The launch of Limerick’s 12th successive Riverfest, which took place at city hall on Friday night, was attended by a who’s who of local celebrities and personalities. Con Murray, CEO of Limerick City & County Council, was on hand to point out how incredibly successful Limerick’s flagship festival has been over the years. Last year, for instance, there was a public barbeque on Denmark Street. The Great Limerick Run also happened that same weekend, and there was a fireworks display on the Saturday night. In his opening address Murray promised an even bigger and better Riverfest in 2016.
The honour of unveiling the plans for the festival fell to the little-known, maverick PR personality and founder of iloverichardlynch.com ilovelimerick.ie, Richard Lynch. On this special occasion, Lynch, who normally avoids the spotlight, insisted on posing agreed to pose for numerous photos, his head turned perfectly sideways so naturally and effortlessly, it seemed that the catwalks of Milan were missing a true star.
Following a short 45 minute speech about his new PR company (RichardKnows), Lynch pressed play on the remote control, and the remaining journalists and socialites were treated to an audio-visual extravanganza, prepared by Galway-based Grooveyard Event Management, which set out the dramatic new direction of Riverfest. The festival in 2016, having outgrown the capacity of the city centre to hold it, will take place in what Murray referred to as the ‘more appropriate, one-stop location’ of the Crescent Shopping Centre.
While the announcement raised some eyebrows, Murray was quick to explain that “the large car park in the Crescent Shopping Centre is ideal for a family-friendly fashion show. What we are trying to do here is marry the old with the new, to inject colour and vibrancy into the centre-piece of the Limerick event calendar”. Questioned on the absence of any river-themed events, the city manager was quick to point out that there was actually a small river running adjacent the car park, and Grooveyard Event Management were tasked with making this a focal point of the festival.
Speaking from the floor, Live95fm’s Joe Nash said that while there would always be ‘cribbers and moaners’ and those that claim the City Council are rank amateurs who haven’t the foggiest notion about how to manage a city, he would ensure 95fm’s Shadow Crew would be on hand to report on the fun and festivities come ‘rain, hail or shine’, a possible reference to last years damp squib enormously successful event. Grooveyard, who were bizarrely contracted to run the 2015 festival are more bizarrely back again this year. They will oversee the development of the Riverfest programme, and old favourites such as the Soapbox derby and the band on the back of a truck are set to take place once again, but in the exciting new surrounds of the Crescent Shopping Centre. Fashion Friday also returns with Limerick’s first lady, Celia Holman Lee, hosting an exclusive ‘River Island’ fashion fest which will take place in the Omniplex underground car park.
With only four weeks to go until Riverfest 2016 we can be sure that the reviews
which have already been written will be as glowing as ever, regardless of what actually happens.