Litter bottles, tins you name it, was all left.

    Maybe theres room for improvement.

  • kensei

    Indeed. The horror that I encountered in thgew first toilet I walked into at my first bg music festival will stay with me for the rest of my life.

    While it is probably relevantly straightforward for this to pay it’s way £100,000 is not a big lot of money, the points raised about keeping it in the community are pertinent. However, surely some sponsors would be interested in this, which would solve a lot of the problems.

    With this reportedly bringing in something like £3 million to the city in revenue, this is utter and complete madness. Is it too much to hope the council will sort this out?

    The cracker in the Irish News yesterday was that the funding body had reportedly told them they could “become a good festival”.

  • kensei

    “Or has Feile outlived its usefulness in the new Belfast, and is it time to shine the light somewhere else?”

    This is like asking if Edinburgh needs it’s festival. We are currently trying to develop more of these, what with the Cathedral Arts Festival and a few other small festivals too.

    Killing this is utter madness. It needs support to develop and expand into something truly world class, while remianing unique to belfast.

  • Brenda

    andy town rebel, the special olympics has a office in dublin where they organise and raise their own funds, they don’t get much funding at all. Its also very well run, there are ppl there to bring your child and look after it and return it to you. I know of one child (28) and adult child who went to the last one in dublin and they go as a group, but the people who look after the olympians do so voluntarally they are paid NO MONEY. Neither do the organisers recieve any money for what they do, and they do it year in and year out.there no comparrison with special olympics and wb festival. None what so ever.

  • Pete Baker

    Miss Fitz

    The figures from Bairbre de Bruin remain, I’d suggest, open to question.. it did seem like she was suggesting that the Féile was, itself, a successful example of such entrepreneurship.

    But if the festival does bring in such a profit, overall, then the onus is on the organisers to make the Féile itself self-sufficient.. otherwise those who invest in the Féile, through the public subsidy, should have a say in what is put on and the fees charged.

    Again, the comments by Danny Morrison imply that is the farthest thing from the organisers’ minds.

  • You wimps have never suffered the horror of the open “Shite pit” of the 80s free festivals… so quit yer wingeing & enjoy the relative delights of portaloos.

    p.s. yes atleast 1 person per event used to tumble in…

    Pariah status of victim… understandable.

    No, it was never me.

  • Betty Boo

    Andy,
    some of the time and work involved in such events as the Special Olympics is voluntarily. But suppliers will still look for their money. It has to come from somewhere. .
    Everything you properly didn’t see at UTV today from the opening ceremony had to be made first.
    You have no idea. What makes your comment irrelevant

  • Belfast Gonzo

    A festival? With loos? Nick, they don’t know they’re living…

    I remember the day when we had nowt but a stereo in a field, a carryout and a hedge to cover the oul modesty… etc…

  • Con

    you had stereos? and hedges?
    Obviously a better class of festival than I’m used to.

  • Harry

    I find it a little odd that a festival in a republican area is looking to the british for funding. It seems to suggest a lack of real independent-mindedness and an instinct for dependency that need not, and should not, be there.
    £100,000 is not a lot of money. There’s billions of euro floating around this island. Between what is available in Ireland and the Irish communities of Britain and the States, as well as opportunities for fundraising resulting from the festival itself (webcasts, podcasts, musical highlights CD etc.), it should be no real problem to get what’s needed to bankroll this event. With a decent cameraman and lighting it’s no problem to mix CD’s and video programmes on an ordinary computer.

  • “you had stereos? and hedges?
    Obviously a better class of festival than I’m used to.”

    barbed wire & police brutality
    & we had helicopters telling us to do one !

    whoops that wasn’t stonehenge in 85
    it was Drumcree / Garvaghy Road….. should have spotted the lack of crusties.

  • fair_deal

    “There is no equation and no logic to be found.”

    There is a simple logic on the changes to festival funding, one festival in one area should not receive the lion share of festival funding in all of Northern Ireland. There was £300,000 of funding from DCAL towards festivals so at £150,000 Feile were getting half of it.

    Also this new policy has seen the budget increase for festivals from £300K to £450K. More money for more festivals seems like a reasonable approach.

    DM forgets to mention that the festival funding was closed to new applications for a two years while a review took place in that time the Feile’s money was guaranteed and new, smaller, or existing but unfunded couldn’t get a look in.

    “Investment into ventures such as Féile build capacity within communities and provide an alternative to unproductive or violent behaviours.”

    Yes they can. Hence the need to spread the investment to other communities.

    As to Morrison’s jibe about the performance of Unionist parties, if Unionists are so bad and Sinn Fein so great how come this decision came about?

  • kensei

    “Also this new policy has seen the budget increase for festivals from £300K to £450K. More money for more festivals seems like a reasonable approach.”

    As long as you don’t, you know, kill the bigges and most successful one while your at it. That would be spectacularly stupid, particularly when thay festival is being in net revenue for the city.

    I will interested in the success of any of the oher festivals.

    “As to Morrison’s jibe about the performance of Unionist parties, if Unionists are so bad and Sinn Fein so great how come this decision came about?”

    Don’t know about the ins and outs, but Unionism still has an inbuilt majority, e.g. on Belfast council.

    Harry’s points are valid, however. This isn’t a great deal of money, and Feile should be able to generate it without impacting on services too much. Though to be fair, they probably would have needed to start planning for less funding last year.

  • Miss Fitz

    FD
    I see you are doing your best to disagree with me here, so I will try and help.

    For many years, the protestant community complained about not getting funding for events, indeed you still hear the odd moan about it, or two.

    It seems to have escaped their attention for a long time that you had to APPLY for the funding. They now seem to have that particular act together and are becoming succesful.

    Fair dues. I am really pleased about this, and it can only be a postive step forward.

    The issue here is really about several things:

    1. The manner in which the money was cut, ie one fell swoop or gradual agreed reduction

    2. The need to cut at all. Make the pot bigger by recognising these events are critical to our tourism toolkit and we require a vibrant, funded series of inclusive events all around Belfast.

    3. The size of the cut. Wow, from 145 to 45? Thats not an easy thing to live with, no matter who or where you are.

    4. Shared issues. If this happens to Feile, how are the lads in Tigers Bay going to feel when they get their festival up and running and in a few years the legs are cut out from under them too? This should be a shared issue as it will ultimately affect all organisers of local events

    5. The basic issue here is the whole concept of funding vs. self sufficiency. These are not professional people running these events, they are volunteers who want to see their community improve. Yes, some of them go on to employ staff as they become more succesful but there is always going to be a level of reliance on funding and sponsorship. It is also the councils’s way of investing in the good relations of the area and should be seen as an essential piece of spending.

    These issues could actually be used to bring communities together and allow us to work as one for a dedicated statement towards the growth of these events in a planned and stategic way. And then I think, aye right, not when one side or tother can use them as political missiles.

  • fair_deal

    kensei

    “but Unionism still has an inbuilt majority,”

    This wasn’t a BCC decision, these were decisions by the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure and Department of Social Development during Direct Rule.

  • shamo

    This is typical cynical antics from the Brits. Féile was set up by a community demonised by British and Irish media outlets because of their very resilience, and the festival has been a glowing success. It reflects a vibrant, progressive and confident community’s tenacity despite all the odds.

    It is very telling that the British have waited until a time when the Peace Process is utterly dead in the water to make such a decision. While things are quiet, institutional sectarian discrimination begins to grow like a cancer yet again, and where are the defenders of the people? Discussing support for the PSNI!

    The aregument voiced by several people here that the Féile should be self-sufficient simply doesn’t stand up. There are many festivals throughout Ireland that don’t make an immediate, direct profit, but result, by highlighting the positives of an area and building confidence, if considerable indirect profit. This is one of them, and it is disingenuous that people should obfuscate the clear political relevance of all of this.

  • Nevin

    Féile an Phobail at GotoBelfast.com.

    [i]August Féile was essentially set up to highlight the creative and dynamic community that resides in West Belfast[/i]

    As its formation roughly coincides with the beginning of the ‘peace process’ perhaps its real purpose was to sanitise the PIRA paramilitary organisation? Is it a good idea to market fascism in this manner?

  • Special Olympics: Would this include all the locals the Provies kneecapped doing three legged races around Milltown? West Belfast is “represented” in Stormont and Westminster by Gerryv Adams, who was on the dole before he got his current “jobs”.

    The dole funded the armed struggle. And the same mentality lingers. The price system works by people paying for what they want to see and, in this case, drink and puke up.

    Here is an idea:
    1. have a cross community approach next time to this festival.
    2. Tender out for a professional group to run it.
    3. Let the SDLP be the links on the nationalist side and UUP/UVF on the Orange side.
    4. No Sinn Fein involevement, except as financial sponsors.

  • fair_deal

    “I see you are doing your best to disagree with me here,”

    No I am trying to disagree with a line of argument and in a number of points I specifically identified DM as the source of them. Slugger isn’t personal its just business.

    “It seems to have escaped their attention for a long time that you had to APPLY for the funding. They now seem to have that particular act together and are becoming succesful.”

    1. Really you have to apply for funding you don’t say? Also if a Dept doesn’t tell people about its festival funding stream or advertise for applications how are people supposed to apply to it? If MBW/BRO teams in belfast operate radically different approaches to festivals ie very supportive to little interest applications to teams with little interest don’t get very far.
    2. If a scheme is closed for two years how do you apply?
    3. As someone who has run festivals in Unionist areas applications were made and got turned down or offered very little. An oft cited reason was we weren’t cross-community enough.

    “1. The manner in which the money was cut, ie one fell swoop or gradual agreed reduction”

    The review was ongoing and it was pretty clear which way it was going so it wasn’t a bombshell. A group chose to expect the same level of resources without any funding agreements in place. They made a bad management choice.

    “The need to cut at all. Make the pot bigger”

    The pot was made bigger from £300K to £450K.

    “these events are critical to our tourism toolkit and we require a vibrant, funded series of inclusive events all around Belfast.”

    This is exactly what this new policy aims to achieve so what is the problem? Also the policy will ensure festival activity the year round rather than a fortnight in one area, tourists need something to do the other 50 weeks of the year and in different places.

    “3. The size of the cut. Wow, from 145 to 45? Thats not an easy thing to live with, no matter who or where you are.”

    No it isn’t easy to live with but so is trying to do something with no funding. Also the £45K is focused on festival events, the cut seems to be staff costs not the actual festival programme.

    “Shared issues.”

    Nice theory but how could the two areas have a shared issue when one was receiving substantial investment in this type of work and the other wasn’t?

    As regards a few years down the line the answer should be that festival activity is taking place across the communities and receiving comparable levels of support. If the growing festivlas by that stage want bigger budgets they need to look to non-public sources.

    “funding vs. self sufficiency. These are not professional people running these events, they are volunteers who want to see their community improve.”

    The DM piece mentions 5 staff lay offs so the volunteer and non-professional arguments are thus questionable. Feile boasts of its size and professionalism so they cannot suddenly plead they are amateur unfortunates. It has also received sustained investment by government for over a decade. If you check its accounts you will also see it has accumulated cash reserves. Its constitution is a good read too if you ever require a system of absolute control for a very small number of people over a group.

  • George

    “Special Olympics: Would this include all the locals the Provies kneecapped doing three legged races around Milltown?”

    Pedant that I am, this would be the paralympics.

  • Loyalist

    5 Staff lay-offs at Feile? – oh dear they wont be able to spend their time between festivals filling in application forms for every Provo supporting group in West Belfast, like they do presently. How sad.

    The fact that Feile were getting half of the cake for 2 years running is utterly unjustifiable and its interesting to see the great champions of equality gurning about others getting a fair shre of the resources available.

  • kensei

    “This wasn’t a BCC decision, these were decisions by the Department of Culture Arts and Leisure and Department of Social Development during Direct Rule.”

    You are then seriously asking how “Unionism” won this argument when this is a decision taken by Direct Rule ministers?

    “This is exactly what this new policy aims to achieve so what is the problem?”

    The fact it severely damages a festival that is already succesful for ones that probably won’t be for a number of years, if ever? The fact if that happens, it will be the city that takes a hit.

    All for more festivals and more funding. I sincerely hope the Unionist community comes up with somehting as vibrant and successful as Feile. But sabotaging thig that are already successful isn’t the way to go about it.

    And by the by, on your premise of more equal share of funding, is the expense incurred by the twelfth included in your balance?

  • John
  • Rapunsel

    Too much on this thread to read it all, but in my view the review of festival funding and the establishment of the community festival fund was clearly an indication of an attempt by HMG to spread the funds more evenly as they see it and to start to fund more festivals within the unionist community. In many cases what we will see will be a rebranding of existing traditional events as community festivals and whilst that may not be a bad thing in the context that tension and violence associated with these type of events may be reduced — there is also a cynical move taking place to bolster the influence ( declining) of the Orange Order in the protestant community and to try and make some of these events more palatable. The argument about entrepreneurship being about self sufficiency is a bit of a spurious one. Whilst some of the festivals may not wash their face financially surely there are wider social benefits. Are there any festivals anywhere in Ireland that are self sufficient from receipts and donations and that don’t have commercial sponsorship. Personally I’d rather have taxpayer support for festivals than rampant commercialism from the private sector, who are likely to be even more censorious in terms of support for particular events etc. It’s a pity that the Feile funding was cut but it was inevitable == I’m sure that given the ingenuity of the organisers it might even be sold as a positive move in a few years time. The one thing niggling at the back of my mind is the need to compare and contrast government investment in supposed real entrepreneurship through Invest NI etc. I’d like to see a comparison in terms of costs and benefits between the large sums pumped into the private sector by Invest NI and the rather piddling sums we are really talking about for community festivals. The point I’m making is that I’ll bet that a large part of the private sector here is not very sustainable without state intervention ( and they’re looking for even more in the form of tax cuts etc) and many on this thread are castigating a community based organisation for not being so!

  • kensei

    The mind boggles.

  • darth rumsfeld

    I remember a few years ago- under the governership of spud-faced Catriona Ruane, when feile had a procession of pretend Orangemen up the Falls. Oh what a great joke-apparently very much appreciated by the watching crowds( aka Seamus and Deirdre Bonkers, and their dog, John Paul). Yet, if the very sight of a sash is enough to induce mass feelings of oppression you’ld have thought that they would might have actually asked the Orange to send a few lodges of the genuine article- I bet it would have been cheaper. :0)

  • fair_deal

    kensei

    “You are then seriously asking how “Unionism” won this argument”

    As the decision was made by the DRM it was up to local parties to lobby successfully. In this instance it seems Unionist lobbied better.

    “is the expense incurred by the twelfth included in your balance?”

    1. Equal taxation, equal benefit.
    2. As is the subsidy to the irish language, the public funding to the GAA etc etc

    john

    “Is this for real?”

    Yes it is.

  • all out

    What is it with West Belfast that it thinks everything should be handed to it on a plate, gratis? Why should this festival of mediocrity, whining and mono-culturalism be subsidised by the British taxpayer or British rate-payer?
    And spare us the laughable ‘outreach’ to Prods nonsense, do.
    Thank God less of our money is being spent under-writing this year’s spectacular of Palestinian / Basque / Provo victimhood, blue bag hoodery and naff Oirish dancing, ably supported by whatever musical has-beens of yesteryear can be arsed pretending to be pleased to be there for the sake of a few grand (hello Bad Manners, The Proclaimers and Echo and The Bunnymen).
    And of course the Orange Order should be forced to pay that 3.3million, duh.

  • kensei

    “As the decision was made by the DRM it was up to local parties to lobby successfully. In this instance it seems Unionist lobbied better.”

    There is several things wrong with that, like the assumption that what anything any of the parties say here makes a blind bit of difference to the DRM, or that the DRM are in some way competent.

    “1. Equal taxation, equal benefit.”

    Are you suggesting I saome way benefit from “OrangeFest”?

    “2. As is the subsidy to the irish language, the public funding to the GAA etc etc ”

    Are there any comparitive figures? If we are going to widen the net past community marches and festivals, I’m sure I could equally play “what about x” with the other side.

  • All out: I think you should remove your reference to “Oirish dancing”. Besides the fact that it is very skillful, popular etc, these dancers are often exploited, wheeled out for el cheapo gigs like this, while boring farts are flown in to bore the pants off anyone with notihng better to do than go to a PC lecture.

    As regards the what aboutery: Government spending is all about that and Gerry and the bhoys need to show that “our boring festval speakers” are getting their fair share. Danny Morrisson is in this vein and drags in other funding for arty farty types. Valid yes but relevant, maybe not so much right now.

    Give the money to Irish dancing, camogie and let the Orangies have an equivalent amount to shoot up with. Manor youth soccer leagues would be a huge improvement: A Falls Rd League, A Shankill Road league and a final boxing/soccer match of Taigs v Huns in Windsor Park. There is a form of chess where one makes a few moves and then a round of boxing, which might suit local conditions.
    Bottom line: spend the money locally on a local festival, don’t fly anyone in and let the drunks find anotherexcuse to piss on the murals of West Belfast.

  • Kathy_C

    posted by Kathy C

    Hi all, Another way of looking at cutting the funding of the fair. The issue to cut funding came from a Direct Rule Minister from where….? London or another way of saying…Tony Blair’s gov’t. Now who has been vocal against the war in Iraq…Sinn Fein…and who brought Moore into the north of Ireland to talk about the evils of the Iraq war….? Danny Morrison. So, this is what is called…PAY BACK….and elementary politics. Republicans are being punished by the Tony Blair gov’t. grass root republicans should realize who is really punishing them…Tony BLair . It’s amazing how Gerry Adams had so much to say when he wasn’t invited to the british VIctoria /Albert museum for some event…but I haven’t read anything Adams has said on this subject how his constituents are having funding CUT for their local fair…we all know what is important to Gerry Adams…the british invitations to parties.

  • fair_deal

    Kensei

    “like the assumption that what anything any of the parties say here makes a blind bit of difference to the DRM, or that the DRM are in some way competent.”

    Good line.

    “Are you suggesting I saome way benefit from “OrangeFest”?”

    I don’t know what you do on the Twelfth. You may benefit from going to a festival like the Feile and i will benefit from going to the Twelfth. Others will benefit from festivals that don’t have anything in particular to do with the two main traditions. Thuis equality of taxation equality of benefit.

    “Are there any comparitive figures? If we are going to widen the net past community marches and festivals, I’m sure I could equally play “what about x” with the other side.”

    There are the different funding streams for the various public bodies. You’d also have to trawl through a lot of Parliamentary questions and their civil service answers.

  • Loyalist

    Yes Kathy, Blair took time out from the Iraq mess, the pensions crisis, the shambles at the Home Office and the deteroriating situation with Iran, to personally ensure that Feile an Phobail got 100k less than they did lasy year. Sheeeesh!

  • Kathy_C

    posted by Kathy C

    Hi all,

    Loyalist, politics is a game of paybacks and puttig political pressure on other politicans to get what you want. Politics is all about power…who has it…and how you use it to get what you want. Right now the leadership of sinn fein doesn’t weld alot of power with the british or irish gov’t. Look at what was done to Gerry Adams in the US…it wasn’t by chance that he was stopped at the airport and searched…it was a message being sent…just how uncomfortable the US administration…aka Bush can make Gerry Adams…and Bush has succeeded in making life difficult in the US for adams…and raising money. Adams and many in SF want so despertaly to be in gov’t and have it up and running that they are giving everything away for that end…all they do is whine and complain but they don’t have any real power with blair because they rufuse to weld political power against blair. Now let’s just see…if Blair’s gov’t takes away some of the republicans big fair that is run by Danny Morrison…who does that make happy….why Ian Paisly of course…and isn’t he the one who is calling alot of the shots that blair and ahern are dancing to….like I said…it’s all about politics and punishing those you want and making others happy…..and it comes from number 10…..

  • Harry

    The british are duplicitous. One would think the irish are familiar with this fact by now. Why irish people with a politics of separatism would look to the british government for something that can, with some effort, be guaranteed through their own self-sufficiency is not entirely explicable to me. Look to ireland not britain to solve this.

    It would be possible I imagine to make profits on the sale of food and drink throughout the course of the festival. It would be possible to get Christy Moore, Gerry Adams etc. to pose with punters for a photo which could be transferred to a tee-shirt, under the heading ‘Feile 2006’, to be sold for £4 a pop, generating a profit of £2.50 per tee-shirt.
    You could task 100 people with getting sponsorsip of £500 each for some activity, or sinn fein could task 3 people in each county in ireland with getting the same from local businesses. One could get larger amounts no doubt too. When there’s the likes of Phil Flynn around the country there must be other moneyed republican-minded people around who are rarely represented in the media.
    One could advertise on webcasts and podcasts, make a documentary about the event, mix concerts within 48 hours of them taking place to be available while there are still punters at the festival to buy them, you could then distribute these, or make them available for sale on the web.
    You could make short 3minute, 5 minute or 15 minute interviews with speakers at the festival which could be sold as fillers to the likes of Channel4 (I leave out RTE because they’re largely useless and highly controlled).

    In short, there’s a great deal you could do which would plug the community into what is happening economically across the rest of ireland, develop skills amongst the community and develop wealth.

  • Loyalist

    Harry

    Maybe they should look to Ireland to pay the unemployment benefits and healthcare costs also, given that the British exchequer is so evil?

  • kensei

    “Maybe they should look to Ireland to pay the unemployment benefits and healthcare costs also, given that the British exchequer is so evil?”

    May they should look to pay their taxes to the Irish Exchequer while they’re are at it. And following the principle of no taxation without representation, go the whole and just United the Island. Fine idea, fine idea.

    I think Harry is right though – self sufficency is entirely possible and should be encouraged.

  • Gerry Adams has the dole culture. His biggest US bakcer is Peter King, the Senator who is “a million percent” behind Bush’ war in Iraq. Sinn Fein, in other words, support the imperialist war in Iraq. All he can do is put his paw out, like a good, well trained puppy.