Featuring the slightly(!) altered tunes of legendary Waterford musicians Brendan Bowyer, Val Doonican, Kate Bush (okay, she’s being made an honorary Waterford citizen for the night), the parade takes place on Sunday, July 31st and will feature around 300 costumed performers, floats and special effects, making it the largest outdoor cultural event in the region this summer.
Speaking at the launch of Spraoi 2016, Artistic Director Mike Leahy said the parade will include Waterford’s ‘wonderful icons of music’, blended (in Spraoi’s inimitable way) with goats, blaas, crystal, fairy trees and so much more to create a show to remember: “To anyone who likes musicals I must say to them now – ‘We’re Sorry’”.
Performers from 16 countries will travel to Waterford for Spraoi 2016, which starts on July 29th, with acts from Poland, France and Austria performing alongside a wealth of homegrown talent.
Amongst the latter is new show Morbid & Sons by Waterford native Nick Kavanagh’s Curious State Theatre Company, described as an ‘interactive, macabre experience about death and the afterlife’. Archibald Morbid, Waterford’s newest (or should that be oldest) undertaker, was in attendance at the Spraoi launch last week, eyeing up new business and offering potential customers the option to ‘buy now, die later’.
Welcoming newly elected Waterford City & County Mayor Adam Wyse to the launch, Spraoi Director Honan described him as a ‘second generation’ supporter of Spraoi – a tribute to the support that his late father, Cllr Gary Wyse, gave to the festival.
The 22-year-old Mayor noted that he was of a generation in Waterford for whom Spraoi had ‘always existed’, adding that the festival created huge pride in ‘our own people’ as well as forging a national reputation. And he praised Spraoi’s ability to ‘involve people from all walks of life’. “There is hardly a family in the city who has not been involved over the past 24 years”, he commented. “It really is ‘The People’s Festival’… firing imaginations of a new generation.”
Referring to the central role that the Spraoi company plays in Waterford’s overall arts life, Director TV Honan noted that the judging panel for the 2020 European Capital of Culture bid had chosen to visit its Carrickphierish base during a visit to the city on Wednesday, ahead of the final decision being reached on Thursday.
The Three Sisters 2020 bid for the European Capital of Culture has also resulted in a broader collaborative approach amongst arts organisations in the south east, Honan said. Though Nick Kavanagh’s Morbid & Sons show will premiere at Spraoi 2016, it has also secured gigs at the Kilkenny Arts Festival and Wexford Opera Festival.
“This is the concrete example of what the region can do if it pulls together”, Mr Honan noted. He also paid tribute to Spraoi’s corporate sponsors, two of whom – Teva and Sanofi – are the company’s neighbours. “It’s great to have that kind of support on our own doorsteps”, he said.
The full programme for Spraoi 2016 is now available in local shops and businesses and online at spraoi.com.