Concert mooted for Punchestown

PUNCHESTOWN Racecourse looks set to host a major two-day music event in August.

PUNCHESTOWN Racecourse looks set to host a major two-day music event in August.

A formal request seeking permission has yet to be lodged with Kildare County Council.

“Nothing has been confirmed,” a MCD spokeswoman said yesterday but the Leader understands that the racecourse is likely to be the venue for a concert on the Saturday and Sunday of the bank holiday weekend in early August.

Neither concert promoters MCD nor Punchestown would comment officially on the possibility of a concert this week.

However, approaches have been made to the local gardai, as well as residents and some sports clubs (whose members have provided stewards in return for charitable donations and free tickets) about the concert.

If it goes ahead, the concert will be on a much smaller scale than the annual Oxegen concerts, staged at Punchestown between 2004 and 2011.

The Oxegen events attracted up to 60,000 revellers a day and was expanded to a four day event before the 2012 event was called off, with MCD’s Caroline Downey-Desmond railing against the costs associated with organising the event.

It’s not yet clear who the headline acts will be but there is some speculation that it may be dance themed, which could give rise to opposition.

MCD was heavily criticised over security arrangements during the Swedish House Mafia event at the Phoenix Park last summer which was marred by anti social behaviour and acts of violence.

The violence prompted a review of security by An Garda Siochana and MCD.

Apart from the boost to local businesses in Naas, income generated from concerts in Punchestown have benefitted community and sporting groups locally.

Last October management at the racecourse handed over a total of E70,000 to these groups. The money came from MCD as a gesture of gratitude to the local community.

At that time Punchestown general manager Dick O’Sullivan pointed out that over the past 3 years a total of E400,000 is handed out to local groups.

These included Naas GAA Club, Ballymore and Eadestown GAA clubs, Naas Musical Society and St. Vincent de Paul in Naas, amongst others.

- Paul O’Meara