EARAGAIL Arts Festival is looking forward to welcoming artists and audiences from across the globe back to Donegal throughout July.
The dates of the 33rd festival have been confirmed, 4th to 25th July, as organisers continue to finalise a programme that will connect artists, audiences and the community in Donegal to the rest of the world.
Paul Brown, CEO & Artistic Director, Earagail Arts Festival said there is lots of good news in-store for the arts community in 2021.
“We’ve just come through a difficult year and we’re now trying to put in place a number of different scenarios and plans, taking into consideration the current guidelines, for the 2021 Earagail Arts Festival. We’re optimistic for live performances in July but a lot depends on how the vaccination programme works between now and then,” he said.
“What the past nine months have demonstrated quite clearly is that there is still an appetite out there for people who want to attend concerts. We are social beings and we like getting together to celebrate something – to witness live music, a live theatre performance or some other visual art spectacle. These things are important to people,” Mr Brown added.
Last year, Donegal’s premier summer festival was brought to audiences via digital events although The Tilt of The Sky Tour by Little John Nee did manage to play to live audiences.
Artists such as Luxe and Tumblecircus continue to work on major new outdoor spectacle and circus pieces for presentation in 2021. There will be a new collaborative commission by In Their Thousands and a new ‘remote working’ international music collaboration – Earagail to Everest – by Donegal musicians Fionn Robinson and Peadar Coll (of Aul Boy), Keith Mannion (Slow Place Like Home) and the Katmandu-based Nepalese trio Kanta Dab Dab.
“Artists cleverly managed to adapt their work to present an online programme of events last year while LUXE, for example, are developing a major work which they’ll be able to present in a social distancing context in the future as well as performing a much bigger live show,” he said.
“While the Earagail Arts Festival always encourages artists to do something different the two-dimensional online experience doesn’t really fully replace that physical, live performance,” he added.
Last year proved to be an incredibly difficult year for so many people including those working in the arts and entertainment sectors, but with the support of the festival funders EAF has been able to continue to support the work of artists across Donegal, Ireland and further afield.
“It’s allowed many of them to keep doing what they do best – creating work that engages with people and stimulates them. If we didn’t have these artists during lockdown I think we would all have been much worse off. Without artists we wouldn’t have books, film or television and I think that people recognise that,” Mr Brown said.
Three Earagail Arts Festival projects, commissioned by the Department of Foreign Affairs to, will represent Ireland at the World Expo, Dubai, now rescheduled to 2021.
They are LUXE, Donegal’s internationally renowned street theatre company; Citadels of the Sun, a collaboration uniting Irish and Indian culture through music and ‘Borders’ the award-winning project by Elma Orkestra and Ryan Vail.
“These major projects reflects well on the people and culture of Donegal and the artists are keen to get back to work on their projects which will promote the county on the international stage,” he said.
“We hope that this year will be different. That we’ll get back to some semblance of normality,” he added.
Updates and diary videos on the progress of these ongoing artistic projects will be released in the coming weeks and months.
“We would like to thank everybody who have been hugely supportive of the artists and the festival. It’s been a tough year in so many years and we hope to see you all again, in real life, in 2021,” Mr Brown said.
“The possibility of putting on more hybrid events, which are broadcast online and physically at the same time, bodes well for the future. It is great for artists as it opens them up to much bigger, world-wide audiences. There’s brighter days ahead,” he added.
This year, EAF are creating a new opportunity for those interested in pursuing a career in arts management, programming or event production via a mentored programme of learning for emerging young curators.
The New Curators project will be open to 16 to 25 year-olds and is open to anyone who has an interest in music, theatre, dance, literature, or the arts in general.
“As one of the New Curators you will receive mentorship from an experienced international curator and will have an input into the festival programming in years to come. You’ll get a bit of experience and also get a look at the inner workings of how such events are produced,” he said.
Meanwhile, Earagail Arts Festival, in association with Paradigm, have secured a new date for John Grant’s show at An Grianán Theatre. The renowned performer will be taking to the Letterkenny stage on Opening Night, Sunday, 4th July, 2021.