The flagging city centre is to be brought to life in a riot of fun-filled, family entertainment throughout the summer months – and the best news is, it’s all FREE!

Working in conjunction with Waterford Spraoi, Waterford City Council is to present a programme of live music, street theatre, puppetry and spectacle every Friday evening and Saturday afternoon in the vicinity of John Roberts Square and Wyse Park, running from mid June to late August. The move, according to Director of Services Paddy Power, is intended to enliven and regenerate the city centre, increasing the footfall of locals and visitors alike every weekend.

A diverse and colourful range of local, national and international acts will be performing in the city throughout the summer, with different performances likely to take place at 5pm and 7pm on Fridays and entertainment commencing at 2pm every Saturday. The City Council’s Artbyte series will be incorporated into the programme, moving to Wyse Park every weekend, the new Blackfriars Market is being examined as a possible location and a series of children’s activities are being planned for John’s Street.

The full programme of events is currently being finalised, with a brochure likely to be released in the coming weeks and Bord Failte is also working with the City Council to ensure publicity is maximised amongst tourists. As an added incentive, free parking will be available in all City Council spaces every Friday after 6pm throughout the summer months, while a coffee kiosk will be erected in John Roberts Square to cater for those enjoying the performances.

Mr Power said the perception was that parking was difficult in the city centre whereas, in reality, there were about 3,000 spaces in the area, one third of which were under the control of the Council. Personnel from the local authority were currently engaged in establishing a real-time messaging service on parking availability, he noted.

Meanwhile, the Council has identified about 50 derelict sites within the city centre, about half of which require a facelift and the local authority is currently in the process of doing this. The local authority is also working with the owners of the remaining buildings to see can they be cleaned up, Mr Power told the meeting.