I’m really disappointed to read that the Macnas Parade won’t be happening this year during the Arts Festival. I had my suspicions that something like this was coming but it’s still a blow when it comes. It’s clear that between the Arts Council and the Galway City Council that the value that the parade lends to the city during the summer is meaningless. The Arts Council especially is culpable in this: in my last years in Macnas it was becoming increasingly antagonistic to Macnas and actually froze its funding. I don’t know whether this was ever remedied but an institution has been allowed to flounder and let’s be clear, this could mean the end of Macnas in the not too distant future. Consider the Macnas Parade to a white elephant like the Abbey Theatre: good millions are being thrown after bad there, while all Macnas needed was something in the region of €70,000 (my estimate) to keep the ball rolling. After years of loyal service Macnas are like the greying mutt kicked out into the back yard.
What is needed is a cash value being put on the parade: the first thing most of the audience does is turn around and find the nearest pub or restaurant. This year that nice little spike in takings one Sunday in the middle of July won’t appear. Therefore it makes good economic sense for every business that does well from the parade to put a little outlay, tax-deductable, into ensuring an event that fills their premises actually occurs. In short the arts aren’t just for looking at but can present a genuine marketing opportunity for the enterprising trader. But by the sounds of it, the eleventh hour has come and gone as regards this year’s parade.
So long the Macnas Parade. You gave me the shteart in my career. Hope to see you next year but I won’t hold my breath.