Director defends Galway Arts Festival ticket prices


GALWAY Arts Festival artistic director Paul Fahy has rejected criticism of ticket prices at this year’s event and has said that the charges are “highly competitive”.

Responding to a report in this newspaper on Tuesday, Fahy also defended the timing of the Macnas parade at 10pm on Sunday night.

He said that the festival’s emphasis was on quality, and that admission prices compared very favourably to those at other major international festivals in Ireland.

For example, a limited deal running three days before the festival opening offered tickets for three major productions – the Royal Exchange Theatre, the Michael Clark dance company and the Kronos Quartet – for a total price of €50, compared with a normal price of €78.

Fahy said that the recent Galway Volvo Ocean Race free shore festival received support of €1.1 million from Galway City Council, in addition to “figures variously reported” from a number of State agencies.

“Compare this to Galway Arts Festival’s €48,000 from Galway City Council in 2008, €565,000 from the Arts Council and €143,000 from Fáilte Ireland,” he said, pointing out that the festival was a non-profit organisation.

“I’m sure if Galway Arts Festival benefited to the tune of €1.1 million from the local authority and in excess of €10m from other State agencies we could and would present an entire festival without admission charges,” he said.

“Regarding the Macnas festival parade, the show this year is designed and storyboarded for night time.

“Would [the press] ask another theatre maker or playwright working on a site-specific project to change to suit children? Do parents not let their children sit up late once a year to watch the annual toy show on the Late Late Show?” he added.