It looks like the recession is not just hitting the economy but also the arts.

With Spraoi breaking its festival into two segments, with a special festival in the park, we wonder what the effects will be. It certainly does split the resources, the parade will now be on July 5th instead of the August weekend with a special emphasis on a family day in the park. This works very well with the Rose of Tralee festival in Kerry.

The usual street festival is planned for the August weekend. The programme here will depend very much on local sponsors to see what can be done. The worry is that sponsorship funds will be harder to come by this year.

The fireworks are still planned for the Sunday night but without a parade. While the lack of a street parade in August will be a disappointment, having another day in July is certainly no bad thing and will help get our minds off the recession.

This year, the tourism industry will be under immense pressure and Waterford will be affected by the overall national climate. Nevertheless having a large part of the normal festival in August should be good – even if there is a stage or two less, it will still be a great programme.

Hotels, pubs and guest houses are all under pressure so let us hope that they all full up for that weekend. The message around the country will need to get out that despite the Glass closure and other negatives on the economy, Waterford will still be putting on a good show in August.

More national publicity will be needed to get the numbers down here from the capital and elsewhere.