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Festival-tastic: Arts Council England supports great festivals

  • Date: 29 May 2013
  • Artform: All, Combined arts, Dance, Literature, Music, Theatre, Visual arts
  • Area: South East, South West
Trolleys, C12 Dance Theatre. Performing at this year's Fuse Festival Trolleys, C12 Dance Theatre. Performing at this year's Fuse Festival, Photo by Irven Lewis

This summer is set to be a great one with a broad and exciting range of festivals in our region, from the pebbly beaches of Brighton to the historic seaside South towns of Dover and Deal, funded by Arts Council England.

So far this May, we've seen internationally renowned Brighton Festival (4 to 26 May), an Arts Council England National portfolio organisation, take over the streets of Brighton with celebrated poet, writer, broadcaster and former Children's Laureate Michael Rosen as Guest Director. This year's Festival saw 370 performances and 154 events in 30 venues across the city, bringing thousands of visitors to the city and generating £20 million to the local economy.

We've also seen Grants for the arts-supported The Great Escape Festival (16 to 18 May) - over 350 bands in 30 venues in three days in Brighton - and Grants for the arts-supported HOUSE 2013 visual arts festival (4-26 May) - with new commissions from Lead Artist Mariele Neudecker and artists Shipton and Fitton, Andrew Kötting with Anonymous Bosch, Emma Critchley, and David Wightman.

If you missed those, the great news is that there are plenty more festivals to choose from. Here is a selection of six of the best and brightest festivals yet to come.  The Arts Council supports these festivals either through our National Lottery funded Grants for the arts scheme or through National portfolio organisation funding

Fuse Medway Festival: 14 to 16 June 2013

Fuse Medway Festival, the free outdoor entertainment festival for the people of Medway and beyond, is set to fill the streets with exciting and surprising happenings over Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the public spaces of Chatham, Rochester and Gillingham.

This year's line-up of events includes C-12 graceful ballet for five shopping trolleys; Lost in Translation Circus's steampunk circus spectacular; The Fuse Big Picnic, a day of family-oriented activities, workshops and performances at Rochester Castle Gardens and the world's only eight-foot baby Obobee bird from The Flying Buttresses.

Fuse kicks off with Lighting the Fuse (8 to 13 June), a week of workshops and performances in schools and communities, including a tour of a show specially produced for Fuse by London's Central School of Speech & Drama. Three innovative performances have been specially created for Fuse by local artists.

Deal Festival of Music and the Arts: 28 June to 7 July 2013

The 31st edition of Deal Festival brings together classical and contemporary music, theatre, opera, cinema and dance to Deal and Dover. This year’s festival programme includes Tokyo String Quartet, Kora master Sura Susso, Voces8, Aurora Orchestra, Britten’s centenary celebrations, Opera Projects’ La Traviata and the premiere of The Changeling Theatre Company’s (in association with English Heritage) Richard III at Dover Castle. 

The Festival also run education outreach programme PyramiDeal, which is supported with a £54,720 Arts Council England Grants for the arts award. Last year PyramiDeal reached 1,400 young people from 30 schools around Deal, Dover and Sandwich. As part of this year’s Festival programme, children and young people will perform in The Sea on 28 June, a Young Persons Platform on 29 June, and The Burning of the Boats on 2 July.

Gravesham Fusion Festival: 29 June 2013

This new culturally diverse community event Gravesham Fusion Festival, supported with an Arts Council England Grants for the arts award, comes to Gravesham. The free event will take place in the Community Square between 1pm and 6pm. It aims to bring together diverse communities of the borough through music, food and dance.

The event is organised by Cohesion Plus, a community group that aims to promote positive community relations in Kent by bringing communities together through the arts, public education and sport, in partnership with Gravesham Borough Council and Kent Equality Cohesion Council.

Hat Fair: 5 to 7 July 2013

Hat Fair, the country's longest running festival of street theatre, will take over the streets of Winchester. The best of street theatre will pop up round every corner, and Hidden Hat Fair will take new performances to spaces that have never seen theatre before.

This year's events include Small Wonders, I Do presented by Dante or Die, Memory Point(s) presented by Platform 4, Where Did It All Go Right? by Ponydance and Mercurial Wrestler by Magna Mysteria. In the High Tea Theatre Tent, primary school children and their families can enjoy more Hat Fair madness away from the crush. Hat Fair is an Arts Council England National portfolio organisation.

Tunbridge Wells Mela: 7 July 2013

This year's Tunbridge Wells Mela will take place on 7 July on Calverley Grounds, Tunbridge Wells and is supported with an Arts Council England Grants for the arts award.

The event is organised by Cohesion Plus, who is planning other culturally diverse events, supported with Arts Council funding, including Gravesham Party on the Prom on 20 July 2013 and Maidstone Mela on 8 September 2013.

Broadstairs Folk Festival: 9 to 16 August 2013

Broadstairs Folk Festival runs over 70 events a day for a wide range of audiences in this Isle of Thanet coastal village, including performances, concerts, gigs, dance and music and workshops, sing-alongs, young people friendly events, dances, ceilidhs, comedy and more. The festival is supported with an Arts Council England Grants for the arts award.

Just a few of the many incredible acts and opportunities on offer include Cajun Dawgs, poet and singer Rob Barratt, Yoruba Womens Choir, Colum Sands, Maz O'Connor and Fay Hield and the Hurricane Party