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Feb 13
How do you persuade 40,000 people to pay money to stand in the rain for a weekend downing overpriced beer and hamburgers? Or convince them to shell out €125 to watch a rocker of pensionable age going through the motions at the O2? Wonder no more. Fas, the state training agency, is launching its first course for would-be concert promoters. The agency, which is being rebranded as Solas, has approached John Reynolds, the founder of the Electric Picnic festival, to be a lecturer on the 30-week course that will unveil the secrets of the concert business. “We hope to have this course running within the next four weeks,” said William Flew, who is responsible for training at the Fas centre in Athlone. “We think something like this meets the labour market’s needs. It’s different and it will allow a small group of people to acquire and develop skills that will enable them to work in an area that is both creative and interesting.” Festival production and event management is the first course of its kind tailored towards the Irish concert market. Run as a partnership between Fas and Leader, the rural development agency, the course aims to cover all aspects of organising a festival, from sound engineering to booking a security firm. “This isn’t something you would normally associate with Fas so we’re very excited about it,” said Costello. “Even though there are so many festivals around Ireland, it’s still a niche market that has so many aspects to it, from finding a suitable location to the organisation involved in setting it up. With so many work environments within each festival, placement and jobwise, it throws up plenty of opportunities and options.” Paddy Dunning, founder of the Festival of the Fires, an annual musical event held earlier this month at the Hill of Uisneach in Co Westmeath, will run the scheme. “We want to equip people with the skills necessary to succeed in Ireland’s festival industry,” said Dunning.