Promoters say Wexford will benefit from earlier start to Spiegeltent Festival
Before the fireworks light up the sky over Wexford to mark the opening of the 2015 Opera Festival, locals will have been already enjoying almost a week of music and comedy on the Quayfront.
That's because the Spiegeltent Festival, which has run in tandem with the Opera Festival for the past two years, is this year starting six days early.
Brian Byrne of organisers Lantern Events says there are three reasons for the change.
'Accommodation is more readily available for visitors to Wexford, it's easier for Wexford people working in the hospitality and tourism industries to go to an event, and Wexford businesses will benefit from the extended Festival period,' he says.
Last week, top comic Dylan Moran was unveiled as one of the performers in the Spiegeltent.
The promoters say his show on Saturday, October 17, during the first weekend of Spiegeltent, says a lot about the festival's standing on the Irish entertainment calendar.
'Dylan is only appearing in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway and Wexford so it's a real coup for our town and firmly puts Wexford on the map as the premier entertainment destination in the South East,' says Lantern's Barry Ennis.
The Spiegeltent Festival has had a meteoric rise in two years. The 2014 festival had a direct impact of €3.5 million on the Wexford economy, attracting an audience of 23,400, and visitors from 13 different countries.
Impressive figures, released last week, reveal that the addition of a second tent in 2014 doubled the artistic programme to 40 events featuring 213 performers, representing eight nationalities. 65% of the events sold out in advance of the performances, in comparison to 30% the previous year.
And, in a survey carried out after the shows, 95% of the audience rated their experience at the Spiegeltent Festival as either very good or excellent.