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Why Arts?, Art of the People and It’s All In Your Head! Well Festival of Arts and Wellbeing 2020 programme launched

6 min read

Why Arts?, Art of the People and It’s All In Your Head! Well Festival of Arts and Wellbeing 2020 programme launched

6 min read


Why Arts?, Art of the People and It’s All In Your Head! Well Festival of Arts and Wellbeing 2020 programme launched

Why Arts?, Art of the People and It’s All In Your Head! are some of the highlights of this year’s Well Festival of Arts and Wellbeing. Taking place in Waterford from Monday 5 to Saturday 10 October, the festival features an exciting line-up of almost 50 fun, free, inventive and sociable arts events for all ages.

In this, its eighth year, the festival presents musicians, artists, poets, theatre makers, filmmakers and dancers, a programme of Wellies, the festival’s events for younger audiences and Renew, a new programme strand for older audiences. The full Festival programme is available from See also the Well Festival promo trailer here

The Well Festival of Arts and Wellbeing champions and celebrates the health benefits of participation in the arts by everyone. Due to the evolving Covid-19 situation and in line with public health guidelines, many events will take place online, giving this Waterford-wide festival the opportunity to reach beyond the county borders for the first time and welcome arts fans from near and far. Each day, festival-goers will have the opportunity to witness colourful, beautiful, thought-provoking music, art, theatre, film, dance and literature, and to experience the joy of creativity through a myriad of workshops and interactive opportunities for all ages.

Well Festival of Arts & Wellbeing 2020 trailer

Open Video

Festival 2020 Highlights

Highlights of the Well Festival of Arts and Wellbeing 2020 programme include Art of the People, a visual celebration of Waterford arts and artists, curated by arts producer T.V. Honan, presented in the windows of Central Library; Why Arts?, the inaugural Well Festival Keynote Event, featuring prominent public health specialist Dr Gabriel Scally in conversation with journalist Jennifer O’Connell, with a response by Anne Woodworth, Chairperson of Waterford Healing Arts Trust; It’s All In Your Head!, a series of online workshops exploring writing as an artform and a source of mindfulness, led by writer/producer Eimear Cheasty; Renew: Arts for Older People, an exciting new multi-arts strand featuring live music, movement, visual art, creative writing and poetry, funded by Creative Ireland; Courtyard Calibrations, an outdoor soundscape at Garter Lane Arts Centre, created by Peter Vogelaar, encouraging passers-by to immerse themselves and ‘re-calibrate’ for a few moments; a vibrant music programme for younger audiences presented by Waterford City and County Libraries in partnership with Music Generation Waterford; the WHAT Sessions, featuring classical, trad and jazz performances by some of Waterford’s top professional musicians; inspiring exhibitions at Garter Lane Arts Centre and University Hospital Waterford (UHW), featuring a broad spectrum of artists based in the south east; Fluorescent Fish, a night-time installation of lanterns in the grounds of UHW; For younger audiences, the Wellies programme invites children to immerse themselves in music making, sound finding, storytelling and illustrations, while the Mic Oscailte/Open Mic provides a platform for younger people to share their songs, poetry and stories with their peers. The always popular festival flagship event We haven’t had an earthquake lately, supported by The Book Centre Waterford, moves online this year, and will be led once again by the inimitable Catherine Drea.

Speaking at the online launch of the festival programme, Cllr Eddie Mulligan, Deputy Mayor of Waterford said “My heartiest congratulations to all involved for managing to bring the Well Festival to fruition this year, despite the current challenges we all face. Being here today has already added to my wellbeing for the day, and I’m really looking forward to participating in many of this year’s Well Festival events.”

Claire Meaney, Director of Waterford Healing Arts Trust, thanked Cllr Mulligan and added “We are delighted to be able to present the Well Festival in this most challenging of years. In this extraordinary year, we have been reminded how valuable the arts are for lifting our spirits and nurturing our wellbeing. Of course, the festival has been re-imagined somewhat, in line with public health advice, but this has also given us the opportunity to present new events in new ways, and to embrace all that today’s technology can offer.”

Sile Penkert, Executive Director of Garter Lane Arts Centre, added “Garter Lane is delighted to have the opportunity to continue to connect with Waterford audiences and artists through the Well Festival. Now, more than ever, we need to engage with audiences and to give artists the opportunity to make and showcase their work. We hope people will find our programme inspiring enough to invest their time in joining us for this year’s Well Festival and we look forward to welcoming everyone to our many events”.

Highlighting some of the Waterford City and County Libraries’ events, Sinéad O’Higgins, Manager of Central Library, commented “Libraries have a unique place at the heart of our communities, welcoming everyone and helping to contribute to local culture. For this year’s Well Festival, we are working closely with Music Generation Waterford to show the many ways that music can help you feel good and we see our work with T.V. Honan on Art of the People as a positive response to the Covid-19 disruption of the arts and artists. We hope that all of our events will not only feed imaginations, but also start conversations around the impact the arts can have in these very different times.”

The Well Festival of Arts and Wellbeing is funded by the Arts Council, the HSE and Waterford City and County Council, with generous support from Sanofi. Renew: Arts and Older People, the new programme strand for 2020, is funded by Creative Ireland under their Creativity in Older Age programme. The festival is presented by Waterford Healing Arts Trust, Garter Lane Arts Centre and Waterford City and County Libraries. The full festival programme is available at

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