What types of festivals are supported by the Arts Council?
The Arts Council provides supports to arts festivals that:
play a critical role in, or are central to, the national arts infrastructure
develop the work of the artist or the development of artform practice
deliver quality arts experiences and prioritise programmes engaged with, and relevant to, local communities or communities of interest
play an important role in the furtherance and transmission of an artform or arts practice
demonstrate effective local, national or international arts partnerships
provide opportunities for the public to engage in quality arts experiences.
Festivals which foster the development of street and spectacle arts in Ireland are prioritised by the Arts Council and recognised as essential environments to test and present these works for the public.
How can I find out about funding schemes available to festivals?
A list of schemes where festivals can apply as the lead applicant* is published here. Depending on the scale of your festival, type of work you programme and
festival model will determine the type of scheme you can apply to. You should check the guidelines for each scheme to ensure that your organisation is eligible to apply. A full list of all available funding is here.
*The lead applicant is the individual/organisation applying for funding who provides their ARN (Arts Reference Number) at the time of application. If the application is successful, the award is made to the lead applicant.
The below list may assist in exploring each scheme in more detail:
Festival Investment Scheme – support for small festival programmes
Arts Grant Funding – support for mid-scale/large festival programmes and for festivals involved in the creation/development of art projects.
Strategic Funding – support for festivals that are central to the national arts infrastructure (for organisations formally constituted as a CLG, DAC or statutory body only).
Capacity Building Scheme – support for organisational capacity building (strategy development, training, digital investment). Not for arts activities or arts programmes.
In the Open – Invitation to Collaboration (special initiative) – to assist curated arts programmes in outdoor spaces in collaboration with local authority partners.
Commissions – to support festivals to commission artists to create new art projects.
Open Call – supporting the delivery of significant projects of scale and ambition which enable artists/organisations to shift their practice.
Engaging in Architecture - to enhance and extend the public’s experience of architecture.
Deis Recording Scheme – providing support for traditional arts projects, or projects involving collaboration between the traditional arts and other artforms, that focus on the recording or publication of work.
Travel and Training – (scheme currently paused) – supports for festival organisations/festival staff to develop their professional practice (primarily) outside of Ireland.
Can festivals be a partner in an application if they are not the lead applicant?
Yes, a festival may be named in an application as a partner when they are not the lead applicant. The partner may be required to provide additional information (such as a letter of support) and should refer to the relevant scheme guidelines for details.
The below list may assist in exploring each scheme in more detail:
Invitation to Collaboration – Collaborative projects between local authorities where arts organisations can be named as participating partners.
Project Awards – Project awards are offered in different artforms. Artists or arts organisations can name festivals as participating partners in the development and presentation of new projects.
Residencies – Artist residencies are offered in different artforms. Artists can support their applications with festival partners in Theatre and Dance Residencies
Touring – This scheme is designed to support touring and the dissemination of work across a range of artforms and art practices to venues throughout the Republic of Ireland.
How do I know which funding scheme I should apply for?
The Arts Council does not direct applicants to apply to particular schemes. You should read the guidelines to see who is eligible to apply and what can be applied for. It is important to note that each scheme has particular objectives, purpose and priorities; some of which might better suit the project you are planning. If you have particular questions after reading the guidelines you can contact the festival team.
When is festival funding available?
Funding schemes are available for a limited time (unless otherwise specified). In general, the Arts Council calls for applications one month before the application deadline. A list of available funding and the dates of application deadlines can be found
Information about schemes and festival initiatives are included in the Arts Council Newsletter which you can subscribe to here.
If I am planning a festival and wish to apply for funding through the Arts Council, when should I be making an application?
In general festivals need to apply for funding between 6 months to 18 months in
advance of their festival project taking place. You should check the guidelines
for the scheme you wish to apply to and the timeframe the funding covers.
For example if my festival takes place between January and June and I wish to
apply to the Festival Investment Scheme; I would apply 9 months in advance by
submitting my application in July of the previous year*
|Festival Investment Scheme
|For festivals taking place between January – June
|July the previous year
|Arts Grant Funding
|Funding for a yearly programme
|May the previous year
You should check the deadline for each scheme. The list of available funding and application deadlines is published here.
Can I apply to different funding streams for the same project?
No. You may not apply for the same project through different funding streams.
Is there a list of festivals that have been or are currently funded?
Multi-disciplinary festival programmes currently supported through the Arts Council’s Strategic Funding and Arts Grant Funding programmes can be found here.
Information on single artform or small festival programmes that we fund (as well as other organisations) can be found in the Who we funded section of the website.
Do I need to be a registered company to apply for festival funding?
If you are applying for Strategic Funding your organisation must be (or in the process of registering) a Company Limited by Guarantee (CLG) or Designated Activity Company (DAC), or a statutory body.
You are not required to legally register or formally constitute your festival organisation if you are applying to other festival funding streams. If you do not have a company/organisation name please use the name of your festival. If you are successful in receiving funding you will need to a tax number and bank account in the name you have applied under.
Where can I find the application form for the scheme I want to apply to?
The application form is available via the Arts Council’s Online system. You will need to register as an organisation/group via OLS here to access the application form.
Guidelines are normally available on our website when the application window opens – one month before the application deadline.
Once I have submitted my application, how long will I have to wait before I know whether or not our organization has received funding?
The Arts Council receives a high number of applications throughout the year. You should refer to the candidate guidelines for the grant you are applying for, which will let you know in the Decisions section when the Arts Council expects to announce the awards.
How will I find out if my application has been successful?
All applications submitted will receive an emailed notification from the Arts Council with the results of your application.
Can I get feedback after my application is assessed?
All applications that are deemed eligible can receive a written assessment. This can be requested from the Festival’s team at any time.
If I am successful in my application, do I need to report on my festival after it has taken place?
Yes. There are specific reporting procedures in place for all funding schemes.
These are explained in detail in the relevant payment guide that you will receive
with your letter/email of offer.
For example, if you have been awarded funding through the Festival Investment
Scheme, you must complete and submit a Revised Plan prior to drawing down your
first payment, and a Report Form and Income and Expenditure account prior to
drawing down your final payment (templates of which can be found on our
Payment Templates page). These need to be completed, received and accepted in order to receive
If I am unsuccessful in my application can I reapply for the same proposal again?
No. Once a proposal has been assessed you may not reapply with the same project proposal. Once a decision has been made on your application for a particular round of a scheme, it does not preclude you from applying to a future iteration of the scheme with a different proposal.
For example, if your application for Arts Grant Funding in one year and it was unsuccessful, it does not preclude you from applying to Arts Grant Funding the following year with a different proposal.
Our arts festival programme features professional artists/organisations but is managed by a voluntary committee; are we eligible to apply for festivals funding?
Yes. A number of festivals led by volunteers and voluntary committees which deliver professional arts programmes are supported by the Arts Council. In this regard, the Arts Council values and champions the contribution of voluntary participation in festival practice and acknowledges the increasing role that localism plays in the development and sustainability of festival programmes.
Are there any resource organisations that offer supports to festivals?
Below is a list of resource organisations that offer support to festivals or artists/arts organisations that work in a festival context:
Association of Irish Festivals & Events (AOIFE)
Visual Artists Ireland
Irish Street Arts, Circus & Spectacle Network
Event Industry Association of Ireland
European Festivals Association
First Music Contact
Irish Theatre Institute
Please find more information on these organisations and contact details here.
Does the Arts Council offer any opportunities to learn more about festivals?
From time to time the Arts Council hosts talks/webinars designed for festivals, festival makers and their stakeholders. These are outlined below:
Festival webinars and talks
Talking Festivals 2020
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Arts Council held a number of online discussion forums intended to: share information, discuss the merits, challenges, opportunities and restrictions facing festivals as they
plan programmes for reconfigured public spaces and explore online sharing of the arts. Please find minutes from the Talking Festivals series here
Following on from the Talking Festival Series 2020, the Arts Council will host a programme of panel discussions for festivals, artists making work in a festival context and festival stakeholders to discuss and share learning from 2020.
What are the pathways to produce and present arts for the public and how can festivals innovate and deliver imaginative public facing programmes during such uncertain times? More information on the Pathways 2021 series can be found here.
Below is a list of festival networks that support the development of work in a particular artform or arts
in a particular region.
West Cork Arts Festival Consortia
The West Cork Arts Festivals Cooperative is a group of eleven festivals that take place annually from May to September across the towns, villages and islands of
the region. Established in 2021, this organisation aims to increase awareness of each festival nationally and internationally, to create a regional network for the exchange of experience and expertise, and to foster collaboration and cooperation that
will build capacity to reach new and diverse communities and audiences.
Ballydehob Jazz Festival
Baltimore Fiddle Fair
Cape Clear International Storytelling Festival
Clonakilty International Guitar Festival
Drimoleague Singing Festival
Fastnet Film Festival
Masters of Tradition
Skibbereen Arts Festival
West Cork Chamber Music Festival
West Cork Fit-up Theatre Festival
West Cork Literary Festival
Irish Early Music Network
Working to bring early music performance in Ireland into the digital 21st century and to highlight Irish early music artists on the European stage, the Irish Early Music Network plans to expand in the future to connect and support early music organisations
and ensembles across the country. In addition to generous knowledge sharing, IEMN initiatives include: creating a small bank of audio, video and streaming equipment for concert and workshop broadcasts by member organisations, facilitating and creating
connections across Europe via membership in the European Early Music Network, EEEmerging (Emerging European Ensembles) and other international initiatives and organisations.