MUSICIANS and bands from across Britain and Ireland made a special trip to Birmingham over the weekend to support a fundraising event for the city’s annual St Patrick’s Festival.
Dozens of Irish artists took part in the gig – all playing for free – at the Birmingham Irish Centre on Friday, which hoped to raise £10,000 for the campaign to secure the Birmingham St Patrick’s Day Parade.
Over 750 tickets were sold with a full house on the night.
In December Birmingham City Council announced plans to axe its annual £20,000 grant supporting the city’s St Patrick’s Parade and Festival.
The cut will take effect in April, leaving the 2016 event hanging in the balance.
But upon receiving the news the Festival Committee launched into action, organising a fundraising campaign to find the missing money and secure the future of the event.
Anne Tighe, Chair of The Birmingham St Patrick’s Festival Committee, explained: “We are thrilled to have been able to offer a celebration of Irish heritage and culture each year with the Birmingham St Patrick’s Day Parade and we hope to continue to do so. The parade means so much to so many which is why we recalling on our supporters to help in any way they can to keep the parade alive.”
Prior to the ticketed event held at the Birmingham Irish Centre over the weekend, which was sold out well before the gig took place, a crowdfunding campaign was launched in January to kick-start fundraising for the 2016 Festival.
To date that campaign has reached more than £700 and is still open for donations.
“The crowdfunding has raised about £700 at this stage,” Ms Tighe confirmed, “which is great. Basically we are at a place where every penny counts.
“The 2015 event is secure but we have to be looking ahead at 2016 now and hope to secure the full funding for that by the end of this year,” she added.
“We always have a bucket collection on parade day and we are really trying to push people to support that this year. We had up to 100,000 people at the parade last year and only received £1,200 in the bucket collection on the day. But if everyone donated a £1 we would have no worries at all about securing next year’s event. Its little things but it all adds up.”
To support the St Patrick’s Festival fundraising campaign visit www.savestpats.co.uk
Tickets are also available to attend the St Patrick’s Parade and Festival 2015 Launch Party, which takes place at the Burlington Hotel on Friday, March 6.
For tickets, or further information about the 2015 St Patrick’s Parade, which takes place on Sunday, March 15, visit www.stparticksbirmingham.com