Council split over music festival

Peter Winter

Reporter:

Peter Winter

Email:

peter.winter@thechronicle.uk.com

The council has been asked to provide a venue for major summer music festival headlined by the Ulster Orchestra.

The Chronicle has learned the operators of Kelly's Complex planned the beach side event to mark the night club's 50th anniversary this summer.

However, the application has prompted a row among councillors over whether or not the organisers should pay a fee for use of public land.

The programme of concerts over three days was planned for East Strand Car Park in mid-August with a varied mix of performances.

The headline act was to be a 60-piece classical orchestra, with world-renowned DJs and live vocalists playing hits from the past 20 years, produced in conjunction with Kylie Minogue’s musical director.

Similar events have already been held in Belfast's SSE Arena and Derry's Ebrington Square site.

Kelly's wish to repeat the concert's sell-out success in Portrush to celebrate the venue's 50th birthday over the weekend August 9-11, 2019.

A request for use of the car park was brought to the council's Land and Property sub-committee last month.

Members voted narrowly to approve the application, subject to agreement from the R&A whose media operation for the Open Championship will occupy the site, both in the lead-up to July's tournament and for an unknown period afterwards.

But when the matter came before the full council for ratification, a number of members objected, suggesting permission should not be granted unless a payment was received.

Although the full council's discussion of the event was held behind closed doors, minutes of the Land and Property sub-committee held on January 9 indicate Sinn Fein's Cara McShane backed initial moves to demand a fee.

Others pointed out the benefit to the area in terms of visitors, overnight stays

Yesterday (Monday) Cllr McShane told the Chronicle she supported the concept of the event, describing it as “a brilliant idea.”

*For all of Councillor McShane's reaction, see this week's Coleraine Chronicle.

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