9 September 2011 No Comments by The Northern Standard

ENDING ON A HIGH NOTE! – Michael ‘Iron Man’ Burks from Milwaukee is pictured here in full stride at the Marquee on Sunday night, where he brought the strongly attended and supported 2011 Harvest Time Blues festival in Monaghan to a high-decibel close, writes Michael McDonnell.
The festival organisers were also on a high note when summing up on how well the whole weekend went again this year, notwithstanding gloomy weather and the ongoing economic turmoil.
Co Council Arts Officer Somhairle Mac Congail said the crowds at the Marquee remained much the same as last year, while the numbers attending the pubs and contributing venues were up 20%. It had also been noted that there were more festival goers from outside areas than ever before, and that hits on the website were up 15% in July and 9% in August when compared with last year.
He was confident that the main funders, including Monaghan Co Council and the Arts Council, would continue to support the event given the income it was generating locally and the fact that it was “ticking all the boxes” in terms of entertainment quality, tourism promotion and raising the general profile of the area.
Organising committee member and local councillor Sean Conlon said the festival was bringing large numbers into the county town year on year, thereby providing a significant annual boost to the economy. It had become firmly established as an annual event for people from far and near with an interest in the blues — and he, too, was confident that the event’s proven track record would guarantee continued support for it into the forseeable future. (Blues festival picture special on page 18) Photo ©Rory Geary/The Northern Standard

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