Local Musician Slams Music Festival Organisers After Accusations Of ‘Pay To Play’

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Killarney FestA MUSIC festival set to take place in Killarney this summer has cancelled one of their stages due to “negative publicity” after being accused of adopting a “pay for play” approach to attracting emerging talent.

The Killarney Festival of Music and Food received a backlash from musicians – including Tralee recording artist Ian O’Doherty  –  after putting forward an initiative called ‘The Actbacker’, whereby artists could book a spot on the emerging talent stage by selling a minimum of 50 ‘day tickets’ to the weekend festival.

The plan was to split the revenue from  ticket sales – 70% to the festival, 30% to musicians.  The more tickets an artist sold the higher up the bill the would be.

Critics have accused the organisers of taking advantage of musicians by making them sell tickets and promote the festival for them.

In total, 18 acts were scheduled to play the emerging talent stage. If each act sold at least 50 tickets, it would have brought 900 people. At  €76 a ticket the minimum raised from ticket sales would have been $68,400, with it being split 70/30% in favour of the festival.

Speaking to TraleeToday.ie just prior to the organisers cancelling the stage, local recording artist, Ian O’Doherty, was one of those disappointed with The Killarney Festival of Music & Food initiative.

“I’ve seen examples of this kind of stuff before, but I’ve never seen anything quite as cheeky,” said Ian O’Doherty.

“Unfortunately there will always be someone who will play ball, but I wouldn’t think any less of anyone if they did. Though it wouldn’t be something I or many other artists I know would consider,” said Ian.

“I understand they’re in the business of making money, but from a PR point of view it is a very bad move. It’s going to hurt them because they are getting bad publicity at the moment,” said Ian.

“They obviously thought this was the best business decision to make, maybe they thought foolishly it was the fairest decision for the artists,” he said.

In cancelling the Emerging Talent stage, Killarney Festival of Music & Food made a statement saying “bands and musicians who play would be paid a good fee (more than they would receive at any other festival).”

“Bands were being asked to do a little bit of work to earn their slot and if they were performing at their own gig they would have to do the same.  All the bands had to do was reach out to their fanbase and seek their support and their fans would get a full day ticket for the festival in return.  Bands were not been asked to ‘pay to play’,” the festival organisers said.

To see the full statement from The Killarney Festival of Music & Food see their Facebook page here

Here is a selection of some criticism The Killarney Festival of Music & Food has faced on Twitter which forced them to pull the emerging talent stage.

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