LIMERICK’S Riverfest is the envy of other Irish cities, according to the new team charged with running it.
The festival returns for an eleventh successive year this May, with some new elements added to the favoured events that drew upwards of 80,000 people into the city last year.
The festival is being run this year by Galway events company Grooveyard, who won the tender from the council for an initial one year period to run festivals in the city and director James Gavin said at the launch: “It is a hugely successful event, and there are other cities looking at it, saying how can we emulate this, how can we do something like this.
“I know there are other cities looking at it, saying ‘we want this’. There is huge attractiveness to Limerick, it is a beautiful city, and from our point of view we are really happy to be involved.”
Riverfest, in tandem with the Barringtons Hospital Great Limerick Run, makes the May Bank Holiday one of the biggest weekends on the summer calendar anywhere in Ireland, and is worth an estimated €5.5m to the city.
Notable this year is the addition of a new Busking competition and the Maldron Hotel Riverfest on the Shannon - a series of water-based activities and events - while the massively popular Coors Light BBQ competition is again returning to the Robert Street/Denmark Street area of the city.
The fireworks display has been moved to Sunday night, while the popular Fashion Friday, Continental Market and the Soapbox Derby all again return over the four days of the festival.
“It’s hard to believe that this is the 11th Riverfest in Limerick and the city has really taken ownership of the May Bank Holiday weekend,” said Mayor of Limerick City and County Cllr Kevin Sheahan.
“It has developed into a major festival that has a growing reputation at a national level and repeat visitors come back to stay and enjoy themselves in Limerick year after year which is testament to the success of the event.”
Hotels are already at full or close to full occupancy levels and Pat Reddan, general manager of the Maldron Hotel, who are sponsoring the festival, said it had “gone from strength to strength.
“It is absolutely fantastic. It draws people into the city as well as keeping Limerick people here. The nature of Riverfest and the way it has grown, certainly brings repeat customers year on year.”