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