Event entrepreneurship – the growth of Feile an Phobai

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


From 1968-1998 Northern Ireland was a war zone with an ongoing cycle of protest and violence fuelled by sectarian division and hatred. During this period, which is often referred to as the ‘troubles’, over 3,600 people were killed and over 30,000 injured. Understandably this had an adverse impact on festivals and events as local organisers struggled to plan and run their events whilst those who owned the rights to international events were reluctant to commit to Northern Ireland. However, amidst such turmoil and carnage a new community festival was established in 1988 called Féile an Phobail (Irish language). When translated into English Féile an Phobail means ‘festival of the people’ which was an appropriate name given the impact it has had on community life in one of the most troubled parts of Northern Ireland, West Belfast.
Féile an Phobail was set up as a direct response to the ‘troubles’. Its purpose was to celebrate the positive side of the community, its creativity, its energy, its passion for the arts, and for sport. One of its main objectives was to provide entertainment at a price that the majority of those living in West Belfast could afford. Since 1988 Féile an Phobail has grown from a relatively humble parade of floats, bands and GAA sports clubs walking in their club regalia to now become the largest community arts festival on the Island of Ireland. This paper will discuss how Féile an Phobail has developed, the barriers it has overcome and the impact this event has had on the community and local economy.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationConference paper presented at the Tourism and Hospitality Research in Ireland Conference
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 15 Jun 2017


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