Other Voices Ballina was officially launched on Wednesday in St.Michael’s Church, which is to be the setting for concerts by Elbow, Skinny Living, Denise Chaila and Jesca Hoop next month.
Other Voices producer Tina O’Reilly, who hails from Mayo, said the team is “delighted” to be coming back to Ballina as the 2018 festival was “one of the highlights” of their calendar.
“I love working on Other Voices, and we take it all over the world, but bringing it to Mayo was one of the highlights for me. I was pushing tirelessly to try to come back again and there are so many people […] who have helped me to pull the funding together.”
“I have to say as well that our crew were all encouraging us to come back to Ballina because they had the best weekend. They couldn’t express enough how friendly everyone was and how well they were treated.”
She thanked Reverend Stephen McWhirter of St Michael’s Church for trusting her team with the venue, which she said they “stripped it all apart and put it all back together again.”
With four acts announced to play a ticketed event at St. Michael’s Church, it was today confirmed that a further five acts will be announced next week. Tickets to the concerts are free and will be released as prizes through local and national media competitions.
The free music trail, which sees bands play in a host of local pubs throughout the town, has 15 confirmed acts, with more to be revealed in the coming weeks.
Cathaoirleach of Ballina Municipal District, Michael Loftus, said Other Voices was “fantastic” for Ballina, the wider North Mayo area and Ireland.
The Fianna Fáil councillor admitted “hand on heart” that he didn’t know many of the bands playing, but said: “It is a fantastic, new vibrant thing to come to our community, and to see the young people that we brought to this community- I thought it was just fantastic.”
He thanked all of the workers, local businesses, sponsors, politicians and the local council for their contribution to the event. He added that the many volunteers involved are a “testament to their community”.
He went on: “It is you, the people, who make this event.”
Chief Executive of Mayo County Council, Peter Hynes, said the Other Voices festival held in 2018 was “probably one of the most successful weekends there has been not just in North Mayo but in the county at large.”
“The place here, outside, the whole town just looked fantastic,” he said adding that many people still speak of the great atmosphere of the event.
He also referenced the income benefits to the town, with the 2018 weekend adding an estimated €2 million to the local economy, which does not include the media exposure and Ballina’s association with the Other Voices which he described as “incalculable”.
Other Voices will arrive in Ballina for the weekend of February 28 and 29.