Council back Music and Film Festival plans

PLANS to stage an annual Music and Film Festival in north Antrim has been given the thumbs up by Ballymoney Borough Council.

Expecting to attract over 800 visitors to the area, the proposed festival is set to be held at Leslie Hill Estate, Ballymoney on Saturday, August 20.

During a recent Development Committee meeting, members agreed to give £1,000 sponsorship to the event in view of its marketing potential, ability to increase visitor numbers and provide economic benefits to the local area.

Last year plans were abandoned to bring several thousand people to the Leslie Hill Estate for a WOMAD (World of Music, Arts and Dance) festival as vital funding could not be secured.

The Development Committee meeting report explained: ‘The meeting received outline details of programme for proposed new music and film festival to be staged on Saturday, August 20 at Leslie Hill Estate, Ballymoney and considered application for a council contribution towards the development of this new event in the Borough.

‘The festival, intended to attract a minimum of 800 in the first year, includes an eclectic mix of exciting R&B bands, new folk and acoustic acts and film screenings.

‘The proposal will establish an annual music and film festival in north Antrim, provide an economic opportunity for Ballymoney, north Antrim and Northern Ireland with potential to become a prestigious national event, delivering profile for event partners and sponsors.

‘A successful festival will open up business opportunities for the local area and its accommodation providers, restaurants, tourist trade, for providers of services etc, for media, local people involved in the organisation planning and running of the festival, for bands and muscicans.

‘There will also be opportunities for direct employment, temporary employment, volunteering and work experience.’

Members discussed the growth potential of the event and its potential to contribute to the local economy, development of local arts and culture and encourage tourism development.

It was proposed by Cllr Bill Kennedy and second by Cllr Tom McKeown that sponsorship of £1,000 be made available, 50% from existing event budget and the remainder from reserve funds.