world : Only two Ebrington Square gigs strike right note

world : Only two Ebrington Square gigs strike right note
world : Only two Ebrington Square gigs strike right note

Wednesday 12 June 2024 10:50 PM

Nafeza 2 world - Only two of five summer gigs planned for Londonderry’s Ebrington Square will now go ahead.

Scottish DJ Ewan McVicar, who came to prominence with the release of his debut single Tell Me Something Good in 2021, and 1970s disco legends Sister Sledge will headline the two-day Jika Jika Festival later this month.

In August, T’Pau and Nik Kershaw come to Derry for a Back to the 80s show.

But on Tuesday councillors were told three further events that had been planned for the former military base this summer will now not happen.

The latest set-back comes less than a year after a public row over gigs taking place in the square.

The venue is located at the Waterside end of Derry's iconic peace bridge.

New arrangements for events at the Ebrington site in 2024 came into effect last year after a dispute when four concerts had their permission withdrawn by The Executive Office (TEO), which owns the site.

That followed a threat of legal action by the Ebrington Hotel, which opened at the square in July 2023.

The gigs were then approved after the hotel dropped its objection amid a public backlash.

The new arrangements that followed allow for a maximum of five outdoor concerts each year.

The council now manages the application for promoters hoping to hold events at the site, while responsibility for event management remains with TEO.

Promoters must also now provide the council with written confirmation of the acts at least six months in advance.

On Tuesday councillors were told one concert planned for this summer would not now proceed because the promoter could not confirm the act.

A report further said: “Another event scheduled for the end of July withdrew due to their own operational reasons and the event at the beginning of August did not respond to any requests for further information”.

It added: “This leaves just two events taking place and members will be aware of the difficulties and concerns with the level of detail each promoter was able to provide in advance indicating that the market may not be as strong as was hoped”.

A council spokeswoman told BBC Radio Foyle that they would continue to work with TEO over the process.

Concerts and large events have been held in Ebrington Square since the former parade ground was regenerated and opened to the public in 2012.

It has hosted some of the biggest music events ever held in Derry, including BBC Radio 1's Big Weekend in 2013.

Paul Connolly, frontman of Derry band Wood Burning Savages, said events of that scale now seem a long time ago.

Some local promoters, he added, now feel there are too many barriers to putting on a show at the site.

“Ebrington has so, so much potential. If we can crack how this tender process happens there is no reason why something as grand as Belsonic could not happen in Derry”.

He told BBC Radio Foyle’s North West Today programme that there are criteria in the current application process “that are not realistic, that cannot be done”.

The BBC has asked The Executive Office for comment.

Get the latest news delivered to your inbox

Follow us on social media networks

NEXT world : Harte 'hugely disappointed' as Derry's season peters out