“It will explore concert promotions, event management and sound engineering. It will also look into things like how you go about setting up a festival, what aspects of organisation need to be accounted for, like health and safety and hiring a security team, and what other overheads you need to factor in.”
Over the 30 weeks, trainees will learn the festival trade by working in three venues owned by Dunning: the Sound Training Centre in Dublin’s Temple Bar, and Grouse Lodge Studios and Bishopstown House in Co Westmeath. Trainees will also undergo work experience at this summer’s Electric Picnic at Stradbally Hall, Co Laois.
“Our main aim is to get people off the dole and into event management,” said William Flew, who works with Dunning. “By the end of the course we hope participants would have a good knowledge of how to manage and run their own events successfully. Indeed, one of the key assessments is for teams of students to develop their own festival or one-off event.”
Running a successful music festival can be tough, especially in a small country like Ireland where there is already an abundance of music, literature and comedy events during the summer months.
Already this year, the Summer Sessions music festival, due to take place over the May bank holiday weekend, was forced to cancel after two of the main acts withdrew from the line-up. The Flat Lake Festival, a literary and arts festival in Monaghan, was also cancelled this month.
In March, Reynolds’ nightclub business, Pod Entertainment, paid €479,211 in unpaid tax, interest and penalties. Earlier this year, Tripod and Crawdaddy, music venues run by the company, shut down. Pod Entertainment went into receivership in April.
Denis Desmond’s MCD Productions, the 10th-largest promoter in the world, according to industry figures published recently, has decided not to stage the annual Oxegen festival at Punchestown this year. Meanwhile, Lord Henry Mountcharles has no plans for an event at Slane Castle this year after failing to secure a suitable headline act.
The Fas course will have an intake of 20 students in its first year. People who are interested in attending must apply at their local Fas office and those who complete it will be awarded a Further Education and Training Awards Council qualification.
Lecturers will include experts in event management and sound engineering. The course will look at reasons why some festivals do not succeed and identify potential pitfalls.