Sunday 17 December 2017

After shows, the crew head to Simon's Place

SIMON LAMBERT'S pub on the corner of Henrietta Street could consider itself the unofficial afterhours headquarters of Wexford Festival Opera.

For its here that crew, administrators, musicians and singers alike wind down after rehearsals – and occasionally rally around the piano for an impromptu music session.

It's a special time of the year for brothers Nicky and Simon Lambert, who run the Main Street business – and they roll out a red carpet for their multi-lingual singing patrons, at what would otherwise be a very quiet time of the year.

Vintners PRO Des Whelan notes that the arrival of the artists and crew heralds a mini-boom for the Wexford pub trade, as all local hostelries see an economic benefit from the festival.

'It's hard to put an exact value on the festival as different pubs get different benefits from it. Obviously pubs like Simon's that are near to the Opera House benefit most. But there is an overall buzz in the town, which encourages people to go out,' he said.

'People will follow the singing pubs, or go to the pubs quiz. No other town in Ireland has anything like it at that time of the year, and it really breaks up that slow period in the run up to Christmas.'

At a time when the pub trade is recording a downturn of 14 per cent over last year, Des believes the festival will be needed to keep plenty of businesses afloat.

'As a whole, the Wexford festival is extremely important to Wexford and it would be a sad, sad loss if it ever stopped,' he said.

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