When you bring up Galway in conversation with those who know the city, a smile, echoing warm memories, glides across their face. Galway, the City of Tribes, is a magical city at the best of times but its annual Arts Festival brings out something really special.

The Galway Arts Festival has become known around the world as Ireland’s leading arts festival, a celebration of the performing and visual arts and an important showcase for Irish arts. Over 163,000 visitors take to the streets of the ancient city taking in the sounds and sights of the 160+ performances, talks and exhibitions spread over 27 venues.

Since the festival was founded in 1978 it has grown exponentially to showcase a wide variety of international artists alongside the best of Irish talent and includes music, theatre, visual arts, dance, talks, discussions, family events and comedy in its programme.

Just some of the highlights of the 36th Galway Arts Festival include The Irish premiere of Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre’s Rite of Spring and Petrushka; the world premiere of riverrun a co-production with Olwen Fouéré’s The Emergency Room, Brooklyn rockers Grizzly Bear; First Thought a series of conversations and discussions on creativity; Howard Hodgkin; Colum McCann; a concert performance of a new opera by Julie Feeney, and Galway’s first Night at the Proms with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra.

Here’s just some of the highlights of the festival:

Fabulous Beast Dance Theatre return to the Galway stage for the first time since 2008 with the stunning “The Rite of Spring and Petrushka”, a production in collaboration with Sadler’s Wells, co-produced with Galway Arts Festival and other international co-producing partners.

The Arcady Experience, leading traditional musicians performing at the Trad Lunchtimes programme.

Taibhdhearc na Gaillimhe’s “An Tíoránach Drogallach” a translation of Tom Murphy’s powerful epic “The Last Days of a Reluctant Tyrant” is just one of the new productions from Galway this year.

The Radisson Live Lounge will host sublime musicians including Frankie Gavin, the fastest fiddle player in the world.

An unmissable double-bill featuring Josh Ritter and The Royal City Band with Mick Flannery and support from the high-energy West Cork Ukulele Orchestra promises to be an unforgettable Saturday night at the Festival Big Top.

Here Mick Flannery gives an exclusive acoustic performance:

For the box office and full programme details visit www.galwayartsfestival.com.

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