Northern Ireland

Plans for music festival on Derry tennis courts spark safety and alcohol concerns

St Columb's Park tennis courts in Derry
St Columb's Park tennis courts in Derry

Plans to stage a “large scale music event” on tennis courts in an alcohol-free zone have prompted concerns.

Derry City and Strabane District Council members voiced some difficulties with the proposed event at St Columb’s Park.

The council Environment and Regeneration Committee received an update report on a request to use tennis courts for a “large scale music event” next month.

The report stated that an application to hold the event at Ebrington Square had been unsuccessful, as the promoter failed the requirement to confirm acts at least six months in advance.

It is understood the event will feature 1970s, 80s and 90s tribute acts.

Sinn Féin member Emma McGinley said the council “obviously want to see events happening,” but highlighted some issues from residents, particularly tenants of St Columb’s Park House who are often young people.

“The report says concerns have been addressed by the promoter, but I don’t think St Columb’s Park House would agree on that,” she said.

“They’ve events planned for the same weekend, have very serious concerns around the vulnerabilities of the young people staying with them, and don’t think those concerns have been addressed.

“The proximity to the tennis pitches means their concerns are warranted. Given the work St Columb’s Park House do with young people, we need to make sure these concerns are addressed by the promoter.”

While the event would be hosted within the tennis courts, other parts of St Columb’s Park would be used for access.

St Columb’s Park House managing director Sharon Doherty said she wholeheartedly supported any initiative that generated activity and tourism opportunities.

“The park is promoted as an alcohol-free zone and, as such, our concerns are that this could be enabling drinking in the park, having worked to combat that for the past seven years, and whether alcohol could be removed from anyone if it is then going to be sold at the show,” she told The Belfast Telegraph.