Isle of Man Dartshopper Darts Festival 2024
Isle of Man Darts Festival
For those who don't know - is there anyone who doesn't know? - the Isle of Man Darts Festival is the longest running event of its kind anywhere on the planet and has, over the years, attracted dart enthusiasts and players from all over the world.
First held in 1984, in March 2024 it will be celebrating its 39th anniversary, and if you think the maths in years doesn’t quite work out, you would be correct only because, like so many sporting events, it misses out on the 40th milestone courtesy of Covid in 2021 - for that celebration we will all have to wait until 2025!
The Festival, now organised by England Darts, is traditionally held in March, normally held in the second week. Not only do hundreds of darting disciples make the annual pilgrimage, a large percentage of those return year after year, which as organisers we feel on its own is unequivocal proof, if proof was ever needed, not just of its popularity but more importantly the esteem in which dart players hold this truly iconic event.
One could argue that paying out over £35K would certainly help (something as organisers we are very proud of) and we certainly would not dispute the attraction that such a guaranteed prize fund has. However, we believe the real secret of both the Festival's success and longevity, for both players and the hundreds of supporters that accompany them, is that they return annually knowing they are going to have a great time and always leave having had one. That is what we are so proud of.
It's always nice to embrace the winners but in truth we really don't mind who wins. As long as everyone enjoys themselves (and they do), though sounding a bit corny, we feel everyone is a winner. and that is why they keep coming back year after year.
Since taking over the organising reigns as Chairman of England Darts, recognised by The World Darts Federation as the Governing Body for darts in England, I like to think we have introduced numerous original initiatives.
- significantly increasing the prize funds
- live streaming the major finals (which at times has attracted over 20,000 views)
- addition of prizes for the Manx players in the Open event (which, incidentally, has a £5,000 first prize)
- embracing the 'Darts for All' mantra that we have always subscribed to
In 2024, one can choose to play in Men’s, Ladies, and Youth Singles, Men's and Ladies Doubles, and Mixed Doubles. There are also events for disabled enthusiasts, as has been the case for the last few years. We don't think we can be any more 'inclusive' in our offerings.
With its standing and reputation in the darts calendar, we have always felt it was crucial for the events at the Festival to carry ranking points. A few years back it was always BDO ranking points, but now, since its unfortunate demise, we are delighted to do similarly with the WDF who now run the annual World Championship at the iconic Lakeside venue in Frimley Green. To endorse that commitment, in 2024 there will be 'Silver' ranking points available in both the Classic and Masters Singles events (Men and Ladies) not forgetting the Isle of Man Open with over £12,000 in prize funds.
Like any other event, it takes a lot of hard work putting on a festival of this size and even though everyone at England Darts are unpaid volunteers, the time and effort put in never ceases to amaze me.
All that said, nothing would even be possible without the help and belief shown to us by our sponsors. Not only are we privileged and lucky to work with and be superbly supported by the islands Tourism Department, it's also really satisfying when iconic brands like L-style agree to not just back us and support the Festival, but also when the biggest Darts Retailer in the World 'Dartshopper' do similarly. Without the help of these and over the years many others, there is no way I would be writing this on the eve of our 39th birthday!
All you need to do now is book your flights and hotel!
There are many options to get you there and once you are there you have numerous hotels all very close to the 'Villa Marina' venue that can cater for all budgets, so what are you waiting for?
See you all in March!
Chairman England Darts