Evaluation of the sixth Welborne Arts Festival 10 and 11 June 2006
The theme was ” Building bridges”
“The beautiful quintessential rural Norfolk village of Welborne provides an idyllic setting for Welborne Arts Festival. Even before arriving at the festival the signage, parking and layout of the marquees within the grounds of the church and adjacent village hall communicates the professional approach of the festival organisers. Yet there was nothing officious about this most family-friendly of events where everyone receives a warm welcome. The organisers and artists clearly thoroughly enjoy the weekend as much as the public. There is much to see and do within the deceptively small environs of the festival; professional and amateur artists provide a wide range of visual arts exhibitions, music, readings, demonstrations and talks. There’s something for everyone in a relaxed and informal setting.”
Alistair Winch, Creative Arts East
The total number of people at all the events of Welborne Arts Festival 2006 was around 900, more than ever before, and in spite of a clash with England’s first game in the World Cup.
Generous funding and sponsorship from local and national charities, local councils, the lottery and local businesses met the major costs of the festival. The festival raised income from advertising in the programme, sales of the programme, commission on sales of art and books, catering, sales of concert tickets.
As always, we asked for lessons learnt for the future and will use them in planning future festivals.
Attendance at the festival
The preview evening was very well attended by around 100 people. We were honoured that the Lord Lieutenant of Norfolk formally opened the festival. This was followed by a short concert by choral group, Songbyrd.
[The Lord Lieutenant has now kindly agreed to be Patron of Welborne Arts Festival.]
Saturday daytime attendance was affected by the World Cup, at around 200 people, but Sunday daytime attendance was the highest ever, at over 360. Attendance at the two evening concerts was 54 at each.
Over 100 villagers were involved in some way, including organising, catering, stewarding, greeting, transport, flower arranging, car parking and over 30 people took part in the villagers visual art exhibition.
In addition, 140 children from four local schools (Barnham Broom, Garvestone, Mattishall and Yaxham) took part in the visual art project run for the festival by the Sainsbury Centre.
Achievement of our plans
We delivered all planned activities, as follows:
- Our artist-in-residence, Pat Derrick, created a video of Welborne villagers growing and preparing food and this was shown in the church during the festival. She also performed at the festival. This joint South Norfolk Festivals Network project was organised by South Norfolk Council and Commissions East.
- The Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts gave 140 pupils at four local schools, a day at the Sainsbury Centre followed by visual artists Sarah Florence and Jessica Perry working with the children at their schools. The work by the children was then displayed outside the church at the festival.
- Sheringham Town Crier, Tony Nelson was at the festival all weekend, announcing events and very successfully encouraging people to move to the next activity.
- The Dereham Times, publicised and sponsored a children’s photography competition, donated prizes and published the winning entries. The winning entries, along with 10 other photos, will be included in a calendar to be sold in aid of the festival during autumn 2006
- Readings and book signing by three Norfolk-based authors: Patricia Duncker, Louis de Bernières and Michèle Roberts
- Wymondham Players performed two of their specially commissioned, short plays
- Dereham library brought their mobile library to the festival, storytelling for young children, promoted Bookstart and recruited new members for the library
- A daytime programme of music of all sorts – some in the church and some outside
- Two evening concerts in the church – on Saturday, Laurette Pope, harp, and Lowri Porter, violin and on Sunday, one of folk’s leading singer/guitar pickers, Eddie Walker from Middlesbrough.
- Inspiration in the church including the video by artist-in-residence, Pat Derrick, wonderful flower arrangements and writing by Dereham and District Writers Group, all on the festival theme of ‘Building Bridges’
- Visual art exhibitions by The Norwich Print Fair and North Norfolk Visual Artists Association
- A high quality exhibition of visual art by villagers from Welborne and surrounding villages
- The Grapevine Gallery from Norwich held ceramic painting workshops
Each element of the festival had clearly stated outcomes, but with hindsight there were too many and, in any event, it would not be possible to demonstrate all of them without a great deal of research.
A professional market research company carried out independent research at the festival for the South Norfolk Festivals’ Network. The results of this are not available at the time of writing.
We were successful in obtaining sufficient funding from:
National charity: Ernest Cook Trust (agreed that this grant can be carried forward to 2007)
Local charities: Norwich Town Close Estate Charity, John Jarrold Trust
Lottery funding: Awards for All
Local councils: South Norfolk Council, Norfolk County Council