Arts festival breaks a quarter of a million attendance for first time

Attendance was up by 20 per cent on GIAF 17

Laura Flynn (Lackagh) Anna Conneely (Athenry) pose beside a statue at the GIAF 18 Festival Garden in Eyre Square. Photo:- Mike Shaughnessy

Laura Flynn (Lackagh) Anna Conneely (Athenry) pose beside a statue at the GIAF 18 Festival Garden in Eyre Square. Photo:- Mike Shaughnessy

Galway International Arts Festival broke the quarter of a million attendance figure for the first time in its 41-year history, with 252,748 attendances at more than 200 events across the festival's 14 days.

Attendance was up by 20 per cent on 2017 and early estimates suggest GIAF18 will have an economic impact at least on par with 2017’s €29.5 million. The new Festival Garden, also proved very popular, with 145,000 enjoying the food, drink, atmosphere, and pop-up events. The Festival Gallery on Market Street enjoyed a constant flow of visitors to see exhibitions by David Mach, Sarah Hickson, and Jennifer Cunningham. It is estimated that c29,529 visited the gallery during the July.

More than 600 participating artists from across the world performed at c200 events across 32 venues. The festival was also assisted by 1,000 volunteers from Ireland, Korea, Canada, Australia, and from across South America. In 2017, 37 per cent of the festival’s visitors were from outside of Ireland, with 18 per cent visiting from around Ireland, and with 45 per cent from Galway. It is estimated that 2018 visitor figures will be in line with this.

“It was a privilege and a pleasure to present GIAF 2018, our most ambitious festival to date," said festival CEO, John Crumlish. "It was wonderful to see audiences attending in such numbers and, on behalf of us all at the festival, I would like to say “thank you” to them, the artists in the programme and our many supporters and funders.”

Paul Fahy, GIAF artistic director, said: “We are very grateful to all our artists and audiences for making the 2018 Festival such a memorable one. The extraordinary reaction to the various performances, exhibitions and events, the electric atmosphere around the city and the smiles on people’s faces as they embraced GIAF 2018 were all a joy to behold."

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