The uniqueness of Phibsborough’s Phizzfest

It’s that time of year again, where the streets of Phibsborough fill with fun, laughter, and art. Phizzfest is returning once again this May. The festival will take place over the course of 3 days from the 10th to the 12th.

Whether you have never heard of Phizzfest before, or are a frequent attender, let’s see what’s in store for the weekend ahead. 

So, where did it all begin? Phizzfest began back in 2009, it is a voluntary organisation that was created in the aims to battle the recession. “It was a couple of people who had a conversation, [and thought] why don’t we have a public meeting to see who would come and you couldn’t get in the door,” says Marian Fitzpatrick, director of Phizzfest.  

Fitzpatrick describes it as something that was “waiting to happen.” From there, the festival blossomed into what it is today. It has since become a huge deal and the community of Phibsborough work together each year to make it happen. Local artists get the opportunity to perform and express themselves in a close community. Events include theatre, literature, music, history and more. 

“We have built up relationships with all the intuitions in the area, the Mater hospital, the fire station, and all of the local businesses,” said Fitzpatrick. 

Diversity and community are important for Phizzfest. “There was always the understated objective of community development: Phibsborough is an area where there has always been a diverse demographic of people that rarely get to mingle,” explained Fitzpatrick. This event allows people to mingle from diverse backgrounds that may have never got the opportunity to do before. 

However, they sometimes struggle to cater to all audiences, as Fitzpatrick explained “we are confined by the existing infrastructure in Phibsborough. Some of the venue’s aren’t wheelchair accessible.”   

The voluntary aspect of Phizzfest makes it such a unique festival. From the many locals who volunteer their time to help out with the festivities to the many local businesses who offer sponsorship. They also receive support from Dublin City Council and Waterways Ireland, for events along the Royal Canal.

What do the behind the scenes of such an event actually look like?  The core of the organising is the relationships between the businesses and the local community, “it’s a slow burn, it is important that people trust you,” said Fitzpatrick. It all kicks off in September when they begin their annual fundraising. From there its reviewing venue spaces, creating a programme, matching venues to events and much more.

These events have attracted huge crowds – Fitzpatrick says the “Sunday of the festival attracts All-Ireland day crowds.”

Their ultimate goal with this is to “put Phibsborough on the map for all the right reasons, to showcase Phibsborough and to bring people together”, Fitzpatrick says.  

The six-piece band ‘Fizzy Orange’ are headlining at Phizzfest in Dalymount Park on Saturday May 11th. “Our schools were only stone throws away from Phibsborough, so we’re delighted to be part of this festival,” the band says.  

Musician and performers should keep an eye out for their open calls which occur a few months before the festival kicks off for an opportunity to perform at Phizzfest.

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