First Highlights Announced for Galway International Arts Festival 2020

10 December 2019

Galway International Arts Festival is planning an extraordinary year for its 43rd Festival next July and looks forward to building on GIAF 2019’s record-breaking attendance, drawing crowds from across the globe.

GIAF 2020 | 13-26 July 2020

GIAF 2020 will run from 13-26 July, 2020. The full programme will be announced in May but festival audiences can look forward to a major new visual art commission, 'Mirror Pavilion' by John Gerrard, and an exciting line up of live music performances.


John Gerrard’s ‘Mirror Pavilion’
as part of GIAF 2020 and Galway 2020 European Capital of Culture

Galway International Arts Festival has commissioned Irish artist John Gerrard to create two extraordinary artworks responding to the escalating climate crisis.

Gerrard’s works – Straw Work and Leaf Work - will be located outdoors in Galway City and Connemara on major LED walls set within a large stunning Mirror Pavilion which will reflect the environment around it. These works are simulations; virtual worlds deceptively looking like film or video within which performances featuring a number of leaf- and straw-covered mythical figures are generated by an artificial intelligence to create a never-ending, constantly evolving performance.

Straw Work will be installed at the Claddagh Quay in Galway city from April and will be in place up to and during Galway International Arts Festival in July. Leaf Work will be installed on the 4,000-year-old Derrigimlagh Bog in Connemara from September to October.

John Gerrard is best known for his large scale and site-specific works, which have been installed in urban spaces such the Lincoln Center Plaza
in New York, Los Angeles County Museum of Art and alongside isolated locations including Palm Desert, California and a Norwegian forest.


World-Class Acts Announced for the Heineken® Big Top

A firm Festival favourite every July, the Heineken Big® Top will host some of the biggest-ever music acts next summer as part of GIAF2020. Acts already announced for GIAF’s iconic music venue include the Pixies, The Flaming Lips, Sinéad O’Connor, Jon Hopkins, The Academic and The Stunning.

Tickets to the Heineken Big Top are on sale on

More music acts will be announced in 2020.


The full theatre programme will be announced in 2020 and will include the eagerly anticipated musical theatre adaptation of Breakfast on Pluto; a co-production between Landmark Productions and Galway International Arts Festival. Based on Patrick McCabe’s Booker-nominated novel, it is written by Bob Kelly, with music composed by Duke Special, and the production is directed and co-created by Des Kennedy. A late-night work-in-progress at GIAF last July blew the roof off the Black Box Theatre. Full details about Breakfast on Pluto will be announced in February 2020.

Galway International Arts Festival would like to acknowledge the support of its principal funding agencies the Arts Council and Fáilte Ireland, its Drinks Partner Heineken® and Education Partner NUI Galway.

For full programme details, Festival updates and previews, visit