About the festival

In the 40th anniversary year of the festival we are presenting a range and depth of programming that surpasses all past iterations. We had been chasing Max Richter’s Sleep for over a year, and it is fantastic to see the sold-out response to its inclusion. It sits alongside a programme that has riches for everyone; from a brand new digital strand featuring a Virtual Reality programme, to an entirely free music programme made possible by our continued partnership with O’Hara’s Craft Beer, as well as Sugartown a celebration of Carlow featuring music, dance, stories and fireworks. We have included work this year that explores the darker underbelly of society such as Crave #2 from Denmark which sees a one on one experience occur with a sex-worker and Our Carnal Hearts which pokes at our online authenticities. Outdoor, Street-art and Spectacle as well as Family friendly work continues to be a significant focus for us, with the culmination of a year long collaboration with the community as our Saturday night spectacle. ARTWORKS and the associated exhibitions and events at VISUAL continue through to September.

We are particularly proud that 80% of our programme is entirely free and we continue to offer Pick your Price options for most of our ticketed events.  We want to ensure that ability, demography and capacity to pay are not impediments to our audience accessing and participating in world class arts events. Presenting exciting and innovative artists working nationally and internationally sits alongside a deeply held belief that the arts are for all of us, and that nobody should be left out of the exceptional experiences they can provide.

Carlow Arts Festival marks a special time in the town’s annual calendar, providing an opportunity for everyone to experience something out of the ordinary, soak up the celebratory atmosphere and be part of the thrill of knowing that in the hands of exceptional artists anything is possible.

Of course there is a huge amount to explore in the programme. So we invite you to join us in June on a journey of discovery, exhilaration, and enrichment for the first big cultural event of the Summer.

Carlow Arts Festival 40 years

Mission Statement

Carlow Arts Festival creates a vibrant temporary community that opens up horizons and contributes to a better future. Our future is building on our deep belief in creating space for discovery, delight and disruption. Our artists innovate to create uniquely accessible work. They also introduce our audiences to new art forms and cutting edge work which they might previously have considered ‘challenging’. Our cross disciplinary programme embraces the world of virtuosic artists to resonate, inspire and collaborate with our community.

We champion the need for audiences to experience transformative art, to encounter diverse perspectives and through participation to be included in the act of discovery. The surprise of a profound or joyous response as part of an immersive festival experience is what we want to offer to everyone.

Our Values are Creativity, Collaboration, Innovation, Participation, Inclusion, Diversity, and Passion.

Our Place is Carlow.

The Team

Jo Mangan

Festival Director

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Collette Haverty

Executive Producer

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Lisa Williams, Carlow Arts Festival

Lisa Williamson

Festival Manager

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Ferga_Moran, Carlow Arts Festival

Ferga Moran

Artist Liaison / Administration

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Emma-Lucy O’Brien

Visual Arts Curator

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Programme for 2019


National Archive Project

SLICE #4 - ARTWORKS the Carlow Arts Festival & VISUAL Carlow open submission exhibition

ARTWORKS exhibition 2020. 23 July - 18 October AT VISUAL, Carlow.


Virtual Reality Cinema. 1-31 August 2020