Celebrating 10 years


So this year is our 10th anniversary. We burst onto the Irish festival scene in May 2007 with nothing but a vision for a better Ireland, where every child had access to ‪#‎EducationEquality‬ and where musicians and song writers where cherished, celebrated and supported for the wonderful contribution they make to Irish society and culture.

Year after year for 8 years and despite the worst economic recession in Ireland’s history we brought you Ireland’s biggest free music festival in a picnic style. The first people to ever put a music stage into Merrion Square Park. For a while people thought we could control the sunshine. We attracted over 250,000 visitors and generated in the region of €8 million in economic activity based on Failte Ireland per diem spend figures. Despite being a free to attend music festival your generous donations helped us to launch the Musical Youth Foundation children’s charity which is helping over 200 kids, that otherwise wouldn’t get the chance, to access life-changing music education classes.

The almost impossible economic trading conditions didn’t stop us coming back year after year. We never had a big cash sponsor, the only Brands to show any real interest where alcohol brands which we couldn’t work with due to Dublin City Council restrictions.

In the end it was the Irish State that put us out of action by revoking our VAT registration which automatically increased our costs by 23% making it impossible to stage the festival in 2015. Although Revenue never gave us a full explanation and we believe they still owe is €4,200. we can only assume our registration was revoked due to our annual turnover falling below the minimum threshold. Of course this only happened because we had to cut our costs during the recession (which wasn’t our fault) to ensure we could ride out the recession and survive to have a chance to come back strong when things inevitably pick up.

We wrote to all the relevant local politicians and Ministers to highlight the flaws in the systems we were being forced to adhere to but of course that was a complete waste of time and money. The system is broken and is killing small business every day.

So what next? Well we can’t just leave it at that. We can’t just give up because the machinery of the State is not fit for purpose and is failing every citizen where instead it should be helping and supporting SME’s to ensure job opportunities for everyone.

Our vision for making Ireland a better place to live, work and visit is too important to fail. We had 8 amazing years celebrating with you and we dream of meeting you again in Merrion Square Park soon, somehow. This is not where the story ends!

Chris Maher
Founder & CEO
Dublin City Soul Festival

If you or your business would like to get involved please email chris@soul.ie for more info!

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*Subject to funding: The 10th annual Dublin City Soul Festival will take place from 28th to the 29th of May 2016 live from the beautiful surroundings of Merrion Square Park between 12pm and 6pm.

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Launched in May 2007 Ireland’s feel-good festival has endured funding cuts as high as 70% and 78% making it almost impossible to survive. Despite this and with thanks to our strong volunteer team we have managed to keep the festival alive for the benefit of you our fans and supporters.

In 2013 over 30,000 people visited Merrion Square Park for our unique Soul Picnic event, generating an estimated €1 million in economic activity based on Failte Ireland Per Diem Spend figures.

The Dublin City Soul Festival is a vital fundraising event for children’s charity the Musical Youth Foundation which is working to help at-risk young people access life-changing music education programmes. To support the Musical Youth Foundation please consider making a donation!


Founded in 2007, ‘Dublin City Soul Festival ~ a celebration of peace, unity & love‘ is Ireland’s feel-good festival, raising funds for the Musical Youth Foundation children’s charity.

Now in its 8th year, the Soul Festival is a shining example of what can be achieved when passionate individuals come together united under a common bond to create a vibrant, multi-cultural and positive festival celebrating what’s best about Ireland and the Irish People – our world renowned Céad míle fáilte’  (a hundred thousand welcomes)!

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How you can help…

Our children’s charity the Musical Youth Foundation is providing at-risk children in Ireland with free instruments, professional weekly music lessons and a variety of singing, song-writing and live performance workshops. The impact our work is having on young people is changing lives. Find out more by visiting our official charity website at www.musicalyouthfoundation.org.

To Donate to the Musical Youth Foundation click here!

By attending our events or purchasing items in our online store you are helping us to provide more children in Ireland with the opportunity to learn a musical instrument and its many associated life-changing benefits. Music Changes Lives!

Check out our latest video diary featuring one of our many success stories…

chrisCelebrating 10 years