The 31st year of the Earagail Arts Festival will be dedicated to the memory of a dear friend of the local arts scene - Dessie Larkin.
Dessie Larkin, a former county councillor who passed away in March, was a long-serving board member and former Chair of the Earagail Arts Festival.
The Letterkenny man was fondly remembered at the launch of the festival on Monday at Rockhill House Estate.
“He demonstrated what was important about the festival. That was about bringing people together and celebrating what is probably one of the most fundamental human endeavours, which is art,” said Artistic Director Paul Brown.
Dessie’s presence was greatly missed at the festival launch, as people gathered to listen to music and to hear important figures within the community talk highly of the summer to come.
The festival was officially launched by Leas Cathaoirleach of Donegal County Council Niamh Kennedy. She had only good words to say about this year’s upcoming festival with its “diversity, illumination, culture and to showcase us in a way that only Donegal can.”
This year’s festival takes place from 10th-28th July 2019, marking the next era of the festival’s cultural evolution, continuing investment in the making of great artwork, creating an opportunity for a new generation of artists and fostering wider participation in the arts across the North West of Ireland.
This year’s programme leads with a major new music commission in partnership with India’s leading folk festival in Rajasthan.
Along with this is a series of spoken word, circus, comedy and special events celebrating diversity and freedom of movement and a visual arts programme from east to west reaching across bridges, islands and horizons.
Meabh Uí Chonnachain, who is one of the board members for the festival, said that this year’s festival is about “diversity, equality, bringing together artists, programmes and visual art.”
She also talked about the impact Earagail Arts has on Donegal with the number of people that attend the festival. More than 38,000 people attended different events last year. Sixty per cent of them were local and the rest were mostly from Northern Ireland.
Last year the festival promoted 309 performances in 29 venues spread across 16 towns, villages and islands over 23 days.
There are so many different events that range from music to drama to open mic, comedy and spoken word and many more. With a festival this big, there is sure to be something for everyone.
The festival kicks off on Wednesday the 10th of July in The Cottage Bar in Letterkenny with Mouthpiece Open Mic which promises laughter, tears, surprises and a warm, supportive atmosphere.
Earagail Arts Festival brochures are now available in usual outlets, or on eaf.ie.
See the gallery below for more photos from the launch: