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Cautious optimism about the plans for this year's world-famous Halloween festival

Council receives an update on the preparations for the October celebrations

Cautious optimism about the plans for this year's world-famous Halloween festival

Members of Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Business and Culture Committee today received an update in relation to the draft proposals in place for hosting the city’s prestigious Halloween Festival celebrations in 2021 post COVID.

Members heard that as the city and district gradually moves out of lockdown and the gradual lifting of restrictions, teams within the council are progressing cautiously with a plan to progress with the festival in a new and revised format subject to COVID regulations and public health advice.

Aeidin McCarter, Head of Culture with the council, explained that as the city and district takes tentative steps back towards life as we knew it pre-Covid, the council continues to follow the guidance from on managing COVID-19 with the Festival and Events team continuing to closely monitor the evolving situation and working closely with Tourism Northern Ireland, Tourism Ireland, Northern Ireland Tourism Alliance and other industry bodies.

She said that the council is very mindful that there is still a risk of proceeding with an event in its pre COVID-19 format.

“Not only is it a potential risk to the general public who might attend the event, but to Council staff, contractors, artists, statutory authorities and agencies who collaborate with Council to deliver the events programme.

"For that reason there is likely to be a focus on a local and domestic audiences with international travel restrictions likely still to be in place, however there is an opportunity to promote to an international audience for future events through the delivery of quality digital content.”

She added that given this new environment, officers have been working with the public, private, voluntary and community sectors to create and plan programme content for Halloween 2021.

She said should some restrictions remain in place in October it is hoped a programme of some scale can be rolled out based on the learnings from Halloween 2020, in particular the large scale inflatable trail.  

She informed elected members that with possible restrictions still in place the primary focus in planning for this year’s event is to be the extension and expansion of the Awakening the Walls programme out from the City Walls and into the wider city centre.  

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