Monday, 17 March 2014

Behind the scenes at this years' Adur Festival

Hello and welcome to my blog. It’s lovely to see you again. This week, I’m going to take a break from re-publishing, “a day in the life of,” to bring you a report on what goes on behind the scenes at the Adur Festival.
The Adur Festival began in 1987 and, up until 2012, was financed and managed by Adur District Council. In that year, the Council decided that their continued support was unsustainable, so in 2013, Ropetackle Trust, a charitable organization, stepped in to take over.
The Festivals' funding now comes primarily from the Arts Council and Adur District Council. Mella Faye Punchard, Adur Festival Development Coordinator, explained how she tries to bring it together.

Mella Faye Punchard

The festival is a celebration of art and community in Adur, so my role is to reach out to the community to create a sense of unity and cohesion; to match people together to help to create their vision; to assist with funding applications; to advertise the festival and organise some community events, like this years’ street parties.
 The festival can’t grow unless the community takes ownership of it, so in the lead up there are public meetings to decide what the festival should be like.

February’s public meeting at the Ropetackle.

Its got staunch supporters from community groups, like Friends of Shoreham Fort or East Adur Lions Club who organise and manage an event and register it as part of the festival. Then there's the local people, such as Elizabeth Meinert of Pop Gun Productions, who are really important. 
They come forward and say, “What can I do to help develop the festival? I’ve got a plan, how can it fit in? These relationships are much more open and are vital for the festival’s growth.  For instance, I was in the process of organizing a street party in Fishersgate when Elizabeth Meinert offered to help. She’s now taken that over and is applying for funding for a marquee for an exhibition, performances and other community activities during the festival. She’s finding more and more avenues into the local community so Fishersgate can feel like the festival belongs to them.
 I’d love the festival to grow in spectacle and the quality of the arts coming into Adur so we had outdoor performances and street theatre that was at home on the national stage. That’s why part of this year’s budget has gone on the giant snail from Insect Circus and the Black Eagles Acrobats who will appear at the street parties being held on 24th May at Fishersgate Community Centre and Eastbrook School, Pond Road, Shoreham and between Culver Road and Penstone Park Lancing.
     Ultimately, I want each person to feel that they are part of something that makes an awe-inspiring whole. So rather than, for instance, a community music group sitting in a village hall hoping that someone will turn up to their event, they are out on the streets and Spanish acrobats are performing to their music. I’d love Adur to have something like the Winchester Hat Fair. That’s a great role-model.
Thanks you for your time Mella. I’ve already put 24th May in the diary.

Thanks readers for dropping by and see you next week. Ta-ra.

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