Cauvery Madhavan and Margaret Scott, Kildare Readers Festival, Kildare, 2020. Photo: Ger Holland
The Arts Council acknowledges the rich variety of artform practice areas presented by festivals and their critical role in broadening public access to the arts. Festivals are often central to communities exploring and expressing their local identity,providing
access to the arts and creating opportunities for artists to develop their practice.
The strategic context for the Arts Council’s support of festivals and events and all other artforms and areas of arts practice is set out in Making Great Art Work: Arts Council
Strategy (2016–2025) (PDF, 3.29 MB). It describes how we will lead the development of the arts in Ireland over the next decade. Our strategy has five priority areas: the artist; public engagement; investment strategy; spatial and demographic planning;
and developing capacity. Current Festivals Policy is aligned to the key objectives and desired outcomes of Making Great Art Work and can be viewed here Festivals Policy and Strategy 2020-2025.
Provides a suite of financial supports to different festival models
The Arts Council’s role is to advocate for a diverse and varied arts festival ecology and to provide a chain of funding supports that encourage: models of national and international significance and best practice, models that increase opportunities for
public engagement or develop the work of an artist/artform, support for small festivals to deliver quality arts experiences for audiences and festival programmes engaged with, and relevant to the local community.
Often festivals are the highlights on cultural calendars in communities large and small across Ireland. The Arts Council provides financial support to a number of single artform festivals (e.g. theatre, dance, film) and such festivals are supported within
the policy context of those artforms. We also support many multidisciplinary arts festivals, meaning those festivals that programme across different artforms, including literature, music, street arts, theatre, visual arts and different areas of arts
The Arts Council provides financial support to arts festivals that:
play a critical role in, or are central to, the national arts infrastructure
develop the work of the artist or the development of artform practice
deliver quality arts experiences and prioritise programmes engaged with, and relevant to, local communities or communities of interest
play an important role in the furtherance and transmission of an artform or arts practice
demonstrate effective local, national or international arts partnerships
provide opportunities for the public to engage in quality arts experiences.
Festivals which foster the development of street and spectacle arts in Ireland are prioritised by the Arts Council and recognised as essential environments to test and present these works for the public.
In 2020 the Arts Council:
provided €1.43 million funding support to 143 small festivals across Ireland
introduced a commissioning fund to support artists to create work in a festival context
supported Local Authorities with funding to enable festivals to take place in their local areas
provided €1.04 million COVID-19 response funding for festivals to aid their professional development, capacity building, strategic planning and deliver digital festival programmes for audiences
provided Strategic Funding annual support to 6 multi-disciplinary festivals and funding for 12 single artform festivals across Ireland. The total strategic funding investment to the arts festival ecology in 2020 was €5.94 million
invested €812,760 in festival programmes and festival development initiatives through Arts Grant funding to 3 multi-disciplinary festivals and 7 single artform festivals.