Efforts are underway to save TraFest, Tramore’s pub and street music festival, after Guinness pulled the plug as chief sponsor.

The festival, which has run for ten years through the first weekend in July, provided a significant boost to peak season tourism in the resort. It had also become an important fixture in the music calendar, mainly among young people.

Bands and solo acts played most of the drinking venues in the town and and on the streets, although last year the music moved indoors solely, to mixed reaction. Some top performers were booked over the years, The Sawdoctors being a headline act in 2005.

Diageo, for Guinness, hasn’t said why it has pulled out, although it is understood representatives have given a commitment to make a financial contribution – though considerably less than in previous years – if the festival is kept alive.

The hunt is on for alternative main sponsors – the resort’s hoteliers and publicans also make contributions towards the cost involved – and other drinks and promotion companies are being targeted.

Mr. John O’Shea, of O’Shea’s Hotel and The Slip Inn Bar, said members of the local Vintners Association had been given individual tasks in that respect at their March meeting and he hoped that the outcome would be positive when they met again next month.

Local Mayor Joe Conway said the reported threat to the festival would concern many. Towns such as Tramore needed to project themselves with festivals and events which drew visitors to enjoy the scenery, the attractions and the welcome.

“They are good for morale and generally good for business”, he said. “They give towns opportunities to serve their traditional hinterlands, as well as helping to get wider exposure on the ever more demanding tourist agenda”.

The Mayor said TraFest also gave an opportunity to many growing musical talents to perform before audiences, as well as drawing more established acts and personages to the resort. “I hope the festival continues and indeed prospers over the coming years and am only too happy to work with the organisers to help grow the event in any way I can”, he concluded.