“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.

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  • interested

    Surely the devolution of the Community Festivals Fund to local Councils will have helped secure some of our smaller festivals in Northern Ireland.

    When that fund was administered by DCAL huge proportions of it went to a very small number of larger festivals here. Now it can go to the smaller festivals in local areas, match funded by money from the Councils themselves. Surely good news.

  • Pete Baker

    The administration of the fund is to be devolved to local Councils.

    But the level of that fund will be dependent on “an annual allocation to each council under a specific grant process.”

    Add in that the minister also stated – “It is my view that councils should support local community festivals from their own resources; there­fore, I shall seek match funding.” – and I can see a mechanism there which could place restrictions on when that central allocation would be passed on to festival organisers.

    i.e. it could require Councils to allocate matched levels of funding before the centrally allocated funds could be released.

    That will depend on the willingness of local councils to fund individual festivals.

    Then there’s the issue of the level of that central allocation.. and the minister’s desire to see more commercial sponsorship.

  • interested

    Many Councils do already allocate funding to local festivals – those who don’t then surely should be asked why not…

    The amounts being talked about are matchable by any council – certainly any of the larger councils should be able to fund any of the smallish to medium sized festivals in their areas. It’ll put it up to lots of very mouthy councillors who will have the responsibiity on them instead of sitting in righteous isolation feeling the ability to critisise Ministers etc for not delivering but not having any responsibility themselves.

    Smart enough move on the Minister’s behalf…