The Galway International Arts Festival came to an end at the weekend and has been hailed as a roaring success.

The number of people attending ticketed events rose by over 20 per cent from 210,000 in 2017 to a staggering 252,611 over the past two weeks.

In addition to this, the Festival Garden at Eyre Square in the heart of the city drew an audience of 145,000.

With the City gearing up to be the European City of Culture in 2020 it was important to put on as impressive a show as possible and it has hit the mark at every level.


With sponsors on board from Ulster Bank to Heineken and many more the commercial side of the event lived up to expectation just as well as the arts side, an important consideration for all Festivals and one which Entertainment for Business is intent on improving over the coming years.

Partnership has been at the heart of Galway’s success and yesterday they announced a multi-year agreement with NUI Galway which will see the two working together across a number of initiatives designed to provide inspiring cultural and creative opportunities for students.

The University has been the Education Partner for the Galway International Arts Festival since 2011.

Galway International Arts Festival will work with the University on the development of a number of education initiatives that complement the existing suite of culture-related courses provided by the University.

In addition, the University’s Alive programme will work with the festival to further develop the festival’s expanding volunteer programme as a best practice experience.

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A formal arrangement will be put in place with the library to archive Galway International Arts Festival’s activities and Galway International Arts Festival will work with the University on the promotion of its new BA in Music programme.

The new partnership will also see greater ties between Galway International Arts Festival’s First Thought Talks programme and the University, with the campus becoming much more closely associated with this discussion platform.

A new First Thought Talks event will be developed and delivered on campus during the 2018-2019 academic year, with a view to developing it as an annual event.

As Galway International Arts Festival further positions itself as a producer and tourer of new work, NUI Galway will also form key associations with Irish work in each year’s festival programme, supporting the creation of new work created by Irish artists that will premier in Galway and tour.

“This new partnership represents an exciting new development in the relationship with NUI Galway,” said Galway International Arts Festival CEO John Crumlish.

“It is a natural fit for the festival, as it is hoped the University will produce the graduates who will have a major role developing, producing and working on new productions in the future.”

Culture Campus

“The association with such work further reinforces the University’s culture campus brand with audiences wherever the work is seen, while also further building the Galway brand internationally.”

“The Galway International Arts Festival and NUI Galway are partners with a shared focus on harnessing the creative spirit of the region,” added NUI Galway President Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh.

“This is a major cultural strength that results in work in many local sectors having an impact throughout the world.”

“This year, we’ve welcomed thousands of national and international visitors to the campus as part of the Festival, while the University has led a number of First Thought Talks and a vibrant programme of post-show discussions.”

“As Education partner, we see our cultural hinterland as central to our mission and look forward to working with the festival over the coming years to support the next generation of creative artists, producers and cultural entrepreneurs.”