Galway International Arts Festival breaks attendance records of over 400,000

2 August 2023

On Sunday night, the curtain fell on Galway International Arts Festival 2023 (GIAF), bringing to a close 14 days and nights of extraordinary arts experiences. The programme, which ranged from Druids to Dragons and Artists to Acrobats, drew record attendances of over 400,000 for the first time.

GIAF Chief Executive John Crumlish said, “On behalf of us all, I would like to thank our audiences who came in such numbers to the festival. This was our biggest festival to date, so we are very thankful to everyone who came, those that support us, the volunteers and especially the artists whose work made it all possible. We now look to next year.”

GIAF Artistic Director Paul Fahy commented: “We are thrilled with the response from our audiences for what has been our most ambitious festival yet. From The Pulse to Bedbound and David Mach to DruidO’Casey, the reaction has been extraordinary. We are hugely grateful to all our artists and production teams for delivering such amazing work this year.”

From the new 1,150 capacity Festival Theatre to the Heineken® Big Top and the Festival Galleries to the Festival Garden, GIAF transformed, designed and created many of its cultural spaces for its most ambitious Festival to date.

Over 500 people from 53 countries participated in the Festival’s Volunteer and participation programmes Selected and Visual Arts Invigilation Programmes.

The last two weeks saw crowds flock to Galway to experience for themselves this extraordinary festival which included:

The Pulse from Gravity & Other Myths, featuring a company of over 60 performers, including a choir of 30 female voices; a newly GIAF commissioned installation from David Mach; Colm Meaney performing alongside his daughter Brenda Meaney in Bedbound from Landmark Productions and GIAF, which moves to the Olympia from 8th to 12th August; an enormous Dragon wandering the streets of Galway City; epic theatre with DruidO’Casey directed by Garry Hynes; Baxter Theatre and Handspring Puppets Life & Times of Michael K from South Africa directed by Lara Foot; a stellar line up at the Heineken® Big Top; artists Diana Copperwhite and Lorraine Tuck; Grafton Architects; musicians Martha Wainwright, KT Tunstall, Susan O’Neill, Robert Forster, James Yorkston and Nena Peerson; and First Thought Talks featuring Lindsey Hilsum, Fintan O’Toole, Gaisu Yari and a host of speakers. The talks have been recorded and will be released on GIAF’s YouTube channel over the next number of months, while GIAF’s Vinyl Hours series will be made available as podcasts. These were just some of the highlights of the dazzling array of this year’s programme.

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 University of Galway. The Festival Gallery was again presented in association with The Dean, Galway.

GIAF 2024 will take place from 15-28 July 2024.