Belvedere House. Photo by John Root.

Life festival not going ahead at Belvedere this year

Life music festival is not taking place at Belvedere House and Gardens this summer.

Replying to a query from the Westmeath Examiner about whether the festival was going ahead at the venue just outside Mullingar this year, Westmeath County Council said that it has “been advised by the Event Organisers that Life Festival will not proceed at Belvedere House, Gardens & Park in 2024”.

At the time of writing it was unknown whether the event is taking place at an alternative venue or is being shelved for a year like the Body&Soul festival, whose organisers announced recently that they were “hitting pause” in order to “think and dream bigger”.

One of the biggest dance festivals in the country and based in Belvedere since 2010, Life has been headlined by some of the biggest names in the electronic music world, including Fatboy Slim and Carl Cox.

However, the annual staging of the event at one of Westmeath's most popular amenities has not gone done well with everyone.

Over the years, residents living in the Tudenham area have complained about noise pollution, while numerous elected representatives have questioned whether Belvedere is a suitable location for an event where there were numerous arrests for drugs possession and dealing each year.

The number of donations to the poor box at Mullingar District Court could fall significantly this year with neither Life nor Body&Soul going ahead.

Over the past decade, a significant amount of the court poor box's donations came from payments by festival goers who have been prosecuted for possession of small amounts of illicit drugs such as cannabis or ecstasy.

Most of the defendants were young people, many of them students, who may have had ambitions to travel abroad and a drugs conviction could have prevented them from obtaining travel visas to such places as the USA or Australia.