The Best Summer Arts Festivals in 2018Ritika Sureka gives you the rundown of all the noteworthy arts festivals on over the Summer. It’s that time of year when the impending pressure of exams has everyone feeling down. Festivals being an integral part of a good summer holiday, most of us check Facebook for the line-ups at Forbidden Fruit or Electric Picnic. However, with the arts and literary scene booming at the moment, don’t give these arts festivals a miss. International Literature Festival Dublin (19-27th May 2018)The international literature festival, captivating audiences since 1998, is Ireland’s most celebrated literary event of the year. Events at the festival include debates, discussions, readings, workshops, performances, and screenings by prominent poets and writers of all genres. Last year’s line-up of Susie Orbach, Patrick McCabe, and Ruby Wax assures an engaging programme for 2018. Dalkey Book Festival (14-17th June 2018)While attending the festival in 2014, Salman Rushdie described it as “the best little festival in the world.” The Dalkey Festival has guaranteed a roster of world-renowned writers, since its establishment in 2010. The most prominent feature of the festival that distinguishes it from others is the intimacy it offers in audience engagement with the writers. Events take place in pubs, cafés, gardens, and even a medieval graveyard to add to the festival’s numerous quirks. The festival has seen the likes of Seamus Heaney, Joseph O’Connor, Edna O’Brien and UCD’s very own Frank McGuinness. The festival gives fans a chance to casually run into their favourite writers in settings such as pubs or even the streets of the small town. This year’s line-up is yet to be publicised.
Although the full list of performers will only be announced in May, a few singers and bands such as The Flaming Lips, Caribou, Kodaline, and Walking on Cars have already announced their participation in this year’s festival. Galway International Arts Festival (16-29th July 2018)The internationally acclaimed festival celebrated its 40th anniversary last year and was named one of the Top 5 Summer Festivals in Europe by the Guardian. Performances include theatre, music, opera, dance, visual arts, comedy, and discussions. Notable artists from previous years include Joni Mitchell, Bon Iver, Cormac McCarthy, The Gloaming, and Cillian Murphy. Although the full list of performers will only be announced in May, a few singers and bands such as The Flaming Lips, Caribou, Kodaline, and Walking on Cars have already announced their participation in this year’s festival. Edinburgh Fringe Festival (3-27th August 2018)It’s hard to talk about a good summer arts festival without mentioning the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Although it does not take place on the Emerald Isle, it’s one of the most reputable celebrations of the arts in the world, and certainly worth crossing the Irish Sea for. The show categories span comedy, dance, theatre, physical theatre, cabaret, circus, musicals, operas, children’s shows, and spoken word, with comedy maintaining the highest profile among the shows. In fact, Frankie Boyle confirmed a run at this year’s Fringe just last week. The Irish comedy act Foil, Arms, and Hog are scheduled to appear as well. Other scheduled performances this year include Ruby Wax, Paul Merton, and Reverend Richard Coles. Kilkenny Arts Festival (9-19th August 2018)With an Instagram-worthy backdrop of the city’s churches, castles, and gardens, the festival is not just a commemoration to the arts, but also to Kilkenny’s charming landscapes. Classical music, poetry, and theatre are the main features of its programmes, with notable previous performers including Seamus Heaney, Robert Lowell, Billy Collins, Victoria de Los Angeles, and Alfred Brendel. The full 2018 schedule remains to be announced, but it promises to keep up with the festival’s history of excellence in the art form. Even if you’re not into the arts, this year’s arts and literary festivals should be on your Summer bucket list. There’s a reasonable chance of seeing Cillian Murphy prancing about as a crow on stage, or of bumping into Salman Rushdie while sipping a pint of Guinness at a local watering hole.