The 19th annual ICONS Irish Music & Arts Festival was called off this summer due to an extreme drop in profits in the past two years.
The festival, which took place on the grounds of the Irish Cultural Centre of New England outside Boston, Massachusetts, was the largest in the area.
The cancellation comes just two years after a for-profit firm, Connections Ventures, took over the festival from the nonprofit Cultural Centre.
The company had a 10-year contract to run the three-day festival, but backed out on the deal after losing money due to dismal ticket sales in 2007 and 2008, which were largely affected by rainy weather.
Connections Ventures’ executive director and host of “A Celtic Sojourn” on WGBH-FM (89.7) Brian O’Donovan told the Boston Herald: “It just didn’t make sense. It’s very difficult to pull off an outdoor event in this kind of climate. There’s not a lot of arts funding or corporate sponsorship and presales, which sustains you during the bad weather.”
The once-popular Irish festival attracted up to 50,000 people during its peak years at Stonehill College. Attendance lost year plummeted to 14,000 festival goers.
O’Donovan is still hopeful that the festival can be reinstated in future years.
“I will personally continue to look for ways to resurrect what I believe is an important event in celebrating Irish culture in the region,” he said.
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