The team behind the 2020 Imagine Arts Festival rolled up their sleeves and adapted to the changes in restrictions over the last few weeks to take their entire festival online and the results have been phenomenal.
‘Virtual festivalgoers’ from as far away as Japan tuned in to enjoy the 40 events, which were all showcased on www.imaginearsfestival.com with the festival reaching a total of 126,147 people all around the world with 35,284 people tuning in to watch the full festival videos and events online.
Festival Manager Nora Boland took charge in leading the festival team and guiding the Imagine Arts Festival into new territory with a hugely successful digital festival offering. Nora says, “Naturally the festival team were hugely disappointed to be unable to host in-person events this year, however, as soon as we knew it would be a virtual festival we organised the pre-recording of as much as possible and shifted our entire focus to an online festival, and I have to say the interest levels, the engagement and the results have been incredible.
“Our online analytics show us that 70% of our audience was from all across Ireland, 16% from the US followed closely by the UK with the festival events also popular in France, Australia, Germany, Japan, Finland and Italy.
“In many ways, our festival has never been more successful in terms of audience reach. However, we also feel that the arts are best consumed in-person and we are looking forward to returning to in-person events in the future. We hope to have inspired those who enjoyed our online events this year to travel to Waterford next year and we will also be keeping an online presence to bring Imagine Arts Festival events to further worldwide destinations again in 2021.”
Chairperson of the festival Jane Keen says, “We are delighted to have hosted our first online festival so successfully. I would like to say a big thank you to everyone involved, for changing their plans and helping us to make this work, most especially to our programme participants whose work has been so negatively impacted by COVID19. Our primary goal at Imagine Arts Festival is to support and celebrate the arts and despite Covid, this remains, so we would like to ask everyone to support the arts community where they can this year, be that through further online events, directly supporting an artist through the purchase of music, art and books as we head towards the festive season.”
The imagine Arts Festival took place between October 16th and 25th with the John Dwyer Trad Weekend and Waterford Writers Weekend all falling under the umbrella of Waterford’s Imagine Arts Festival. Events ranged from poetry to art exhibitions, to music, author interviews, creative discussions, children’s author events, history and heritage, workshops and more.