Why Festivals are So Important to the Art Scenes of the World

Every country has a different art and culture scene, and a key element to present and help to produce art in each respective country are festivals. Because festivals provide a platform to engage with large and diverse audiences. Ireland has a long tradition with festivals, and its Art Council acknowledges the key role that festivals play in bringing art to the masses. And festivals are also critical in providing access to the arts in local communities and a chance for the artists to meet the public, and vice versa.

Making Great Art Work

Making Great Art Work, is a strategy used by the Art Council of Ireland to support events and festivals and every other avenue of art practices. The strategy is a ten year road map of how the arts scene in Ireland will develop, and at its very heart are the promotion of festivals.

There are five priority areas to this important strategy, which include:

  • The artist
  • Public engagement (the festival)
  • Investment
  • Demographic planning
  • The development of capacity

The Irish current festival policy is aligned closely to these five key objectives and is seen to be crucial to the whole overall arts policy.

The Different Festival Models

The Arts Council of Ireland has decided that the best way of promoting arts via festivals is by having a diverse and varied festival program. And that would include national and international festivals, encompassing art from every walk of life.It was also seen that it was just as critical to provide smaller festivals to local communities to develop regional art and to encourage up and coming artists.

It is often that The Festival is the most important date on the cultural calendar both in small and large communities. Recognizing this the Arts Council of Ireland have made provision for the financial support to a number of single-form art festivals all over the country.

It feels by dividing the art into bite-size chunks that it will have more impact, and therefore various music, film, dance, and craft festivals are being planned all over the country.This does not mean that the Arts Council ignores multi-disciplinary festivals which include a mixture of literature, music, street arts, visual arts, performing arts etc. But these forms of festivals would be there as support to single-form policy.

The 2017 Legacy

It is easy to see where the Arts Council of Ireland spent their time and their money in 2017 by looking at the festivals and events that they helped sponsor.

  • The Arts Council provided support for over one hundred and fifty small festivals around the country.
  • In 2017, it introduced the FIS (Festival Investment Scheme), which is closely aligned to the overall Great Art Work Strategy and had an increased budget.
  • The Arts Council also assisted twenty-two local authorities with finance to hold their own festivals.
  • Strategic funding ensured that eight multi-discipline and eighteen single-form festivals took place all over Ireland.

To many respects, Ireland is showing the world the way in the importance of festivals in supporting the growth of art. And surely that cannot be a bad thing.