Spraoi street arts festival brings €3m economic boost to city

A recent street arts festival in Waterford brought in an economic boost of over €3m to the city, according to Fáilte Ireland.

Figures contained in a statistical analysis prepared for Spraoi, the company who have been staging the festival each year since 1993, showed last month’s event brought additional footfall of 110,000 people to Waterford’s city centre.

The survey revealed that the recently-introduced format, which saw the traditional Spraoi parade taking place on the Saturday night of the festival, with a concert and fireworks display the following night, improved visitor numbers and spread business over the course of the weekend.

This year’s Spraoi featured 252 shows by 497 performers and artists from nine countries over three days.

While performances were delivered at locations across the city, Waterford City Council’s automated footfall trackers in John Roberts Square recorded 271,141 over the three days of the festival — an increase of 68% on the previous weekend, which had a footfall of 161,672.

Three of out four city centre hotels surveyed had 100% occupancy on Saturday and Sunday, Aug 4 and 5, while a fourth had 100% occupancy on the Saturday and 97% on the Sunday.

Two city centre licensed premises surveyed reported increased takings of 125% and 32% respectively on Aug 4 compared to the previous Saturday, and increases of 264% and 105% on Aug 5 compared to the previous Sunday.

A survey of 191 people attending the festival found that 99% would recommend Spraoi to friends, while 68% said they were “very happy” or “extremely happy” with the festival and a further 30% were “happy”.

Commenting on the festival’s impact on the city, Jim D’Arcy, Waterford mayor, said: “This year’s Spraoi was another resounding success, combining cultural excellence with positive economic impacts that our city and region need at this time.”

Waterford Chamber CEO Michael Garland said Spraoi “consistently delivers”.

“That was perhaps never more important over its 20-year history than in the current economic environment, when every euro of consumer spending has to be hard-earned,” he said. “It is to be hoped that Spraoi can continue to flourish and grow in the years ahead.

“The festival is central to the region’s tourism and culture as well as being an important economic driver and a key asset in putting Waterford on the national map.”


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