Food Festival admission fee leaves a sour taste

Facing criticism: the Galway International Food and Craft Fair in Salthill at the weekend. PHOTO: JOE O'SHAUGHNESSY.

Galway City Tribune – An estimated 20,000 people attended last weekend’s inaugural Galway International Food and Craft Festival in Salthill – but the event has not been without its critics and organisers have conceded that anger over ticket pricing damaged the event.

Running from Friday to Sunday in Salthill Park, organisers were expecting a crowd of 30,000 over the three days, but Head of Marketing, Damien Duggan, told the Galway City Tribune that disappointment among punters that the event wasn’t free and poor weather on Saturday afternoon hit attendance figures.

Despite a number of problems, Mr Duggan said this was the first of what will be an annual event and they would be back next year, subject to licence.

On Friday afternoon as the first attendees made their way to the event, reports circulated online of people turning away from the gate, not happy to pay the entrance fee of €12.50 per adult – with the added criticism that those who paid in and later left the park could not return.

When asked if the furore over tickets on Friday damaged momentum, Mr Duggan said: “I do think that’s fair to say”.

“But Sunday was booming and it was hopping on Saturday until the rain came and as people were filtering out, the flow didn’t keep coming.

“We took action but it did affect momentum in a sense. But I think the weather was the biggest factor,” continued Mr Duggan.

A number of stall holders were unhappy with the management of the event and one who spoke to the Galway City Tribune said they did not get anywhere near the footfall they were expecting.
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