THE first-ever Swindon Spring Festival has been hailed a success after finishing with a frantic finale full of circus acts, music, magic and drama.

More than 50 events entertained, fascinated and touched the hearts of festivalgoers over the last fortnight which went beyond the world of writing and aimed to bring together the best of Swindon’s entire arts scene.

Organiser Matt Holland decided to expand the town’s successful Festival of Literature to include all forms of the arts after it celebrated its 25th anniversary last year. After carrying out an extensive rebranding and overseeing a packed two-week programme of events, he ended the festival with a spring in his step.

Matt said: “It was a fantastic feast, it was tremendous. I was nervous before the festival started but it was a risk worth taking, my faith in the arts and in Swindonians has been vindicated, all is well. I was really moved and entertained on many occasions and have received a lot of emails and messages from audience members who said the same.

“It has made made me realise that, just as people gradually needed to understand that literature was a good thing to enjoy at a festival, we are now on a whole new journey to cultivate an audience for mixed arts in Swindon, that’s our next challenge.

“The literature events have been as popular as ever and the quality of all our events has been excellent but the audiences for some of the dance and acrobatic shows have been more moderate because people don’t quite know what to expect - but the people who did come loved them.”

The launch of the Creative Swindon Network summed up the festival’s ethos of connecting and working with different community groups in the town’s arts world to develop cultural life in Swindon.

The network's organisers encourage anyone with an interest in the arts to join them by emailing

Matt ran through his personal highlights of the festival: “The Dawn Chorus was wonderful as always, meeting and reading the words of young Jonathan Bryan was incredible, the Everybody show by Revolution Performing Arts was very moving, and the Dance Acrobatics and Circus Theatre evening brought the house down with a standing ovation.

“The experiment of hosting a Festival in the Park at Lydiard Park went amazingly well all the workshops were full, the performances were brilliant, the weather was great and there was no litter or trouble at all.

“The literature talks showed Swindon’s appetite for ideas and information and I’m really pleased that this festival sees science and art intertwining more than ever before. We’ll be back next year ready to do it all again.”