Moves to revive Allingham Festival

Moves to revive Allingham Festival

Moves to revive Allingham Festival

A meeting to revive the Allingham festival drew an interested gathering to the Ballyshannon Chamber offices on Thursday night last 27th january.

The meeting discussed the Allingham Festival history of the past and ideas concerning the revival of such a festival in the near future.

A positive and optimistic discussion saw extensive and diverse views expressed over the two hour meeting. One overarching feeling was that the festival could and should be revived despite the economic woes that beset the country in general and the town in particular.

It was felt that it could, by adherence to good organisation and a strong set of values feed into the economic life blood of the town.

In attendance were Sean Gibbons, Brendan O'Reilly, Barry Sweeny, Fr Gerard Daly, Tony Liston, Marie Liston, Anthony Begley, Pat Sweeny, Michael Daly, Dermot Carney, Conor Carney.

Everyone who attended contributed to the meeting each in his or her own way urging that a way ahead should be found based on principles of high quality, good organisation, involvement of the whole community and giving the festival a more national outlook. Though caution was urged in going too far too fast and the need to spread the load outside the remit of any small committee, it was felt that a longer view could be taken of the festival.

The literary fame of William Allingham his life and works should be celebrated with themed weekends over the coming years and that the writers who contribute should have some outlet for presentation of their work in print or through the medium of radio.

The old competitions format could be revived and the meeting felt that the international reputation of Helen Allingham should be exploited; her story, one of love and loss yet one of strength and success has great resonances with our own time where empowerment of women is a feature of everyday life yet still a work in progress. Her artistic legacy would be the spur around which Art exhibitions of local and national and younger artists could be celebrated. The advertising of the event would be crucial using modern technology as well as the traditional avenues pursued in the past.

In the area of the visual arts it was felt that the idea of a photographic exhibition and a cinematic competition could be explored. It was considered prudent to appeal to the wider community in planning the events so that the festival could have something for everyone in the town.

It was agreed that none of this would be possible without strong core values and the meeting took the view that this should be expressed in simple terms as a mission statement. One suggestion is as follows:

The Allingham festival celebrates the literary and artistic legacy of William and Helen Allingham by encouraging writers and artists through the generations; giving them a forum in which to present their work, while seeking to cultivate the highest literary and artistic standards.

While a date for the festival was not decided it was felt that this should be a priority. New members to help run the festival are needed and everyone at the meeting was asked to see if they could bring more people on board. With great hope for the future the next meeting was planned for Thursday February 24th. Work would be done in intervening time on attracting high profile targets who we could associate with the festival.