Patrick O’Keeffe Festival GoFundMe Campaign Launched

Settling down for an uplifting session. At the Patrick O’Keeffe Traditional Music Festival GoFundMe site launch at Fagin’s Bar in Castleisland last night were, from left: Patsy O’Donoghue, Jerome ‘Fagin’ Hartnett, Ned O’Callaghan, Sheila Heery, Conor O’Mahony, Cormac O’Mahony, Con Moynihan, Denis O’Connor and Gearóid Ó Duinnín. ©Photograph: John Reidy

Patrick O’Keeffe Traditional Music Festival Chairman, Cormac O’Mahony called a special meeting of the committee and it convened at Fagin’s Bar last night from 9:30pm.

Top of the agenda was the funding issue for this October’s festival which will run from Friday 26th to Monday 29th inclusive.

In a statement Cormac laid out the committee’s plans to launch a GoFundMe campaign with the aim of combining its contribution with that of the locality to get the festival over this funding hump.

He also explained how the Arts Council funding was missed for this year’s event and he appealed to the friends of the festival everywhere to show their support now in its hour of greatest need.

The committee also launched a short film on the history of the festival which was shot around last year’s event.

The Following is Chairman O’Mahony’s Statement

This year, against a backdrop of greatly reduced funding, the Patrick O’Keeffe Traditional Music Festival Committee members attempt to organise the 26th annual festival in Castleisland.

The festival was set up in 1993 to mark the 30th anniversary of the death of Patrick O’Keeffe the Sliabh Luachra Fiddle Master.

The aim of the festival was and is to preserve the unique Sliabh Luachra musical culture and promote traditional music in the area.

Grown in Stature

The festival has grown in stature year on year since it was founded here in 1993. People come from all over Ireland and indeed the world to attend the four-day celebration of local culture.

In the past few years alone we have had a group of South Korean folk musicians with a full TV crew, a troupe of Canadians, Japanese, Americans and Dutch as well as many others.

The 2016 festival was featured on a full length programme on the TG4 flagship traditional music programme Hup.

The Rolling Wave

Recordings from concerts and sessions from the weekend feature regularly on the RTÉ Radio One programme The Rolling Wave.

In short, The Patrick O’Keeffe Traditional Music Festival is very highly regarded and is considered one of the top three traditional music festivals in Ireland at present.

The festival is a voluntary, non-profit making community group, organised by a committee of volunteers who work with no personal remuneration.

Committee Structure

It consists of: Chairman, Cormac O Mahony; Secretary, Ned O’Callaghan; PRO: John Reidy and Conor O’Mahony; Treasurers: Patsy O’Donoghue and Jerome Hartnett; President, Pats Broderick; Committee members: Charlie Nelligan, Tommy Dom O’Connor and Brenden Herbert.

The festival consists of recitals, workshops and classes for traditional instruments and singing, lectures and exhibitions.

We also run an extensive pub trail with organised and indeed impromptu sessions featuring Ireland’s top traditional musicians throughout the town over the weekend. Last year we ran 45 sessions over the four days.

Festival Running Costs

The musicians, teachers, concert performers and lectures must have their expenses paid and guests artists who travel long distances must be provided with accommodation. We advertise the festival in the local papers and on Radio Kerry. We hire in a sound system and engineer for the main concert.

We also have the expense of producing a programme booklet and posters. All added up the cost of running a festival in a normal year is €22,000 approximately.

Festival’s Funding Sources

Local business generously provides us with sponsorship through adverts in the festival programme that raises €6,500. The pubs and vintners’ society contribute €4,000.

Kerry County Council Community Support Scheme comes to €2,000.

The Arts Council grant is usually €5,000. Receipts from the concert and workshops raise €4,500.

Total: €22,000.

Perfect Job, Everybody Happy

In 2017 we celebrated the 25th anniversary of the festival, we received a large grant from North and East Kerry Development – Leader funding which we spent on a greatly extended programme of events.

Perfect Storm – Bad Timing

At 5.20pm on the opening day of last year’s festival, on Friday 28th October 2017 we submitted our application on-line to the Arts Council for funding the 2018 festival. The deadline being 5.30pm that evening.

The Arts Council office computer system had crashed and did not accept our application.

Application Rejected

Despite our protests, which included screenshots of our application being submitted on time, our application was rejected.

We knew we were in trouble for 2018. Earlier this summer we were contacted by a local politician who told us he had secured a large grant for us from Leader funding.

Happy Days Back in Funds

As the 2018 festival approached we went about drawing down the said grant to discover it was not there at all. He had mistaken it for the grant we had received and spent on the 2017 festival.

This is how we discovered, at this late stage, we were not going to be able to run this year’s festival as planned unless we can secure an extra funding stream.

GoFundMe Page Launch

We have decided to launch a GoFundMe drive to make up the shortfall. There is, I hope, enough goodwill towards the festival in the local community and among the large Castleisland, Sliabh Luachra and musical diaspora spread all over the globe.

I would be hoping that people who have never been asked before to contribute to the festival would do so now to help get the 2018 festival over this hurdle.

In the words of the well-known grocer ‘Every Little Helps.’

Thank you……Cormac O’Mahony

The Patrick O’Keeffe Traditional Music Festival GoFundMe has set a target of €7,500. Your contributions will be greatly appreciated.

The page is accessible with a click on the link here:

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