Goodbye from Lingo

Goodbye from LINGO

For those of you wondering what’s going to happen with LINGO this year, we have some news. We have decided to call a halt to the LINGO festival. This is not a spur of the moment decision – it was one we made after a serious amount of discussion and reflection.

LINGO was first conceived in the latter part of 2013, it set out to raise up the burgeoning spoken word scene across Ireland, bringing the work of artists here to a wider audience and supporting their development. We aimed to do this by positioning them alongside global luminaries, while paying and treating them professionally, and looking for ways to support the creation of new work. We hope we’ve achieved some of these goals.

We knew it would be challenging to run an arts festival. But until we did it, we didn’t fully appreciate the intensity of that challenge. Art itself is hard, organising art is hard, and organising underfunded art is even harder.

We ran the festival as a labour of love. We did this with minimal funding – minimal because we turned down ample opportunities for corporate sponsorship, which we decided (after much debate at the outset) would have changed the integrity and character of the festival. Poets say what has to be said, and we didn’t want to be told how they should say it.

If we’re honest, the organisation and running of the festival on those terms had a knock-on effect on our personal and professional lives, as well as our own output as artists. LINGO as we built it had a cost, but we paid it gladly. We are proud of what we made.

The question we faced after three successful festivals was how to take it forward again. How to further develop and diversify the role, structure & content of the festival. We found ourselves back asking the same question – how to effectively fund our festival without compromising the ideals it set out to uphold? We came to the conclusion that we couldn’t. So, instead of changing what we were, we have decided to let our three years stand as a statement of what is possible, but also as a statement of what is not.

However, we hope that some will see LINGO’s absence as an opportunity to take up the challenge. Go for it. We’ll help. We had faith in an idea, we put all we had into it, and we were overcome by your beautiful response. If you want to make something for the love of it, there are always people who will want it too. LINGO is proof of that.

It is hard for us to let LINGO go. We know that not putting the festival on again will be a disappointment to some people. Apart from the many who have performed at LINGO or expressed an interest in participating, there has been a loyal community of supporters over the three years. It has been a joy to see that community grow.

While we might work together to organise something under the LINGO banner, Shane Koyczan’s visit to Ireland being a case in point, LINGO Festival is no more.

We want to thank everyone who has contributed in any way to making LINGO possible. Apart from the six committee members (Linda Devlin, Erin Fornoff, Kalle Ryan, Phil Lynch, Colm Keegan and Stephen James Smith), there were others involved in the early stages of planning our first festival – we are indebted to your important input. We also value the contribution of those who came on board with their vital skills to assist in the running of various aspects of the three festivals.

To the scores of volunteers who stepped up to help, you have been such a joy to work with over the three festivals and related events. To our funders, sponsors and festival partners, thank you for the support in making LINGO possible. Thanks to you media folks too, for bringing the LINGO project to a wider public.

Our families deserve special mention too, for their patience, tolerance, and encouragement.

And finally, huge heartfelt thanks to every single performer, thank you for your art, and special thanks are owed to our audience – we couldn’t have done it without you!

We thank, thank, thank you all.

The LINGO Team

Join us for the grand farewell gig with Shane Koyczan at Workman’s Club on May 15th (Doors 7.30pm). Tickets start at €16.55 on Eventbrite and are nearly sold out, so grab one now! Shane will be joined by some very special guests that we will announce in the next day or so – expect some luminaries of the Irish spoken word scene who will also perform on the night.