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A spokesperson for Derry City and Strabane District Council has told Access that plans are underway to secure more large-scale events at Ebrington Square in Northern Ireland.

The announcement follows on from reports of talks being held between Sinn Féin MP for Foyle Elisha McCallion and Derry chief executive John Kelpie to look into ways to maximise the use of the Ebrington Square for outdoor events.

The Ebrington Square sits in a distinctive and central riverside location in the Waterside area of Derry-Londonderry comprising 10.5 hectares.

In 2016, environment minister Mark H Durkan, granted planning permission for the regeneration of the entire site. Since then, plans have advanced for a range of uses including museum and heritage, creative industries, education, research and development, hotel and leisure, office, residential, cafes, restaurants and associated parking.

Long-term plan

Thousands of people gathered at the square over the last weekend of August for the Point Inn Reunion on Saturday and Jika Jika’s Drumcode on Sunday.

MP McCallion told the Derry Journal she would be having discussions with the council over the long-term use of the site once it is fully developed.

MTV Crashes event at Ebrington

The crowd pictured at first of two MTV Crashes at Ebrington Square in Derry-Londonderry. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com

“We have all seen the positive effects of bringing large scale outdoor music and sporting events into our city has on the local hospitably sector, feel good factor for citizens and putting Derry on the map,” the Foyle MP said.

She added that meeting will be held with the chief executive of Derry City and Strabane District Council to discuss long-term plans for the use of the site once the development is completed.

“We need to ensure that we have a good outdoor site for future concerts there and explore all avenues to make it easy for local promoters and international promoters to use the site,” MP McCallion told the newspaper.

Speaking to Access, a spokesperson for Derry City and Strabane District Council said that a meeting is currently being set up to discuss the issues raised by Elisha McCallion MP.

Access has learned that the council has worked proactively to develop a strong reputation for the successful hosting of international festivals and events.

In 2013 Derry~Londonderry was the inaugural UK City of Culture and successfully delivered a programme of significant events, many of which were located at Ebrington, including the BBC Big Weekend and the Turner Prize.

Since then the Ebrington site continues to be utilised for hosting numerous events from large scale outdoor concerts such as MTV Crashes to smaller events such as the Waterside Half Marathon last weekend.

In a statement, the council said: “The Council is very keen to continue with that good work and to further enhance our cultural programme of events across our city and district through our Community Planning process and our new Arts and Cultural Strategy.”

The city is engaged in a bidding process for the title of European Capital of Culture 2023 in partnership with Belfast City Council, and if successful, will see the city and region develop another programme of cultural events and initiatives in the run up to and during 2023.