The Púca Festival was so badly publicised that most people I spoke to in Drogheda over the weekend were totally unaware that there was a festival taking place.
The concept of Púca was to build a festival celebrating the Boyne Valley as the birth place of Halloween with events taking place in Trim, Athboy and Drogheda. But mostly Trim.
Or something along those lines.
What we got, in Drogheda at least, was a group of local children dressed as characters from Irish mythology parading through the streets and some totally underwhelming “light installations” which apparently drew their inspiration from folklore, beamed on to the walls of Laurence’s Gate and The Tholsel.
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There were four or five events in local bars with entrance charges of between €15 and €20. Again, little or no publicity. Oh, and a €95 a-head banquet in Slane Castle which, though it was part of the festival was not mentioned in either the brochure or the web site.
The parade was the most visible event in Drogheda even though it took place in the teeming rain it was very entertaining. The young people from Kidkast and everyone else involves deserve our congratulations for putting on the best show they could in the circumstances.
Why anyone thought that a festival that was split between three venues was ever going to work is beyond me. People I spoke to who were involved in these events told me of a total lack of any support from the organisers, Failte Ireland.
Yes Drogheda needs a festival that it can call its own but I’m sorry, Púca is not it. We used to have the Irish Maritime Festival and before that, for 20 years, the Samba Festival. Both of them may be worth revisiting.
Perhaps when the new Business Improvement District Manager is appointed she or he might consider forming a Drogheda festival committee as one of the first items on their agenda.
We need to get visitors into Drogheda to enjoy the many facilities and sights we have to offer and festivals are a good way to do that but sharing a festival with another town over 40 kilometres away makes no sense whatsoever.
This article was written by Andy Spearman