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‘Huge disappointment’ as Scariff Harbour Festival is called off

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Risks associated with hosting the popular Scariff Harbour Festival have prompted organisers to cancel the event for 2020.

Scheduled to be held over the August bank-holiday weekend, organisers informed The Clare Echo on Tuesday morning that the Harbour Festival would not be proceeding this year. Sponsored by Waterways Ireland, committee members have admitted they would have been unable to adhere to Government recommendations and COVID-19 restrictions.

“It is a huge disappointment for the community, festival goers and the organising committee that this year’s festival cannot happen,” Festival Chairman, Mike Rodgers said. “We looked into every possible angle to try and find a way in which even some elements of the festival might happen, but the safety of people was our top priority and determined the final outcome”.

This year would have been the 18th Harbour Festival with a provisional programme events already in place. This included a mix of free outdoor music, walks, talks, guest speakers, boat tours and children’s entertainment.

Harry O’Meara has been on the Festival Committee since its inception and has witnessed the growth in standing for the Scariff Harbour Festival over almost two decades.

“It is with a huge sense of regret that we had to reach this decision. The festival has attracted many people from all over Clare and beyond including people native to East Clare who are now living elsewhere in Ireland or abroad. The risks associated with such a gathering are simply too high,” he admitted.

Committee members have already outlined that they are determined to make the 2021 return of the Harbour Festival a memorable one.

Páraic McMahon is Head of News & Sport with The Clare Echo. The Newmarket-on-Fergus native also writes for national papers including The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent and The Irish Times along with doing work for RTÉ, Today FM, and A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to -

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