Little festival set for bigger things

Little festival set for bigger things

Little festival set for bigger things

First published in News Swindon Advertiser: Photograph of the Author by , @BerenCross

IF Glastonbury started out small and grew into something large, so can the Town Gardens Little Big Festival, according to organiser Josie Williams.

The summer-long programme at the Old Town park is in its second year, with a growing popularity both online and in the surrounding community pushing it on after its first birthday at the weekend.

The prime aim of the festival is to provide the people of Old Town with the chance to express themselves and showcase anything and everything to the public, but the onus is on them to make it happen for themselves.

Josie used the example of Michael Eavis at his Pilton festival, which started out small and grew into the world’s most famous music festival.

“People were very inspired with the festival last year and that’s why we brought it back,” she said.

“These things take some time to settle in. “Look at Glastonbury – that started out very small and grew into this huge event.

“We are not saying we want to make this as big as that, but it’s an example. This is not a commercial festival, remember.

“It will grow slowly. We are giving people the platform to use, if they want it, but the onus is on them to do things for themselves.

“There is no money around anymore to do things, so this is about building communities.”

The idea for the festival came from the headteacher at Commonweal School, Keith Defter, who had seen a festival in Bryant Park, New York, which was a playground for people living in that area.

Josie said Keith was inspired by events being held which included dance, music, chess and art. He then asked Josie, who also works at the school, with making it a reality.

The 2014 festival was launched yesterday, along with a timetable of events for April and May. Schedules for June to September are yet to be established.

The next event in the festival line-up is an art workshop with Nadine Gould, who deals in mixed media based on nature and wildlife. She will be in Town Gardens today from 11am until noon. The entry charge is £3.

Carol Watts, the proprietor at the cafe in the gardens, is in charge of booking music acts for the festival. She said the event provides a unique setting for the artists who attend.

“It’s a nice environment to play music in, on a hot summer’s day,” she said. “Some of them are quite surprised with the acoustics of the bandstand and how well attended it is when the weather is nice.

“At our peak in the summer last year we had 1,000 people coming through the gardens.”

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