‘Shock’ as festival’s arts funding pulled

Organisers of one of the country’s best known arts festivals have expressed “shock” after the Arts Council confirmed it will receive no funding this year.

Imagine Festival, which is completely run by volunteers — nearly 40 people involved in various committees — has been funded by the Arts Council for the last 13 years.

Last year, the festival was one of the few festivals in Ireland to get an increase from the arts council from €10,000 to €11,000. Between 2010 and 2014, it received between €10,000 and €12,000 every year.

However, organisers were told on Tuesday that the Arts Council would not fund the festival this year.

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Chairperson of the Imagine Committee Dr Nicholas AJ Bankes said he was extremely disappointed at the decision of the Arts Council.

“Every year we put on an arts festival in Waterford which is, in my opinion, comparable to any Arts Festival in Ireland, including Kilkenny and Galway.

“How do we do this, especially given that our budget is approximately one 40th of what Galway or Kilkenny receive,” he said.

Dr Bankes said the festival had intended to grown into one of the bigger Irish arts festivals but that this was not possible without the small funding it received.

The Arts Council said it does not comment on individual organisations seeking funding.

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