The festival said last year that the RTê_ National Orchestra, the only Irish group large enough for its purposes, would cost too much to hire.
Musicians plan to picket the festival again this year, according to John Swift, the secretary of the Musicians' Union of Ireland. "I think we will eventually win on this issue," he said. "Our pickets are spoiling the whole thing for them."
The Irish Arts Council has also expressed concern about the issue, cutting its funding to the festival in the past in part because of a failure to hire Irish musicians. In a memo to the council last fall, Wexford chief executive Jerome Hynes said that the festival was working to add more Irish artists to its lineup, but insisted that its artistic independence should not be compromised.
The 54-year-old festival on the southeastern coast of Ireland is known for its performances of operatic rarities. It runs from October 20 to November 6 this year.