A special committee has been established in Thurles to look into the possibility of returning the Feile to the Cathedral Town in a bid to kick start the local economy with massive festival fuelled cash injections.
The controvertial rock concerts held in Semple Stadium in the early nineties helped to pump millions of Euro into the local economy with top headline acts such as Meatloaf, Brian Adams, Chris de Burgh, The Stunning, The Sawdoctors, Rage Against the Machine, INXS, The Prodigy, Manic Street Preachers, Christy Hennessy, Christy Moore and many more playing to capacity crowds in Semple Stadium.
The Trip to Tipp was promoted by MCD and Semple Stadium. The stadium management committee, under the direction of Michael Lowry TD, were charged with the responsibility of clearing a massive debt of the famous hurling and football venue following redevelopment, and saw a niche in the market and the potential to tap into a readymade market. Few venues in the country were capable of hosting the massive crowds which attended the festival - it was estimated that 150,000 people attended the Feile at it's peak.
And, while the Feile concerts generated a huge cash injection into the local economy, they also had their detractors with leading Church figures including Archbishop Dermot Clifford , and District Court Judge Michael O'Reilly lashing the behaviour and the kind of clientelle being attracted to a small rural town. There were multiple drug seizures, a myriad of alcohol related arrests, assaults, thefts and many more crimes. However, considering the massive attendances, the transgressors would have been much in the minority.
The committee established in Thurles under the auspices of Thurles Town Council will meet for the first time next month and is bidding to investigate the possibility of bringing back a Feile type of event to Thurles.
And, while the availability of Semple Stadium could attract and clinch a major headline act, other venues such as Thurles Racecourse and Thurles Greyhound Stadium were also sugested as possibilities by members of the Town Council. No contact has been made with any of these bodies by the local committee as of yet.
Councillor Gerard O'Brien had suggested, at a very positive and productive monthly meeting of the local authority, that Thurles would be the ideal location for a summer festival. He mentioned the kind of cash generated by the Feile and the spin off benefits and said that the council should look at similar ideas to try and kick start the local economy. A niche would have to be found, but he was confident that Thurles could attract visitors by hosting some event or other.
Full story in this week's Tipperary Star.