Arts Council Cuts Traditional Music Festivals by 41%

Harp tuition at An Chúirt Chruitireachta, which is to receive no funding this year.

Arts Council Cuts Traditional Music Festivals by 41%

Eight festivals offered funding for 2016, compared to fifteen last year.

Following the news last October that the Arts Council had reduced its main traditional arts funding by 26%, it has now also cut funding to traditional music festivals by 41%, from €73,815 to €43,254.

The cuts were announced in the latest round of funding under the Festival and Events Scheme. While fifteen festivals were supported last year, just eight were offered funding for 2016.

Funding for several festivals was cut completely, including the harp festival An Chúirt Chruitireachta, which is now in its 31st year. This decision has shocked the harp sector given the Arts Council’s recent commissioning of a report into the harp in Ireland and its commitment to developing the sector.

Four Gaeltacht-based festivals – Éigse an Spidéil, Cruinniú na bhFlúit, Scoil Cheoil an Earraigh and Tionól Niocláis Tóibín – were also refused funding, as well as the NYAH festival in Cavan and the Skerries Traditional Music Weekend in Dublin.  

Funding for the traditional arts has fallen consistenly since 2008, despite the fact that the Arts Council has received an increase in funding for the past two years.

In the music category, funding was also cut by 9%, from €109,850 to €100,400. Lismore Music Festival, the 34th Irish Composition Summer School, Music in Kilkenny and Music for Wexford received no funding. The Westport Festival of Chamber Music and New Ross Piano Festival received increases of €2,000 and €3,000 respectively, and the new Ortús Festival, founded by Mairéad Hickey and Sinéad O’Halloran, received €9,770.

A total of €400,134 was awarded under the scheme to 43 organisations from 113 applications. The breakdown across all art forms is as follows: Music: €100,400 (9%), Multi-disciplinary: €100,000 (↓11%), Literature: €52,410 (↑45%), Traditional Arts: €43,264 (↓41%), Theatre: €29,500 (↑111%), Film: €29,000 (↑71%), Visual Arts: €26,810 (↑3%)Young People, Children and Education: €9,500 (no funding in this category for Round 1 in 2015), Dance: €9,250 (no funding in this category for Round 1 in 2015).

The panellists were Dominic Campbell, Mary Hickson, Paul Fahy and Sinead O’Reilly. 

Full details of the Traditional Arts and Music awards can be seen below. For more, visit

Festivals and Events Scheme 2016 (round 1)

Traditional Arts
Corofin Traditional Festival

Féile na Tána – Traditional Arts Festival on the Cooley Peninsula

Inishowen Traditional Singers’ Circle – 27th Inishowen International Folk Song and Ballad Seminar

Oidhreacht an Chláir – 4th Annual Concertina Cruinniú

Feile Chois Cuain

Jim Dowling Uileann Pipe And Traditional Music Festival

Carrickmacross Comhaltas – Féile Patrick Byrne 2016

John McKenna Traditional Music Festival

New Ross Piano Festival

Ortús Chamber Music Festival

Ballydehob Jazz Festival

Killaloe Chamber Music Festival

Symphony Club of Waterford – 2016 Season

Clifden Arts Society – Monthly Recitals

Galway Early Music Festival

Classicallinks: Westport Festival of Chamber Music

Bottlenote Music: String Theory – State of the Art Guitar

Irish Composers’ Collective – 2016 Concert Series

Dún Laoghaire Organ Festival – Weekly Concerts

Coole Music and Arts: Ninth Annual Coole Music Orchestra Festival

Published on 3 January 2016

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