Belfast Telegraph

Ireland’s biggest trad music festival may be held in Derry

Ireland's biggest traditional music festival could be heading north of the border for the first time.

Organisers of the Fleadh Cheoil — currently celebrating its 60th anniversary — have revealed that the week-long event may be making its way to Derry to coincide with its stint as UK city of culture in 2013.

And with the North West economy set to receive an income boost to the tune of €30m (£24.6m), local officials have given the idea a warm welcome.

Senator Labhras O'Murchu, of Fleadh Cheoil co-ordinators Comhaltas, said holding the annual festival in the first UK city of culture would be an ideal partnership.

“My dearest personal wish is that we go north with the all-Ireland Fleadh in the near future,” he said.

“Derry is a very historic city. There's a lot of heritage and the traditions of music and dance are very strong there.

“I also think that there would be a huge influx of visitors from Britain and North America, especially with the very high-profile year that's in it.”

Fleadh Cheoil officials have been in discussions with Derry arts and language group An Culturlann to advise them about the application process.

But Senator O'Murchu said a number of other locations had expressed an interest in playing host in 2013.

“The Fleadh Cheoil is huge — there could be up to a quarter of a million people visiting in any year.

“There's the publicity element, with people from all over the world coming to see it and report on it.

“And when people come and they have a good time there's a possibility that they will come back again for a holiday.”

“This event belongs to everyone,” Senator O'Murchu added.

“If it went north we would also be able to recognise and celebrate other cultures — the bodhran and the Lambeg drum should be able to sit well together.”

A spokeswoman for Derry City Council said if the Fleadh Cheoil bid proved successful, it would play a key part in the programme of events for the city of culture 2013.

“We believe an event of this stature would help us to create creative connections with our communities and bring Irish music and tradition to a new audience and help us showcase our unique creative talents.”

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