CORK is set to benefit from a much-needed economic boost this weekend as some 80,000 Westlife fans descend on the city.
The boyband will take to the stage of Páirc Uí Chaoimh tonight and tomorrow as part of their Wild Dreams Tours.
Lord Mayor, Fine Gael councillor, Deirdre Forde described the event as being like a “comeback” for Cork city.
“We spent two years dealing with an enforced lockdown. Now it’s time to put all that behind us and celebrate bringing business into the city centre,” she said.
“Cork is like a permanent party when the sun shines so it’s the perfect time to have a group like Westlife playing. It’s a privilege to be Lord Mayor at any time but the city is on the cusp of great things. So much is happening in terms of development that is coming down the line.
"This concert is going to raise the morale of the city to great levels. After such a difficult few years it now feels like we are giving back the streets to the people. Cork has a personality and concerts like this allow visitors to experience it in all its glory.
Sales and marketing director for Trigon Hotels, Peter Loughnane said that fans had booked hotel rooms for the concert three years ago.
“We were lucky in a lot of ways because people had originally booked their rooms about three years ago. We’ve managed to retain those guests even though it was logistically challenging. Dates had to be changed a number of times. We have always been full when there are concerts on but there has never been such a long lead in time to an event. To have that many people come to Cork and have such a positive experience is encouraging for the whole economy of Cork city.” He said that businesses are expecting a party atmosphere over the weekend.
"With this concert people will be able to gather and walk to the concert and enjoy the build-up too. It’s going to be phenomenal. Cork city Council and the Vintners association agreed on a bar extension so guests can get out and enjoy the city while still being able to enjoy a drink in the comfort of their hotel.”
Cork City & County Chairperson of Vintners Federation of Ireland, Michael O’Donovan described the significant knock-on effect predicted as a result of the concert.
“This has come as such a boost to the region. We are going to be extremely busy over the next two days with 40,000 people expected to come to the city both on Friday and Saturday. The entertainment won’t be just at the stadium.
Cork Business Association President, Kevin Herlihy said the buzz surrounding the concert is giving businesses a lift.
“It’s going to be a bumper weekend for Cork city,” Mr Herlihy. “All the hotels are full. It’s great to see these concerts coming back after Covid which was so tough on everybody. We had Ed Sheeran, Elton John and now Westlife which is the pinnacle of everything.”