We lost two Festivals this summer, but we fully intend that the third one, Masters of Tradition, will go ahead.
The Government’s Road Map currently gives the thumbs up to festivals in the second half of August if produced subject to social distancing rules, which will be a new experience for all of us.
Assuming the Road Map does not go into reverse, we need to answer three questions: will the musicians be able to travel to Bantry? Can the finances be made to work? Will the audience want to come?
The first question is important as Martin Hayes lives abroad, so we hope the Michael O’Leary argument on quarantine restrictions on inbound travellers does eventually win the day.
All festivals depend on a nice chunky box office; funding, however generous, never covers all the costs. With social distancing, potential box office and venue capacity will be reduced by 75%. However our friends in Cork County Council have offered to help on condition we observe the strictest protocols regarding social distancing and hygiene. We think these protocols will be most effectively managed in the Maritime Hotel that, by August 19, will have had several weeks’ experience in managing guests under the new rules.
For the moment the social distance remains 2 metres, though this may gradually be reduced. Whatever the distance, venues will look very strange with spacing both between rows and between seats. Attending a concert will be a very different experience to the last concert you attended. Venue capacity will be a quarter of normal, there will be no interval and access and exit will be strictly controlled.
So we would like you to help us with the third question. Would you be comfortable attending the Festival so soon after the lockdown was relaxed? Would the vagaries of the social distancing protocols put you off attending even though you found the programme attractive? If you decided not to attend, would you pay to watch a live stream of the concert?
We plan to send out a survey when the national situation is clearer but in the meantime, we would love to hear your thoughts. Please send your email to our Marketing Manager, Sara O’Donovan here.
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