Plans for the Romsey Arts Festival in 2014 are gathering momentum, and the next public meeting is being held on Thursday 19th September at 7.30pm in King Johns House. New Chairman Dick Hewett hopes as many planned and potential participants will attend to hear the latest developments.
The Festival will open with an official launch in the Town Hall on Friday 5th July, and then a multitude of performers and artists in a range of venues will fill a packed schedule from Saturday 6th to Sunday 20th July.
This will be the 10th Romsey Arts Festival, and as well as many regular events, some new participants will give the Festival a fresh look. As usual, the Abbey and the United Reformed Church will be at the heart of the Festival, both with an extensive range of concerts, talks and displays. In addition, a wide range of other venues around the town will be used for an extraordinary range of events.
RAODS will be staging Accrington Lads to reflect the 100th Anniversary of the outbreak of World War One, a theme which will be recognised by a number of other participants, including talks and displays related to the ambitious War Horse Project. Even local villages are joining in, with arts displays and concerts already arranged in East Dean, Lockerley, Ampfield and North Baddesley, amongst others.
To publicise the entire Festival, much greater use will be made of web-based communications and social media such as Twitter and Facebook. It is hoped that this will extend the awareness of the Festival much further afield geographically, and also attract those with specialist interests featured during the Festival.
A new website is to be built, with much easier and more flexible search facilities. Supporting this further move into new technology will be a move to on-line ticketing.
“This is an important and essential development if we are to meet the expectations of modern customers”, says Dick Hewett. “Many customers now expect to be able to purchase online at a time convenient to them and without the need to travel to a physical box office.
“Nevertheless, traditional facilities for those who wish to purchase by conventional means will be fully maintained through the Romsey Heritage and Visitor Centre. We are working closely with them, and with Music In Romsey, to introduce a fully co-ordinated and user-friendly system which will meet the needs and expectations of all potential customers.”
Vice-Chairman Liz Wagner is confident that a full and varied programme of events will attract good audiences and extra visitors to the town.
“At this stage we have the core of the Festival scheduled, but we are still discussing with a number of potential participants and venues about events which can help populate the Festival even further, and we are now starting to think about greater variation.”
In particular, the Festival committee are looking for more informal street performers, or talented local up-and-coming performers who would be willing to take a chance in more intimate venues during the Festival. Dance, photography, and sculpture are three other areas which are currently not reflected in the schedule. Local companies are being invited to sponsor the cost of venues, to enable artists and performers with limited funds to put on events during the Festival.
Chairman Dick Hewett would be delighted to hear from any potential participants or sponsors. He can be contacted on 01794 500523.