AT the end of what is widely believed to have been the best Féile yet, we’re proud today to provide you with page after page of pictures, reports and reviews of some of the hundreds of events which made those 10 days in August a time that will linger long in the memory. More will follow next week, both in print and online, but were we to keep going until the end of the year we wouldn’t come close to doing justice to the sheer depth and breadth of talent, energy and diversity that Féile treated us to in 2022.
With clanging inevitability, media outlets who again ignored the vast panoply of  Féile activities waited  for kids to sing along with the Wolfe Tones on the last night so they could revive their stories and columns from last year. But such people are talking to themselves.
They never had the ear of this community to begin with and – just as we have in the 34 years since this magnificent project was first dreamed of – we will continue on the journey of change and improvement while they snipe from the sidelines.

But we would ask those of good faith who are genuinely concerned when they hear IRA chants in the Falls Park to stop for a minute and look beyond the self-righteous clickbait headlines and try to see the big picture. This community is utterly transformed, Féile’s original job is done – the August bonfires are gone and the unrest has been stilled – and it has now moved beyond that original mission to lay claim to the crown of Europe’s leading community festival. That success is never acknowledged by journalists and columnists who know little about West Belfast and care less, but it is a precious thing to us and attempts to undermine Féile by those who have made media careers out of wrecking and not building will be faced down at all costs.
The single song in the Wolfe Tones set that so thrills the sensationalists is a grain of sand on the summer beach that Féile has created in West Belfast. We acknowledge, however, that many people who look favourably on the work that Féile do are made uncomfortable by it.

We say to them that the perfect is the enemy of the good. Dismissing the entirety of a world-class festival and the transformation it has wrought because of one point of contention is so ridiculous as to beggar belief. Is there a case for dropping that song from the Wolfe Tones set? Yes there is, and although that would take Féile towards the choppy waters of vetting performers, it is a discussion that could and should be had.
But be in no doubt – if the Wolfe Tones did two hours of Carpenters covers next year, the Monday morning media would find something else to latch on to. Ignoring an event on your own doorstep of the scale and success of Féile takes some doing – particularly at the quietest time in the media calendar – but it’s a feat that many journalists and columnists annually pull off. Why is that? Well, we may no longer be routinely described as a “terrorist community” and “savages”, but that mindset persists in certain quarters. even if the point of attack has been switched.
Let them attack again.
Because we will again.