Festivals are an important way for the Arts Council to support the arts nationwide in different art forms. This year dance kicked off in January with Made in Dublin the inaugural event marking Dance Ireland’s 21st. In May we had a successful Dublin Dance Festival. Over the summer festivals across Ireland will make a vibrant patchwork that bring places and people alive, leave a legacy and make a difference.
From small towns to main cities, audiences Irish and international will experience the best of our arts festivals from Cork Midsummer to Boyle Arts Festival, from Kilkenny Arts Festival to Galway Arts Festival, from Earagail in Donegal to Éigse in Carlow. Festivals contribute economically, culturally and they strengthen community. The arts can be proud of the contribution it makes to Ireland’s reputation aboard and its economy at home. We can be prouder still of the ways by which connections are made and art forms are strengthened because of the passion that festivals bring. For a short time life seems more intense and more worthwhile.
Highlights of the multidisciplinary arts festival circuit last year included at the Kilkenny Arts Festival the first ever visit to Ireland by the Globe Theatre which riveted audiences and at the Galway Arts Festival, the Druid Murphy cycle. Cork Midsummer Festival presented an exciting theatre and opera programme providing opportunities for local companies to present new work. This was particularly apparent in opera production, Pagliacci, the theatre production Cuidades Parralles and the participative performance, Hungry Tea. Earagail and the Junction Festival in Tipperary continued to co-present ambitious work mainly in the realm of music. This is not to mention Clifden, Ennis, Askeaton and Wexford where from the local to the international festivals pop-up, break-out, improvise and allow art break-in on life.
There is a lot to recommend craic and commerce and both are good reasons for festivals. Culture including the funded arts intertwines with both. The Arts Council supports festivals because we know that if there is a good economic case for festivals, the ultimate reason transcends the economic and is much more important.
On the practical business of commerce the Arts Council is delighted to announce the extension of its fundraising capacity-building initiative, RAISE, The Business of Arts Fundraising. Expressions of interest will be accepted from 7 June to 28 June from organisations with the ambition and potential to raise €100,000 per annum of additional private investment. This extension of RAISE will be open to any arts organisation, whether or not it is funded by the Arts Council.