Major Sligo Live events at the Knocknarea Arena


KTThe two headline acts for this year’s Sligo Live Festival, Elvis Costello and KT Tunstall, will take the stage at IT Sligo’s Knocknarea Arena, the region’s newest large-scale venue, during the October bank holiday weekend.

This is the first time the 1,200-seat arena has hosted an event on this scale, and the collaboration between the increasingly popular festival and the Institute, is one that has been welcomed by local tourist and business interests as well as by the Sligo Live promoters and the college.

Sligo Live producer, Shane Mitchell said that having access to a venue like the Knocknarea Arena had opened the way for Sligo Live to attract bigger acts.“This is a wonderful opportunity for Sligo, not just during Sligo Live, but throughout the year”, said Mr Mitchell who described the arena as “a warm intimate venue”.

Since it opened in 2007, the Knocknarea Arena has established a reputation as a top class sports facility which has been used by Sligo Rovers and the under-21 Irish soccer team.

The installation of international standard sound equipment, stage lighting and soundproofing for the renowned festival, will in the future ensure that that for music and live entertainment fans, it will also now be synonymous with an excellent concert experience, as well as a top-rate conference facility.

The President of IT Sligo Professor Terri Scott said that partnerships with community and regional organisations are central to the Institute’s mission. She said it was fitting that college facilities such as the Knocknarea Arena were being exploited as an asset for the region and a source of pleasure for the community.  “Our first priority is always our students, but  it’s fitting that our facilities are being used to help maximise outreach, business and tourism ventures, such as Sligo Live, “ said Professor Scott. “Regional engagement is a crucial part of our Strategic Plan and this development at the Knocknarea Arena is very exciting.”

Welcoming the partnership with IT Sligo, The Mayor of Sligo Councillor Rosaleen O’Grady described ‘Sligo Live’ as one of the most exciting and popular music festivals in the country. “Sligo’s unique musical culture is renowned far and wide, and the diversity and range of the ‘Sligo Live’ programme is a credit to the outstanding organising committee,” said the Mayor. “With over one hundred events and a host of world renowned performers, all roads will lead to Sligo in the last week of October.”

Elivs Costello2Sligo County Manager Hubert Kearns said that the ‘Sligo Live’ experience was a major factor in progressing Sligo’s reputation as a cultural and tourism destination. ‘Sligo Live is a vibrant celebration of Sligo’s rich musical tradition, and one that is eagerly anticipated by the people of Sligo and the Northwest”, said Mr Kearns. “The Festival is also a significant boost to the local economy, and the organising committee and their team of dedicated volunteers deserve the support and goodwill of the business community and general population as they finalise their plans for this flagship event for Sligo.”

Last year the folk, roots and indie music festival had an attendance of nearly 30,000 people at the 100 different concert, club, session, café culture, street entertainment and market events that made up the programme, providing an economic bonanza for the region.

Sligo Live 2011  will take place over the October Bank Holiday weekend 26th – 31st October  with the main attraction Elvis Costello  taking the stage in the Knocknarea on Saturday night October 29th while the other headline act,  KT Tunstall,  will be there on  the Friday night.

Development and Business Operations Manager at IT Sligo, Gordon Ryan explained that the multifunctional nature of the Knocknarea Arena was a huge advantage. “We are providing an international class auditorium which we can speedily convert back to a multi-sports facility,” he stressed. “This allows the Institute to obtain maximum use from a valuable asset all year round, for the students and the wider community.”

As well as a multipurpose gymnasium, the Knocknarea Arena boasts state of the art outdoor facilities including 3G Astro Turf, an international standard running track, and a GAA pitch, all of them floodlit.

Previous events in the Arena have included the annual Charity Christmas Concert, Conferrings and the annual SciFest event.

Fáilte Ireland, one of Sligo Live’s main sponsors, said that as one of the county’s top events it attracted large numbers to Sligo in what is considered to be the shoulder period for tourism businesses.

“Sligo is a premier host for this type of event, having as it does a wide range of high quality accommodation, fantastic pubs and restaurants and a state of the art venue such as The Knocknarea at IT Sligo,” said Fáilte Ireland manager Martina Bromley.

First Image Caption: KT Tunstall

Second Image Caption: Elvis Costello