A LUTON Irishman plans to use Celtic culture to rid his town of its reputation as one of Britain’s most unpleasant places.
The first Luton Fleadh will serve as “a fusion of what is great about Luton” when it takes place later this month, according to organiser Declan Duggan.
The £30,000 festival will see popular Irish musician Sharon Shannon headline the entertainment alongside several local Irish bands.
But as well as bringing together Irish people from across Luton, Mr Duggan said he hopes the event will undo some of the damage done to the town’s reputation since it was dubbed “Crap Town of the Year” in a 2004 poll and voted the second ugliest town in Britain last year.
“That does not reflect the people who live in Luton or those who look after the entertainment side of Luton,” the Dubliner explained.
“It is all about perception and improving the image and showing people outside Luton what it is really like here.”
He added that the open-air concert would promote Luton as “the great town that accepted all of us immigrants, whether it is the Asian, the Irish or the West Indian”.
With more than 550 tickets sold so far, organisers are hoping crowds of more than 2,000 will take to Lewsey Park for the town’s first fleadh.
Luton singer Paul Young will join Ms Shannon as a headliner on the main stage along with his band Los Pacaminos.
A number of other acts will also perform, including Irish dancers and Irish-influenced bands The Craicheads, Evil Puppies, Exit Black and The Good, The Bad and The Ginger.
Meanwhile, organisers have promised art classes for children and an array of food and drink options.
The volunteer-run festival, which is funded by the London Luton Airport Fund and a number of anonymous individual donors, has partnered with local charity Keech Hospice Care.
The Luton Fleadh will run from 11.30am to 10pm on Sunday, August 24, with music from 2pm. Tickets are £12.50 for adults, £10 for concessions and under-16s go free. For more information or to buy tickets call 01582 878 100.