In light of the public health emergency and the rapidly changing environment that we are living in we have paused the recruitment process and extended the application deadline to May 15th 2020.
Established in 1976, Westport Arts Festival was originally established as an end-of-tourist-season opportunity in September to celebrate and enjoy the vibrant cultural life of this small town. In its first 35 years, the festival established a reputation for hosting a multi-disciplinary eclectic mix of the artistic events were featured, including music, visual arts, theatre, performance, written and spoken word. Five years ago it became clear that a purely volunteer-led enterprise was not sustainable – greater competition, a demand for a more professional approach to the way artists are treated, stronger governance requirements from funders, changes in law, banking and insurance all demanded a change in the way we ran our business.
Rebranded as ‘Westival’, we have invested in the recruitment of professional staff, emphasised marketing and sales, incorporated as a company limited by guarantee and strengthened the program offering. In 2020 Westival hosted 62 events hosting across 28 venues. Re-established as a key festival in the arts calendar in Ireland, Westival was the winner of the 2020 Irish Festival Awards ‘Best Small Festival’. This national recognition reflects the trojan work of a tight professional team, an ambitious board and a well-engaged community. To continue this development, Westival is hiring a Festival Director.
Westival is a work in progress. The recruitment of an Arts Festival Director builds on the work of our first professional director. In 2025 we celebrate 50 years hosting awesome music, performance, art and written word and 50 years inspiring engagement with community and visitors. We look forward to the relationships that the new director will build and the energy and vision they will bring to Westport.
Festival Director Role
The Festival Director is responsible for the overall creative programme, management, finance and administration as well as the operational health of the festival. They should be able to demonstrate a track record in multi-disciplinary arts practice programming, festival management, funding, promotion and community engagement and have a broad appreciation of the best work being done in a range of art practice in Ireland and beyond. The Director will have the opportunity to develop a strong vision of how Westival can deliver an even more ambitious and groundbreaking music and arts programme in Westport, attracting an increasing number of destination visitors and introducing new forms of art and creative thought to local and visitors alike.
Key Areas of Responsibility
- With the support of a board led finance team compile a detailed budget for the forthcoming year for review and approval by the board of Westival.
- Manage the development of the festival program transparently, partnering with a range of available inputs and expertise to deliver great festival performances.
- Coordinate the delivery of an inspiring multi disciplinary festival program that that makes the best use of budget, community resources and production capabilities (i.e. written/spoken word, music and performance, visual arts, etc.)
- Work with the whole team and the community so artists look forward to returning to Westport to expand their contribution to the program.
- Ensure artists participating in Westival have a contract that is clear about how they are treated and what is expected of them when taking part in Westival
- Build year on year relationships with venue partners so that we can continue to host great events in both expected and unexpected locations.
- Plan and resource the recruitment and management of a team of festival professionals in key roles involved in the preparation and roll out of the festival (e.g. production management, administration, box office, artist liaison, etc.)
- Be fair, communicate clearly, give individuals an opportunity to grow and offer helpful feedback to the whole team.
- Support and develop community stakeholder partnerships to help deliver a great community engaged festival every year.
- With the support of a board led finance team source and build sponsorship /funding opportunities in the private sector both locally and through other channels.
- Manage the application processes from a range of available festival project grant funding sources.
- Maintain and implement financial control systems that ensure up to date real time management of Westival finances within budget and the risk appetite parameters.
- Ensure fiscal income/expenditure reports are up to date and available in a timely, accurate format to support the effective governance and decision making of the festival.
- Lead the creation and execution of an integrated, cross-platform marketing strategy that reaches new audiences, sells tickets, builds sponsorship opportunities and donor engagement.
- Manage outward-facing identity, including overseeing materials that showcase the organization to the general public, the press, potential sponsors and other constituencies.
- Oversee digital campaign strategies, digital branding, and social media plans, online sales systems to process program bookings and other revenue streams.
- Offer inspiring leadership and challenge to the whole team, both professional and voluntary.
- Build and sustain, alongside the board, the existing community goodwill and relationships available through the network of local groups, organisations, community institutions and local authority structures.
- Build and sustain the existing volunteer base and ensure that their contributions are welcomed, respected and used in a way that is safe and leverages from them the best out of what they have to contribute .
- Alongside the board build and sustain the existing network of supporters to leverage additional local, regional and national resources for Westival.
The ideal candidate will:
- Have successful designed/delivered artistic experiences which have challenged and delighted audiences.
- Has built collaborative relationships with artists, community and commercial partners.
- Demonstrated capability for operational and budget planning.
- Communicated effectively online/offline with target communities to foster curiosity and loyalty.
- Has proficiency in festival management technical systems including e.g. artist engagement tools, online booking, accounting platforms, etc.
Terms and Conditions
- Flexible part time position.
- 3 year fixed term contract.
- Pro rata industry bench marked salary.
- Salary range; €41,000 - €50,000 depending on experience.
Download your application form HERE.
Download Application Support Information HERE.
Westival is committed to equality for everyone. Westival is an inclusive employer. We value difference and recruit by merit based on fair and open competition. Please clarify in your initial contact with us if we need to take account of any accommodations and supports that may be required as part of the recruitment process.