It has been a very busy and exciting Summer for the Harwich Festival. Back in June we ran the Clacton Beside the Seaside Festival. It was one of the hottest days of the year and thousands enjoyed the music stage, buskers, street entertainment and children’s area.
This was quickly followed by the main Harwich Festival which had over 40 events in about 20 different venues. We held 20 ticketed events and sold 1075 tickets and our free Lunch Time Concerts attracted an average audience of 80 people.
The 20cm x 20cm Open Exhibition attracted 520 submissions of artwork from the local community all of which were exhibited. Footfall for the exhibition was recorded at over 800 visitors across 11 days. The Old Bank Studios also recorded a similar footfall for their HF exhibition.
HF17 saw three public art projects, ‘Beached Willow, Urban Knitting and Making Waves. Thousands of local people and visitors enjoyed these works and the Willow Whale, featured on ITV News, and Making Waves are still attracting visitors today.
We also ran a Micro Festival at the Bandstand in Cliff Park called ‘Up to 20’. HF17 opened up performance opportunities to the wider community and 30 artists took part. Their 20-minute performances were spread over 6 days to an average audience of 50. It was good to get the Bandstand back in use.
HF17 invited local film makers to submit short films (no longer than 10 mins in length) to be screened at the Electric Palace as part of the Harwich Shorts Film Festival. 26 films were screened over 4 days with the total recorded audience exceeding 200.
If all of the above was not enough we then proceeded to organise the Dovercourt Beside the Seaside Festival. Again, we were blessed with good weather and it is generally agreed that Dovercourt Seafront and Beach Huts have not been as busy for a very long time. With so many people there were bound to be issues with toilets and lack of catering outlets but these can be fixed for a future occasion. We would like to thank the Beach Hut Association and all the amenities holders for their cooperation.
These activities could not happen without our sponsors, Tendring District Council, Harwich Town Council, Essex County Council and The Essex Community Foundation as well as all our volunteers and interns. The Harwich Festival will be continuing with some of these projects and adding new ones soon. These are exciting times and we would love more people to get involved. If you feel you would like to be part of the Festival please contact us via our website, www.harwichfestival.co.uk, or come into the Box Office in Harwich Library for a chat.
Artistic Director Harwich Festival
Peter Davis Artistic Director Harwich Festival
The streets of Harwich will be lit up once again next month with a festival aimed at promoting the town’s strong links with the Mayflower Ship. Illuminate 2017 will take place on November 24th with a promise from organizers that it will return even bigger and better than last year.
Tendring District Council (TDC) has invited Harwich Festival to run the celebration for the second year and it will involve as many local people as possible using local contacts in performing and creative arts. Schools are being asked to take part by making lanterns and then taking part in the procession and performance.
People will gather at Ha’penny Pier at 6pm with a replica of the Mayflower ship on display and members of the Dovercourt Theatre Group in costume. There will be a torchlight procession led by folk musicians along Kings Head Street to St Nicholas’ Church where a special themed service will be conducted by the Rev Canon Margaret Shaw. Lanterns will be hung in the church; the Illuminate poem will be read and there will be various musical performances as well as readings, hymns and psalms.
The Illuminate Festival was held for the first time last year and the aim was always to repeat following the initial success. The festival is all part of the lead up to 400th anniversary of the Mayflower voyage to America set to be celebrated in 2020. Peter Davis, Artistic Director of the Harwich Festival, said that he is delighted that plans are coming together for another very special evening of celebration.
“We were very pleased when TDC came back and asked us to organise the event again and we are determined that it will be even bigger and better this time around,” he said.
“The response was excellent in 2016 – as was the feedback we received – and this is another chance to bring the community together to celebrate our links with the Mayflower. “We are keen for as many local groups, schools and individuals as possible to get involved in some way.”
The Mayflower was a ship of Harwich and was skippered by Christopher Jones, a local man twice married in St Nicholas’ Church. Harwich was the starting point for the celebrated journey which took the Pilgrim Fathers to America. Mick Skeels, TDC’s Cabinet Member for Leisure and Tourism, said that Illuminate 2017 will be another significant event for Harwich in particular and Tendring as a whole.
“Our list of events just continues to grow and this one has a very special significance for the people of Harwich and Dovercourt,” he added. “I am sure that they will fully support it and it would be great if others from across the District turn out on November 24th”. “Hopefully it could even attract people from outside the area and become a real visitor attraction as we lead up to 2020.”