It’s far too easy to criticise at times. Giving credit is the challenge.
Last weekend Limerick got it right. For the first time in quite a while the Riverfest festival won plaudits from across news and social media portals, and for good reason.
Last year the city appointed a new project management team for our annual festival. The weather was a washout and criticism came from many commentators as to how the festival was run. The 2016 event saw a number of changes that worked brilliantly.
|Making the River the centre of the festival was a good move. Photo: Fusion Shooters|
Moving the food stalls to Arthur’s Quay Park allowed the festival to once again bring the river right back into the heart of festivities. The addition of river activities finally allowed Riverfest to live up to its name.
We were, of course, blessed with the weather but we must congratulate the organising team for the small amendments to the festival programme that made a major impact.
What we proved last weekend is that we can get a festival right if we put a little bit of objective thought into how it is planned. Grooveyard have made a positive impact on the festival in the short time they have had.
|King John’s Castle was a majestic venue for the Coronas|
Great credit is also due to the team at Dolans, the Milk Market and King John’s Castle. The two major gigs were a sell-out and really put Limerick city on the map when it comes to putting on a party.
The Great Limerick Run organisers have proved time and time again that they know how to run a run and market it on a national level. If there is anything Riverfest needs to start looking at it is how to sell the festival not just to a local audience but nationally and even internationally.
With the support of the local authority, Failte Ireland and others this should now be top of the agenda as we prepare for the 2017 event.
It was so refreshing to hear that there wasn’t a hotel room to be got in Limerick last weekend. Based on this might it be worth considering the creation of a glamping/camping village in the likes of the People’s Park next year to facilitate the many who couldn’t be accommodated?
When something works, momentum is key. Trying new things can often reap rewards as we have seen in 2016. The Riverfest weekend now has a unique opportunity to transform Limerick city into an urban playground year on year if we continue to add fresh, quirky aspects to the festival.
Perhaps closer collaboration between the GLR organising team and Grooveyard might enable a creative think-tank to cross market the various activities whilst also adding some effective new additions?
Now that are getting things right we should piggyback on the new-found sense of collaboration we see in the city. When Riverfest works everybody benefits. A proactive, critical review of last weekend should happen immediately and plans for how to enhance the festival even further should be put on the table with engagement from all those who benefit, the public included.
Congrats to all involved and here’s to Riverfest 2017.