PLANS are underway for necessary improvements to Castle Park ahead of next year’s Dergfest music festival, as organisers say council support is vital for its survival.
For the past two years Castle Park has been the chosen venue for the music showcase, which attracted almost 6,000 people to the village this year.
“Dergfest 2017 was our biggest year ever,” said a spokesperson for the music festival.
“We had people from all over the north of Ireland attend and further afield including people from Australia, Canada and England.
“Our event is completely self-funded. For the past four years we have applied for grants through the council, however each year we have been unsuccessful in securing any funding.
“Unfortunately this year the weather wasn’t kind to us and the committee had to pay out £7,000 to cover drainage damage caused by heavy rain.”
Organisers began a campaign on the festival’s Facebook page appealing to Derry City and Strabane District Council for some financial assistance.
“Castle Park site is the ideal venue for our festival. It’s iconic, beautiful and epitomises Castlederg,” continued the spokesperson. “However the festival committee alone, cannot afford to maintain the upkeep of the site.
“Everyone locally, particularly businesses appreciate the economic revenue our festival is bringing to the town and we received a massive response from the general public supporting our appeal to the council.
“We have a long term vision for Dergfest however without financial input from council we cannot say if that is feasible.”
Last week Dergfest organisers and local Derg councillors held a meeting with council officials at Castle Park, to discuss improvements on the site.
Organisers say they are now pleased to confirm that the council has agreed to carry out some interim work.
Supporting the appeal for council support, Derg councillor Derek Hussey said, “It was obvious following this year’s festival that the damage which was clear to be seen, was unavoidable.
“After the recent meeting with council officials several measures were considered that could be enacted to reduce the impact to the grass areas on site and prevent such damage re-occurring at future events.
“We also suggested other ways to further enhance the park facilities for all users and it was agreed that improvements were possible.”
Mr Hussey added, “Council officials are now considering and preparing costed plans and if agreed by full council, works to enhance the site should be targeted for completion in the Spring of next year.”
Posted: 6:52 pm September 1, 2017