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Department Denies Music Festival Claim 17 December 2007

The Department of Tourism & Leisure strongly refutes any suggestion it is planning to hold its own Music Festival in the Villa Marina Gardens as claimed by Mr Irving.

The Minister for Tourism & Leisure, Hon Adrian Earnshaw MHK, is disappointed at the remarks made by the organisers of the Peel Bay Festival and in particular the suggestion that he should resign his position.

Mr Earnshaw said:

‘In my first year as Minister of this Department leisure visitors in the core summer period increased by +7.5%. We also ran the most successful event seen on the Isle of Man, the TT Centenary, developed award winning advertising campaigns and raised awareness of the Isle of Man to its highest level since research began in 1999. The total number of leisure visitors for the year up to the end of September is up by 14.2% - not bad for a first year in the job!

I would also reiterate that there was no mention in last week’s Manx Independent of any Department of Government planning to hold its own Music Festival in the Villa Gardens. However, as clearly stated, DTL are actively pursuing headline acts for the Royal Hall such as the fantastic sell out show by Squeeze just last week, thoroughly enjoyed by all.

Regarding the Villa Marina Gardens, I would again make it quite clear that the final piece of the jigsaw in redeveloping the Villa Marina / Gaiety / Arcade entertainment and arts areas was the provision of an outdoor stage infrastructure to enable large concerts to take place in the gardens. This work, including the stage, has been underway since November 2006 and will be completed by July 2008. This will allow the promotion of major events and concerts for up to 5,500 people. This has been an objective of the Department ever since the work began on the redevelopment of the Villa Marina.

My Department is committed to bringing to the Island headline acts across a wide spectrum of music, art and entertainment and will continue to pursue that policy as we have done already with the 36 headline acts we have successfully promoted since June 2005, whilst at the same time ensuring customer focused value for residents.’

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