Beginning humbly in 1993 as a one day event ‘simply to have some fun’, Waterford Spraoi has since become a three-day tradition, not only with the residents of Waterford but with visitors from across the globe. Waterford Spraoi has continued to grow in popularity and size to become one of the best and most renowned Street Art festivals in Ireland.
I’ve been a few times growing up when I’ve been in Waterford visiting my Dad, but this year I got to enjoy it from an adult’s perspective. The amount of hard work that goes in to the planning and preparation is clear and it’s truly a wonderful festival to observe.
What is Spraoi Festival Waterford?
Held annually across the August bank holiday weekend, Waterford Spraoi acts as a platform for Irish and international artists to showcase their incredible talents in a variety of locations throughout the medieval city streets.
The event has become so popular that Spraoi is now a leading Street Art company in its own right, with a purpose-built premises built in the city dedicated entirely to the cause. For three days the city is brought to life and the entertainment is non-stop.
Locals volunteer themselves to make sure the event is thoroughly enjoyable, safe and goes without a hitch. It is clear that every year the entire community gets behind the Spraoi in every way possible, including sponsorship from local companies.
Going from strength to strength each year, Waterford Spraoi now attracts over 100,000 people to the city for the event over the course of the weekend.
Whilst access to the event is completely free, there are collections running and the recommended donation to keep Waterford Spraoi going is just 5 euro – a measly sum when you see just how much effort goes in to the entertainment provided throughout the course of the weekend.
Performances are provided by (to name but a few); orchestras, brass bands, choirs, dancers, acrobats, circus acts, cover bands, street theatre performers and so many more. There are also exhibitions, workshops, classes and interactive games and gigs in the local bars and pubs. There really is something for everyone, of every age, at any time!
Spraoi Festival Waterford Parade and Firework Display
The weekend culminates in a parade of the artists and a series of creative floats pass through the city ending at the Quay, where the public are then treated to a fantastic firework display that gets better year after year. The company providing the fireworks this year was Pyro Fantasia – and the display was breath taking and really great to watch.
Each year a theme is selected, and 2019’s was ‘All at Sea’. If you’re ever in Waterford in August, this is definitely worth heading down to. You wont be disappointed.
As you can see, a lot of work and passion went in to creating these wonderful floats. I can never quite believe how good they are each year. It’s very hard to pick a favourite because they were all so good; but I especially like the yellow submarine and the turtle, because turtles are my all-time favourite animals.
The weekend is always a great success, and this is down to the passion of the organisers and volunteers and the support of the public attending. Unfortunately it was cancelled for 2020 due to Covid, but here’s to hoping something can be done for 2021! It would be such a shame to miss another year of this wonderful tradition.
Have you ever been in Waterford for Spraoi? Do you have any Street Art festivals that take place local to you? Let me know in the comments below!
Peace & Love