Spiegeltent festival brings over 17,000 to Wexford
A 13-foot python, dazzling aerial performers and dozens of superheroes were just some of the spectacles witnessed on Wexford Quay during this year's Spiegeltent festival, which attracted 17,000 spectators to the town.
Over 250 performers took to the stage throughout the 17 day festival in 28 shows that included music, dancing, fancy dress and plenty of audience participation. Twenty of the shows were sell-outs and it is estimated that the festival had an economic benefit to the town of more than €4m, according to Brian Byrne of Lantern events.
'It has a great economic impact through spending in hotels, restaurants and pubs and along with that, everyone we employ is from Wexford. Everything we hire and all of the contractors we get in are from Wexford. The only thing we don't get from here is the Spiegeltent itself,' he said.
Brian said he was 'really happy' with how the festival went, saying that a 13-foot python in the Spiegeltent was something that stood out a lot for him personally.
'Christy Moore on the Thursday was a magical show. Something Happens and The Four of Us played a gig and that was also super. The Freak Fantastique really made the most of the venue and had the aerial, which we never used before,' he added. 'Spiegeltents are naturally suited to having the performers in the middle. It was extra cost to get the aerial installed but it makes the best use of it.'
This year, the festival was extended from 12 days to 17 and according to Brian, this was a big success. The number of visitors in the town for the festival also saw a jump, from 13,500 last year to 17,000.
'I was really happy with it overall and nothing springs to mind in terms of changes next year. Now it's about working on our line-up for next year. We already have one third of the next line-up secured. It really is an all-year round thing,' said Brian. 'We are all about getting a great line-up so that people don't have to travel out of the county to see really top quality artists.'
Though Brian is remaining tight-lipped about next year's performers, he said that the Prohibition Party and Freak Fantastique will be making a return, along with another interactive event.
'From an event organiser's point of view, we are very privileged to have an artistic audience in Wexford town and county that will go to the more unusual things,' he said. 'The effort people went to for some of the costumed events was unbelievable. The audience becomes a part of the performance and it really makes it.'