Creativity community rises to challenge of delivering superb Clonmel Junction Arts Festival

Eamon Lacey

Reporter:

Eamon Lacey

Email:

elacey@nationalist.ie

The 2019 version of Clonmel Junction Arts Festival took place in 21 different venues in Clonmel with 39 separate events that employed 175 professional artists, performers and technicians. The team was supplemented by over 35 volunteers who worked on this year’s festival, from setting up for yoga in the morning to taking tickets at the Coachman Cabaret at night.
“The Festival is a big undertaking and pulls together a lot of different partners” explained Artistic Director Cliona Maher. “We were delighted that local businesses like Camida, Boston Scientific, and Abbott Vascular got behind us by sponsoring venues. We had accommodation partners in Hotel Minella and Hearn’s, and firms like Gilligan’s, Lynch Solicitors, Hickeys and SNC Lavalin sponsored shows as well as organisations like the Lions Club and Clonmel Rotary and others who supported us.
But special thanks must go to Showgrounds Shopping Centre, who hosted both the Festival Box Office and the Artist’s Cabin, as well as the Robert Ballagh mural installation, ‘People And A Frank Stella’ which will remain on exhibition for a further period. It’s been great to work with Tipperary County Museum on this”
The main funding for the Clonmel Junction Arts Festival, which spends most of its budget on artist fees and production costs, comes from the Arts Council of Ireland and there’s good news for next year. The festival’s grant for 2020 has already been confirmed by the Arts Council and the amount awarded for the 2020 programme is an investment 12% greater than the investment in 2019 which is a huge mark of confidence in Clonmel and which will have a significant impact on the arts in the region by providing a platform for creativity.
“The 2020:Vision programme which was submitted back in March places Clonmel artists and Clonmel as a place front and centre. I think people have seen from the 2019 festival that the creativity community here is thriving on all fronts, be it music, theatre, dance, visual arts. I’d love the Festival to be a platform where people can launch projects and try out new ideas. The success of the two acts that premiered this year – Clonmel Laptop Ensemble and Electric Orfeo – shows what can happen when you trust talented people to try something new”.
Highlights of this year’s Festival included Stagecraft Youth Theatre’s ’The Fight’, the New Zealand cabaret show ‘Don Juan’ and the Landless performance as part of the Mollie Anna King exhibition ‘Sliabh na mBan’ at South Tipperary Arts Centre until August.