Festivals are a key way the Arts Council support art forms and greater access to the arts around the country. They are a central plank of arts policy and an important part of the lives of communities. Festivals are stages to exhibit excellence in places away from the mainstream. They are unique collaborations that fuse art, audience and place. They are opportunities for fun and enjoyment. Socially, economically and most importantly artistically we are beginning a summer season where big and small festivals, regardless of the Irish weather, will put Ireland on the map and bring visitors both Irish and foreign around the country.
The Arts Council are funding eight multi-disciplinary arts (MDA) festivals in 2014 through the grants programme, 130 through the Festivals and Events Scheme (FES) in addition to a cohort of single art-form festivals throughout the country. MDA festivals are often at the forefront of identifying new and different work, and presenting it to wider audiences.
Smaller festivals are very often hugely important for community life, giving people a high point of focus and enthusiasm, for the year. The Arts Council has recently announced here details of successful recipients under round two of the Festivals and Events Scheme for 2014, aimed at small locally-based events and festivals that have requested funding from the Council of up to €40,000. A total of €307,500 has been awarded to 72 festivals and events throughout the country from 199 applications received.
From Kilkenny to Galway, from Earagail to Eigse, Carlow and Clifden a great array of art and talent can be encountered. An eclectic and interesting mix of events, informed by an in depth knowledge of their local and visiting audiences, will be presented. In specialist festivals such as the Dublin Dance Festival, West Cork Music, Dublin Theatre Festival and Wexford Festival Opera throughout the year, festivals are both an exciting engagement between artists and audience as well as a strong life-force in communities. Local people as well as visitors from around the country and abroad give places in-festival a remarkable spontaneity and sense of enthusiasm.
Orlaith McBride Director