- Date: 9 October 2009
- Artform: Literature
- Area: South West
The fifth annual festival was hosted at St Germans and organised by Catherine St Germans, Simon Prosser, Rick Worthy and James Flint, and supported by a grant of £69,000 from Arts Council England, South West.
Although the heavy summer rains started on the first day of this fifth annual festival, they could not dampen the enthusiasm of artists, performers and audiences. The programme filled three days with activities from morning to night on the five stages and throughout the house and gardens. These ranged from appearances by authors, including Rosie Boycott discussing Our Farm: A Year in the Life of a Smallholding, to the Sir John Betjeman Poetry Slam where the audience judged which of 12 poets won the £250 prize.
Writer and actress Sophie Woolley performed her one-woman show featuring monologues and standalone character pieces representing ICA at Port Eliot, while the Port Eliot Film Tent Short Film Competition screened, judged and awarded prizes for films made during the festival.
Events such as Talkaoke, ‘the thinking-person’s karaoke’ offered audiences the opportunity to participate, as did The House of Fairy Tales, which included 100 workshops and performances by more than 50 characters to entertain and inspire children.
There were also Wild Food Forages with food expert Marcus Harrison, who walked the estate in search of free wild food.
‘The authors are all very accessible at Port Eliot and there is no division between artists and audiences,’ commented Rick Worthy.
Literary consultancy TLC also offered to assess manuscripts and new writers were able to make an appointment to meet a professional writer or editor to discuss their work. This achieved one of the premises of the Arts Council England, South West grant of promoting exchanges between evidently successful authors and aspiring, local writers.
A total of 3,943 visitors attended the festival with over 2,400 camping over the three days and some 200, 600 and 370 visiting for the day on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday respectively. Over 300 tickets were sold in the village and the remainder were sold to visitors travelling to Port Eliot from across the region and the rest of the country.
‘While the premise of the festival is entertainment and having fun with words, it had a really good outcome artistically,’ concluded Rick.