The Liberties festival lives on

By Aimée McCarthy.

The Liberties festival has been improving every year and is now coming into its 42nd year.  The team of people who work on the festival are committed to make 2012 its best one yet.

The festival will take place on the 18th – 22nd of July. This is the first year that the festival has happened in July due to heavy rain in previous years.

Michael Conlon, the director of the festival, is keen to spread its main aim “It was started a long time ago by a group of local people who just wanted to bring some light-hearted fun into the community, particularly in an area where there is high levels of poverty and lack of social inclusion.”

“This was used as a way to bring the community together and to provide entertainment for the kids during the summer.”

This is Mr. Conlon’s second year involved with the festival and he is enthusiastic to make it better than even before.

“What we decided to do was look at the festival, see how we could improve it and use it as a tool to welcome other people into the Liberties.”

“For a while it was purely only focused on the local community.  What we tried to do last year and will continue to do this year is encourage more tourists to come into the Liberties. There were lots of tourists going up to the Storehouse but very few happened to stay in and around the Liberties.”

“We wanted to show some of the living talents that are living in the community all year round and encourage people to spend time in the local community.”

Liberties locals at last years festival

This year the aim of the festival is to include more tourists and attract more people to the community.

Mr.Conlon explained that “Last year there was an increase in tourists and it was great to be able to give them not only an Irish welcome, but a Liberties welcome.”

He continued by saying “Last year we had a limited number of tourists involved but this year we’ve already been approached by an Italian tour guide who wants to bring more Italians into the area. She will provide tours of The Liberties and its surrounding areas purely in Italian. That alone will bring the tourists in.”

Mr.Conlon and his team are hoping to attract more people to the festival this year with an interesting new project they’re working on. “We’re working on a project with an artist called Maser. He’s a Dublin street artist and he has been transforming walls around Dublin with different forms of street art.”

“The project that we’re currently taking up with him is focusing around the Liberty Belles. We’re going to focus on women in the Liberties. It’s currently in its development but it’s something that will be unveiled slowly over a period of time rather than just on a specific day.”

“People should be watching around for things happening in The Liberties that might be the Maser project,” he explained.

The Nighthawks event is one of the main events of the festival. It is one of the few events that has a cost attached to it but don’t let that put you off.  Mr.Conlon recommends that anyone interested should buy their tickets early as it sold out last year.

It takes place in the Guinness Storehouse and is a night full of comedy, music and poetry. Acts from last year include The Flaws, Vyvienne Long, Fiach Moriarty and many more.

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