MEMBERS of Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Business and Culture Committee were this week given an update regarding the planning and delivery of the Foyle Maritime Festival 2020.
Members attending the monthly meeting of the committee this week afternoon heard how Council has signed a contractual agreement with Clipper Ventures to host the Clipper 2019-20 Race in the Foyle Marina in July 2020.
They were informed how the partnership has been an integral part of the Council’s international campaign to showcase the city and region as a world class destination for visitors and investors.
Aeidin McCarter, Head of Culture with the Council advised members that the Clipper yachts are expected to arrive in the city from 23 July, and that work is progressing well with promoters, organisations and businesses to develop an action packed programme of animation and activity for the duration of the festival.
Members heard how the festival will run for 11 days delivering an enhanced level of activity over the five major days of the festival that could possibly include a full road closure along Queen’s Quay. The full road closure would help facilitate the large crowds of people expected by providing a more enhanced experience.
Members were reassured that should Council apply for a full road closure it would be subject to the process of application and ideally would be for no more than 4-5 days given the wider impact on city centre traffic and subject to the approval of partners and businesses with a focus on minimising any disruption and impact.
Details of the draft festival programme, that will incorporate a Legenderry Street Food Festival and a Tall Tales of the Sea programme of animation that will include a Museum Voyages marquee, Science of Water, Tall ships and navy visits, Clipper Race tours and excursion, on-water displays, Maritime and Merchant Markets and an Underwater garden, were also outlined to members.
Members heard how the Saint Colmcille themed Showcase finale event for this year’s festival promises to be another large-scale landscape piece of theatre that encompasses land, water and air, a parade of light on the water with ships and boats and featuring a pyrotechnic show.
Aeidin McCarter advised members that officers are continuing to work closely with all agencies, including the Loughs Agency, with regards to their plans for inclusion to further enhance the festival programme content.
She said ongoing work was continuing with Clipper Ventures, Invest NI and Tourism Ireland (USA) regarding Council activation at two international stopovers in Seattle and New York and work is also progressing on finalising arrangements for additional support services including the festival bar, the continental market and showcase event.
Updated information relating to the Maritime Market and street trading arrangements during the festival were also outlined to members while detailed information relating to budget and funding support, as well as information relating to the planned marketing activity and sponsorship, were provided at the meeting.
Members were also told how a further business engagement event to inform businesses and stakeholders on the festival programme to date and how they can maximise the opportunities, is scheduled to take place on Tuesday 10 March.