“the best news that this festival has received for many years..”

When the Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure, the DUP’s Edwin Poots [Good heavens, indeed. – Ed] announced a three-year public funding package for the Belfast Festival, the work done by the festival organiser’s own three-year business plan was mentioned.. as well as the Festival moving “onto a more sustainable model based on a greater input of box office receipts and commercial sponsorship.” Today the minister was there as the Ulster Bank Group announced that it is to become the major commercial sponsor of the Festival with over £1million over the next three years. And, as a result of that partnership, the Festival is to be rebranded as the Ulster Bank Belfast Festival. It’s a solution that should work for such a high-profile festival, but whether other smaller festivals can find similar commercial sponsors is far from clear.