The summer Galway International Arts Festival has been cancelled due to ongoing restrictions for the Covid-19 crisis, but the festival organisers hope to put on a special programme this Autumn.
The 2020 Galway International Arts Festival was due to run from July 13 – 26 this summer, with well over a quarter of a million people expected to come to Galway over the two weeks.
Doubt has hung over the future of this year’s festival since last week when the government announced that no mass gatherings would be permitted before September.
However the festival organisers said at the time that they would wait for further advice from public health officials before making a decision.
Today’s announcement comes shortly after the Taoiseach announced that the nationwide lockdown for the Covid-19 crisis will continue until May 18.
At that point it is hoped that Ireland will begin a phased approach to reopening. But this will occur slowly, and any rise in infections could see restrictions reimposed.
The organisers of Galway International Arts Festival said that they are aware that this is a big part of the summer calendar, with a “significant cultural and economic impact”, but that it was felt that there was no other option but cancellation due to public health concerns.
GIAF CEO John Crumlish and Artistic Director Paul Fahy commented “We are very disappointed to announce the postponement of the Festival this July.
“This decision was made with a very heavy heart but GIAF has no other option under these unprecedented circumstances.”
“We are now working to bring audiences a programme of events this Autumn and will announce details very soon.
“Our work has always been about bringing people together, artists and audiences, to celebrate great art, and we hope it won’t be too long before we are all back together to do so again.”
While details of the Autumn programme are still in development, one set of events which will definitely not be going ahead are the large concerts at the Heineken Big Top.
All Big Top concerts have been rescheduled to July 2021, and people who have already bought tickets are being asked to hold onto them for next year.
Refunds are also available of people so desire, and the festival organisers will be getting in touch with ticket holders in the coming days.
More details about the coming Autumn programme will be released in the coming days and weeks through the GIAF website and social media channels.