THE end of the Marquee series in Cork is a “massive blow” and will leave a “vacuum” for Cork hoteliers.
Neil Grant, chair of the Irish Hotels Federation (IHF) Cork branch said the concentration of multiple gigs at the former Showgrounds venue was unrivalled in bringing bed nights to Cork and it had been hoped the ending of the series would have been proceeded by the opening of the long-awaited city events centre which has been mired in funding and planning delays.
Mr Grant told The Echo that he is hopeful other concert events in Cork can be expanded upon in order to make up for the loss of business.
“It’s not unexpected in the sense that we knew there was a developer in there and we knew it probably had a couple of years to run so people knew about it," he said.
“Aiken Promotions were actually honoured at our tourism dinner in recent years for the business that they bring to Cork. The staging of the event has brought a bumper effect to city hotels in recent years.
“We all talk about how positive it is and how grateful we are that Aiken Promotions set up in Cork in the first place. It’s a massive blow and the hope had been that the event centre would be up and running by the time the developers moved in but of course, that hasn’t happened. It will leave a vacuum and there will be widespread disappointment, there is no doubt about that.
“The key thing is that other events step in and fill the vacuum. Páirc Uí Chaoimh has been a slow burner but it doesn’t have the same concentration of gigs as the Marquee,” Mr Grant added.
City pub and restaurant owner Ernest Cantillon said the concert series will be missed but larger venues such as Musgrave Park and Páirc Uí Chaoimh are more beneficial in terms of city centre footfall.
“We want to see people in the city centre. Anything that brings 50,000 or 60,000 people to Cork over the course of a month will be missed. There were a lot of good lineups there over the years at the Marquee that appealed to all ages.
“There were lots of acts appealing to young people whereas previously it had been a kind of nostalgia tour. Musgrave Park has given businesses a phenomenal spin and I think it’s the way people flow from Douglas Street down to Grand Parade and then onto South Mall and Oliver Plunkett Street.
“That venue is also almost three times the size of the Marquee. Hotels will miss the Marquee sorely. Twelve nights of concerts make a huge difference to a hoteliers’ summer.
“However, bigger venues put Cork on the circuit for bands that will play in Dublin so maybe venues with higher capacities are the way forward,” Mr Cantillon added.