A staple in the county’s annual traditional music and arts calendar, the NYAH festival will not take place, as planned, in February and March 2016, after failing to attain a vital necessary funding stream from the National Arts Council.
The cut was announced in the latest recent round of funding under the Festival and Events Scheme with NYAH missing out and no appeal option available to organisers.
“It seems the Arts Council feel the only culture left in Cavan is agriculture,” Nyah committee chief Martin Donohoe told The Anglo-Celt, after missing out on the bursary of €6,000.
It comes as the Arts Council has cut funding for traditional music festivals nationally by 41%, from €73,815 to €43,254, with the greatest casualties in recent times locally being the Ag Seinm traditional music summer camp; while the Virginia Pumpkin Festival and Redhills’ Carnival also failed in similar applications recently.
Just two traditional music festivals in the region, in Carrickmacross and Leitrim, did get funding.
Entering what would have been its 13th year, Mr Donohoe said: “It looks like it was an unlucky one for us. It’s difficult to take because we have received funding from the Arts Council for the past 12 years, we have brought business into towns year on year, and this is the thanks we get.”
The matter was raised at Cavan County Council’s monthly meeting on Monday on foot of a motion by Sinn Féin’s Eugene Greenan, with members calling on the Arts Council to reverse their decision, and for Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys to intervene on the matter.
Mr Donohoe is appealing for any willing sponsor to come forward in an 11th-hour bid to save the beleaguered local festival.
“We will of course engage in the 1916 commemorations...We have to accept this decision. The Arts Council obviously feels Cavan doesn’t need a traditional music festival, which is difficult to understand.”