Take a Bow, Galway Arts Festival 2012

Oh, what a brilliant few weeks it has been. On behalf of all the GAF 2012 team, thank you so very much for your enduring support. Not only has it been another incredibly successful year, we have broken records for attendance across the board. A staggering 30,000 people turned out to see the fantastic Absolut Festival Gallery and a truly phenomenal 160,000 people attended the festival over two weeks. What can we say only a huge and heartfelt thanks. What an inspiration it is to see that despite everything – or perhaps because of it – a real love of the arts still exists in this country.

Over the course of the festival, various teams have been working away to ensure that events and experiences were captured for everyone to enjoy, now and always. GAF TV have been working especially hard, the fruits of which you can check out on their YouTube channel here, where you can enjoy highlights from this year’s festival, like this wonderful look at Macnas’s This Thunderous Heart:

While the two weeks in July when the festival takes place are GAF’s primary focus, work on the festival takes place all year round. For breaking news, exclusive content and to keep in the loop about next year’s preparations, not to mention enjoying the fruits of festivals past including this year’s, be sure to check out our website http://www.galwayartsfestival.com/, our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/galwayartsfestival and our Twitter feed https://twitter.com/galwayartsfest/ Over the next few days, we’ll be posting highlights of 2012, which you won’t want to miss.

All that remains is for us to say one final word of thanks to the people of Galway, all our sponsors, our fantastic performers, our volunteers and all of you who supported GAF 2012 in your thousands. Here’s to a record breaking 2013. We’ll leave you with a few exclusive images from this year’s magnificent festival, taken by Colm Hogan. Until next time.

Macnas turn the streets of Galway into a wonderland with This Thunderous Heart.

Artistic Director Paul Fahy basks in the fantastic setting of the Absolut Festival Gallery, which welcomed an amazing 30,000 people through its doors during the 2 weeks of the festival.

Spain’s Kamchatka perform their unique brand of street theatre for delighted on-lookers during GAF 2012.

Giggling at GAF: Gerry Mallon’s Laughter Loft

Secrets can be very hard to keep, especially the good ones. Thankfully, word has filtered out about Gerry Mallon’s Laughter Loft, which takes places every lunchtime throughout the festival in the Ruby Room at the Kings Head. Where else would you get the biggest names in comedy performing in such intimate surroundings at such an early hour? We’d like to think ‘nowhere’ and we might just be right.

Gerry will be introducing the likes of Dave McSavage from RTÉ’s very popular the Savage Eye, Maeve Higgins, Karl Spain and Colm O’Regan ( the guy behind the hilarious Irish Twitter phenomenon known as ‘@irishmammies’ ), plus loads more, yet-to-be-revealed comics. There is a new line-up every day, so for a measly ten euro, you get a bonanza of Irish comedy plus a surprise – and we all know how much we looked forward to our Christmas surprises back in the day.

To avoid disappointment, be sure to get to the Ruby Room in plenty of time as demand for the Laughter Loft is always huge – see what we mean about great secrets always leaking out? If you love it once, why not go again as the line up changes every day. Tickets are available on the door. For more info on this and indeed all the brilliant comedy acts in Galway over the festival, check out http://www.galwayartsfestival.com/

Watch It: GAF TV

A GAF TV screenshot of the Misterman set.

With so much packed into the two weeks of Galway Arts Festival every single year, keeping track and preserving all those special moments is a mammoth task. Thankfully, GAF TV have been doing a stellar job of capturing the magic on film and now, for your viewing pleasure, the GAF archive is available online.

If there’s anything you’ve missed or a favourite festival memory you’d like to relive, then spend some quality time flicking through the gems on http://gaftv.ie/ For this year’s latest GAF TV reports, including an exclusive interview with Chic’s legendary Nile Rodgers, check out http://www.youtube.com/galwayartsfest or click on the clips below, featuring comedian and star of RTÉ’s the Savage Eye Dave McSavage, artist David Mach whose exhibition Precious Light is taking the festival by storm and Michael Kaeshammer, one of Canada’s brightest musical exports.

For more of GAF TV and all things festival related, check out http://galwayartsfestival.com/

He’s Magic: Piff the Magic Dragon

The first thing you need to know about Piff the Magic Dragon is that he doesn’t do kids parties. The second thing is that Jonathan Ross is a big fan and lastly, that the BBC thinks he is ‘unbelievable’, as in, unbelievably good – and so do we. Piff, who forever lives in the shadow of his older brother (you might have heard of him), mixes amazing magic tricks with a fine line in grumpy but lovable humour to conjure up an act that has charmed audiences and gained raved reviews from Edinburgh to Australia.

Piff is the brainchild of John van der Put, a successful English magician who has worked with David Blaine and is one of the youngest magicians ever to address the renowned Magic Circle. For an evening of laughter and amazement you won’t have to wait long because Piff the Magic Dragon plays Kellys tonight. For more info and tickets, be sure to check out: http://www.galwayartsfestival.com/

We’re going to leave you with a clip of Piff performing for Penn and Teller that quickly went viral. You’ll soon see why.

The Wonderful World of Terry Alderton

Laughing – it’s great. Thankfully, Galway Arts Festival 2012 is choc full of funny bone ticklers including this man, the not-to-be-missed Terry Alderton. Labelled ‘astonishing’ by the Sunday Times and ‘hilarious’ by the Times, Perrier nominated Terry has stormed the Edinburgh Festival two years in a row, not to mention his star turn on Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow (see below), which saw Mr. McIntyre declaring Terry’s performance to be ‘inspirational’.

Terry doing what he does best on Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow.

It can be hard to believe that Terry used to be a professional footballer such are his comedic talents. Just ask Joan Rivers, who he recently worked with or indeed Eddie Izzard who described Terry as  ‘a very funny comic with a fantastic comedy mind’. High praise indeed. Interesting fact: very early in his career, Terry beat Chesney ‘I Am the One and Only’ Hawkes to a place on Sky’s Star Search, which Terry subsequently won. That’s a story we’d love to hear him tell.

Terry Alderton plays the Roisin Dubh on July 18th. Don’t leave it too late to get your ticket. Check out : http://www.galwayartsfestival.com/ We’ll leave you with Terry, who, as you’re about to hear is a man of many voices. Enjoy!

Are You Having A Laugh?

Here at GAF, we love a good giggle. That’s why every year we bring top quality comedy acts from across the world to Galway for two weeks of fun and laughter along with everything else. This year is no exception. Along with the lovely folk at Róisín Dubh Comedy, GAF is putting homegrown talent, new kids on the block and masters of the art of stand up centre stage with a comedy line-up that will be sure to tickle every funny bone from here to Timbuktu.

Fans of classic Eighties movies will know Michael Winslow from Gremlins and Police Academy. Having more recently lent his considerable voice skills to the likes of Family Guy and the Simpsons, Winslow’s sparkling stand-up routine has been described as ‘remarkable’ by the Guardian – and who are we to argue? Meanwhile, fans of Irish comedy will delight in the return of Jason Byrne, whose unique brand of lunacy has endeared him to audiences at home and abroad, on stage and on the small screen for many years. ‘Gas craic’ might as well be Mister Byrne’s middle name.

Fans of whip smart, tell-it-like-it-is comedy with bite will be delighted to welcome Reginald D. Hunter to Galway. Widely acknowledged as one of the most talented comics working today, prepare to hear the unspeakable spoken in Reginald’s brutally honest but always hilarious style. This is comedy that not only makes you laugh but also see the world differently. During the day, Galway comedy stalwart Gerry Mallon will be holding court in the Ruby Room at the Kings Head every lunch time, introducing a host of fantastic Irish comedians including Colm O’Regan, Maeve Higgins, Dave McSavage and many more.

We can’t sign off without mentioning Piff the Magic Dragon – you might have heard of his brother? Piff recently became a viral video sensation and is a must see for this year’s festival. For more info and to purchase those all important tickets, check out http://galwayartsfestival.com/ but for now, take a look at the wonderful Piff in action:

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