'The Permission to Experiment': Arts Council Publishes New Festivals Strategy

'The Permission to Experiment': Arts Council Publishes New Festivals Strategy

New plans include increased funding for small festivals and an artistic residencies scheme.

The Arts Council has published a new festival strategy and policy that includes various new initiatives to be rolled out over the next three years.

Among them are: a new scheme for festivals across the country to host artistic residencies; incentives for festivals to provide more opportunities for local artists; and increased funding for small festivals.

The strategy emphasises the experimental role of festivals and their ability to engage wider audiences.

Festivals play a dynamic and strategic role in the overall arts ecology … Inherent in the festival form is the permission to experiment – a permission to cross thresholds that might be closed or forbidding throughout the rest of the year… [F]estivals … afford artists a space to innovate and invite audiences to experience work in different ways.

The Council also plans to commission a ‘toolkit’ for festivals to provide ‘best-practice approaches, guidance and practical supports.’

Funding for festivals
The Council supports music and arts festivals through three main funding schemes: Strategic Funding, Arts Grant Funding and the Festival Investment Scheme.

Strategic Funding recipients in 2018 include Wexford Festival Opera (€1.45m), Scoil Samhraidh Willie Clancy (€95k), Scoil Gheimhridh Ghaoth Dobhair (€41k), Pipeworks (€33k), Cork International Choral Festival (€32k), Bray Jazz Festival (€31k) and Westport Festival of Chamber Music (€17k), as well as multi-disciplinary festivals such as Galway International Arts Festival (€537k) and Kilkenny Arts Festival (€400k).

Arts Grant Funding supports music festivals such as Baltimore Fiddle Fair (€25k) and Dublin Sound Lab, which runs the Music Current festival (€25k)

Under the Festival Investment Scheme, 155 small festivals received funding of €1.4m this year, an average of €9k each.

In July, the Arts Council published its new traditional arts policy.

Download the festivals strategy below. For more, visit www.artscouncil.ie

Published on 6 November 2018

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