(Michael Billington’s article appeared in the Guardian, 7/20.)

They were dancing in the streets last week in Galway. It wasn’t simply because the city’s international arts festival was in full swing but because it had just been announced that Galway had been named European capital of culture for 2020.

As a regular visitor to Galway, I was delighted but also felt a pang of envy. Of the €45m (£38m) budget for 2020, €39m will come from EU and state funds. Presumably, in a post-Brexit world, no UK city will ever again be eligible either for the award or for the financial boost that comes with it. If Galway deserves the recognition, it is partly because its annual arts festival, under the direction of Paul Fahy, is a powerhouse of ideas and innovation.


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