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Westival to keep home fires burning bright


LEADING LIGHTS Westport talents, artist Hannah King and musician Uppbeat, who will feature in this year’s programme of Westival events.  Pic: Amayo Photography

Ciara Moynihan

As the lights in our cultural institutions start to blink on at last, the people behind one of the most significant arts festivals in the west – Westival, Westport’s music and arts festival – have revealed that they have been quietly working hard to ensure it goes ahead this year.  
In a statement released today (Tuesday), the festival committee announced that they are keeping Westival 2020 well and truly lit. Its creative flames will burn brightly as usual from October 21 to 26, and with a strong emphasis on homegrown talent and closer-to-home culture, it will be appropriately themed the ‘Home Fires Burning Edition’.
The organisers admitted that in the early days, as the impact of the coronavirus saw music and cultural venues shut down across the country, and touring artists and acts cancelled their plans to come West, Westival ‘seemed all but an impossible dream’.
However, after talking to artists, funders, sponsors, venue partners and regular festival goers, they soon grew determined to keep the festival alive.
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Now the emphasis is on creating a programme of events that is both exciting and safe. “Over the next few months, we will be working with local artists and venues to present with care and creativity the arts here, while adhering to strict Government guidelines,” the festival statement continued. “The safety of our audience and artists will be the key focus across the programme.
“We will celebrate the arts, we will evolve, we will be together again, and we will keep the home fires of Westival 2020 burning bright until we can return with a full programme of events next year.”
The organisers are also sending out a call to artists who would like to get involved, with performing artists invited to apply to take part via the westival.ie website.
Poets and visual artists are also encouraged to keep an eye on the festival’s social media, with announcements on the annual International Poetry Competition and visual arts applications due in the coming weeks.