The annual Waterford Harvest Festival returns for its 15th year. The calendar staple, celebrating great food and the people who produce it takes place throughout Waterford City from September 6th to September 8th.
This year, the festival welcomes new directors Mark Dunne and Martin Nolan of MPI Artists.
The duo have over 50 years combined festival experience and are looking forward to delivering a mouth-watering line up of events in 2024.
Waterford native Mark Dunne has been an integral part of Waterford Harvest Festival since it began in 2010, and brings extensive production experience having been involved in events such as Winterval, PUCA Festival, Fleadh Cheoil, The Tattoo Convention and more.
Martin Nolan is Co-Festival Director for Fáilte Ireland’s flagship Halloween Festival, Púca, which takes place in Co. Meath and attracted 40,000 visitors in 2023.  His company, MPI Artist, represents many of Ireland’s top entertainers including The High Kings, Paul Brady, Mary Black, Jack Lukeman, Sharon Shannon, King Kong Company, Hermitage Green and many more.
This year the festival will spotlight the best of local and Irish producers and the region’s food heritage, with the emphasis very much on taste and entertainment with an added dash of sustainability.
The festival is supported by Waterford City and County Council, which specified that the festival deliver a green, environmentally sustainable event, while minimising food waste and carbon emissions.
Mark Dunne is looking forward to the delivering a tasty programme in September, saying, “I’ve been involved with almost every festival in Waterford for over 20 years and Harvest is undoubtedly my favourite.  The appeal of the festival is that it has something for everyone!
“Whether it’s those who appreciate good produce and its provenance, those who enjoy grazing their way through the city or those who want to enjoy great entertainment in a fun, family-friendly setting, Waterford Harvest Festival has an a-la-carte menu to suit everyone’s palates and pockets.”
Martin added, “We’ll be revealing the full Harvest programme in the coming weeks, but some of the additions that we are particularly looking forward are cooking demos with the Happy Pear, who will, no doubt, bring their high-octane entertainment to preparing the tastiest plant-based dishes.  
“We’re also excited about hosting a home-coming exclusive fine dining experience in City Hall with Keith Boyle.  Keith was not only was crowned best chef in Leinster and Munster at the Irish Restaurant Awards, but he would also be well known in Waterford as the proprietor of The Bay Tree and now as Consultant Chef with Kilkenny Civic Trust.”
Musical entertainment includes a set by the Hothouse Flowers in Christchurch Cathedral, along with free live music peppered throughout John Roberts Square, Arundel Square, Gladstone Street and O’Connell Street, while storyteller Eddie Lenihan will bring tales of mystery, magic and myth to life in the city.
With a mix of free and ticketed events, tickets go on sale for Hothouse Flowers and the Home Coming with Chef Keith Boyle on and at 10am on Friday, July 12th.
Submissions from food and drinks producers for the Harvest Festival Market will open on the Waterford Harvest Festival website at 5pm on Tuesday, July 9th.