Wantage Summer Festival in new hands
Wantage Summer Festival is a regular fixture in the cultural calendar in the Wantage, Grove and the surrounding villages. It runs for one month, starting from the first Saturday in June.
The aim of Wantage Summer Festival is to raise awareness of the wealth of enthusiastic organisations, groups and individuals in the area, to celebrate their talents and to provide opportunities for the community to enjoy a varied programme of events, ranging from music and drama to crafts, photography, historical talks, heritage walk plus much more. As well as the core participants who provide the backbone of the programme, the Festival is keen to showcase the not so well-known smaller specialist groups, often combining workshops which give the opportunity to learn a new skill.
Wantage Summer Festival is a regular fixture in the cultural calendar in the Wantage, Grove and the surrounding villages. It runs for one month, starting from mid-June (in 2016 from 11th of June). 5,000 to 7,000 people join our Festival events each year to celebrate their summer with us!
The Wantage Summer Festival celebrates its 21st birthday in 2016 and has become a popular fixture in the cultural calendar. The area has a wealth of creative talent and knowledge, and the remit of the Festival is to provide entertainment and education which in turn showcases the many organisations in this area.
Wantage Summer Festival is a non-incorporated, not for profit organisation/charity and is run by volunteers. The Festival Committee acts as a coordinator and ensures that a balance of events is achieved. The Festival produces the programme and tickets (if required) and organise publicity and promotion. The Festival Committee provides services free of charge to participants (event organisers and venue providers). The Festival does not seek to make a surplus from ticketing as all income from ticket sales goes to the relevant participants. Wantage Summer Festival is only possible thanks to the continuous support of the Wantage Town Council and the Vale of White Horse District Council. All new, additional ideas (for example 2016 test programmes) are funded from individuals donations of our Committee.
The Festival is committed to promoting workshops, entertainment, education and family-friendly events. We support recreation, culture and leisure, and town vitality. The Festival fosters a sense of community, gives a sense of unity, pride and achievement. It provides opportunities to gain knowledge, learn new skills and to take part in activities which benefit social cohesion and raises awareness of the diverse groups and societies in the area. The Festival is particularly useful for those people who have just moved to the area. Some 5000-7000 people attend the Festival in previous years.
However, following the retirement of the Chairman & Programme Co-ordinator, Julia Reynolds, it looked as though Wantage Summer Festival would not run again.
Now rescuers have stepped forward to keep the light of the Wantage Summer Festival going. Sylwia Korsak (prev. Presley), a social media, tech and business consultant, reporter and photographer who lives in Wantage, and Linda Baines, who lives in Grove, is a Community Ambassador for OCVA, have stepped into the breach. At the Festival’s AGM which was held at The Beacon, Wantage on 30 April 2015, Sylwia and Linda were appointed co-chairs of a new committee.
“Sylwia and Linda will bring new energy and fresh ideas to the Festival”, said Julia Reynolds. “They will be able to ensure that Wantage Summer Festival can develop in new ways as well as build on its existing success.”
Sylwia and Linda will be responsible for undertaking the main the work and will be advised by a new committee. As well as new members, Gurmukh Randhawa and Erika Montenegro, Jean and Peter Kent, who sat on the former committee, have agreed to stay on to help Sylwia and Linda settle in and to share their knowledge and expertise.
The Wantage Summer Festival committee are committed to promoting family orientated events, culture and leisure, recreation and education. New initiatives and opportunities are being sought to ensure the Festival remains dynamic and to promote the vitality of Wantage, Grove and the villages.
“We are aware of the fact that it is too late to plan the Festival for 2015 but we are keen to spend this summer understanding the past and present of this event. We are holding open meetings for groups and organisations who have taken part in the Festival in previous years,”Linda Baines, “and we are encouraging new organisations and potential participant to share their ideas with us ready for to hold the Festival in 2016”.
“We are setting up a new website for the Festival which will feature a gallery of all our past events and a dedicated media pack”, commented Sylwia Korsak, “and we will be using Facebook and Twitter to promote the Festival and the events which local voluntary and community groups in Wantage and Grove are holding in June 2015. If you want your event to be featured on our website please fill out this form here. We will be sending regular newsletters too, so please share this one with your friends”.
The open meetings will be held on Wednesday, 8 July 2015 at 7 pm (to RSVP click here) and on Wednesday 15 July at 6 pm (to RSVP click here) at the King Alfred’s Head pub.
Our festival is taking time off this summer but we are still here to support your community events – if you want your 2015 event to be featured on our website please fill out this form.
In June and July 2016, the Festival aimed to:
- Continue the legacy of the last 20 years in promotion, featuring and documenting of local heritage, talents, and organisations;
- Promote Wantage and the area outside of our region;
- Promote the open and inclusive nature of the Festival by engaging with current and new participants;
- Broaden the core themes of the Festival to reach out to the new audiences;
- Engage and involve young people, children, and families.
- Offer volunteering opportunities.
WORD FROM THE 2017 COMMITTEE
“Wantage Summer Festival is a community-based summertime showcase for individuals, groups, and organisations in Wantage and the surrounding area to showcase and celebrate their talents, skills and expertise to local residents and visitors”
Linda Baines, Co-Chair
“Wantage Summer Festival is our little gem. We must all preserve it, care for it and make it shine!”
Sylwia Korsak, Co-Chair
In 2017 Linda Baines and Sylwia Korsak stepped down so the Festival is currently looking for its new leadership.
Don’t forget: Wantage Summer Festival is Your Festival.
We collect all new ideas in this public notepad.
Based on our past 20 years we have identified six core themes:
- ARTS AND CRAFTS,
- LOCAL HERITAGE AND COMMUNITY,
- GREEN AND NATURE,
The aim of Wantage Summer Festival is to raise awareness of the a wealth of enthusiastic organisations, groups and individuals in the area, to celebrate their talents and to provide opportunities for the community to enjoy a varied programme of events, ranging from music and drama, to crafts, photography, historical talks, heritage walk plus much more. As well as the core participants who provide the backbone of the programme, the Festival is keen to showcase the not so well-known smaller specialist groups, often combining workshops which give the opportunity to learn a new skill.
FESTIVAL CORE VALUES
Community, Respect, Inclusiveness
By and About Wantage,
Respect for Wantage Heritage,
Celebration of All Local,
Inclusiveness of Established and New Talents,
Openness to New Ideas.
“By Wantage and About Wantage” – Grassroots Festival
In your words Wantage Summer Festival is (as recorded at open meetings held on 8 and 15 July 2015)
- A celebration of local arts.
- An opportunity to showcase the diversity of local arts.
- An opportunity to promote local arts.
- An opportunity to network, share resources and develop local arts.
- An opportunity for local arts groups to recruit and engage participation by others, especially young people.
- A month long celebration of the history of Wantage, its offerings to the community and wider area.
- What draws people to Wantage (tourism/business/leisure).
- What can it highlight in terms of facilities and activities for children/young people and support and can it provide for its older (sometimes alone) older community when the NHS and Social Services cannot step in….
- Brining the communities together.
- Encouraging businesses to be involved.
- Celebrating talents, arts, creativity.
- Identifying what truly makes Wantage a great place to work, live and enjoy ‘me’ time and family time.
- Open for all groups/organisations to showcase themselves. Include all aspects of ‘ART’ – music, drama, craft etc. All age groups.
- Marketing/advertising etc. – The Festival programme of events is published and available at the Library, the Museum and perhaps other outlets, but the individual events would benefit from e.g. banners/display boards at the premises during the lead-up to the day itself. All such notices to include the Festival logo. Also, announcements at the event to include the link to the Festival. (Sometimes in the past, the audience would have been more aware of this.). If the Festival organisers are unable to provide a representative at the event, perhaps some advance guidance could be offered for the MC – also notes from the Festival for e.g. concert programmes.
- A space to celebrate summer.
- Brings out/shows the best of Wantage and Grove.
- Brings out/shows community spirit.
- A party.
- Pimms No. 1/champagne/Prosecco.
- Variety of activities and things to do.
- WSF is great as it is a lot of different events and activities under a familiar heading.
- It appeals to all ages ranging from storytelling in the Library to the Letcombe Singers, Camera Club, exhibitions, picture framing, and so much more.
- “I like the fact that it involves the whole community and is for the whole community”.
- I like it the way it has been.
- I also like the programme, just changing the colour each year is brilliant as people learn to identify it and look for it coming through the door.
- Provides an opportunity for local singers, musicians and artisans to perform and display their wares.
- It can inform the local community of what is available in the local area, while at the same time providing entertainment and a chance to engage everyone in arts and crafts.
- An event/occasion that brings people in this community together for enjoyment. It might also: promote Wantage businesses – gift shops, coffee shops, restaurants etc. as well as history, beauty; and support local charities through fundraising.
- Entertainment – This may not be the uppermost in the minds of all, but if people do not enjoy it, it will not get off the ground.
- An opportunity to demonstrate the considerable artistic talent in our midst.
- Publicity – It is desirable that people with a particular artistic bent meet others with similar interests.
- Publicity for Wantage – It is a good place to live and people should know this.
- Community based event(s).
- Participation for all.
- Celebrate/showcase local sets – groups/businesses/areas/landmarks.
- Encourage use of wide range of Wantage based facilities and areas indoors and outdoors.
- One or two signature /large participatory events amongst smaller fringe items spread over period of weeks.
- Should involve as many age groups as possible.
- Opportunities to showcase different skills and talents to encourage more participation.
- Good publicity for the town.
- Mix participating events with performances.
- Grassroots festival celebrating and promoting community and individual talent.
- Could include businesses (not too commercial).
- All ages from young to elderly doing and being involved – performance events, workshops, exhibitions.
- Reaching out to all drama/music/crafts/clubs to bring what they do to a wider public.
- A celebration of local talent in the community that brings together families, businesses and all in the community of Wantage, Grove and the surrounding area.
- A ‘showcase’!
- Gives the people of Wantage a chance to make their mark on the world without losing their own originality.
- It also allows people to make friends who have similar interests.
- A celebration of the community of Wantage. In particular, it celebrates and presents the skills, knowledge and abilities of the people, groups, and clubs in Wantage.
- A flexible (to cope with the weather) community celebration of life in our area.
- Is there a potential conflict with “Not just the Betjeman Festival”, or this not happening in 2016? This will affect the operation of the events that are chosen.
- Do we have money to attract a “celebrity” to give publicity to the event?
- What was successful in earlier years? Do some of them bear repeating?
- A forum and framework to display the range of cultural activities available in the town.
- To encourage the greatest range of widely defined “cultural activities” and to involve public and individual demonstrations.
- To encourage practical involvement and stimulates exhibitions/demonstrations and public practices.
- To include opportunities for new ventures and to widen the inclusiveness – no holds barred.
- To establish more venues for public evidence of public activities.
- A celebration of summer and arts through diverse activities and performances (hopefully many outdoors workshops/performances).
- A community event.
- The best of early summer.
- Events to go to locally in early summer.
- New things to do and experience.
- For Wantage and the surrounding villages.
- For business – supporting local organisations and groups.
- For young people – opportunities to perform.
- For voluntary and community groups to hold events and gain publicity, and possibly new members.
- Promotion for the community and celebration of Wantage and the surrounding areas.
- A celebration of local “treasures” and community.
- A series of seemingly unrelated events run around and converging nicely. What is the theme? Nature? Art?
- A time for the Town to take pride in itself (and get out of its shell).
- Music, visual arts, crafts, good food and drinks. More music!
- A celebration of Wantage community.
- Open, inclusive and designed to bring people together.
- An event that I have been aware of during the six years I have lived in Wantage.
- Would like it to include more activities for families and children.
- Historically, I have had an impression that a lot of the activities have been at times and on subjects for older people. So I’m not saying don’t do that. I just mean times and subjects that would appeal to families, particularly those in junior school age.
- I would also like to see activities around health and fitness, music, workshops to teach people crafts or learn a new subject. Also some indoor events in case the weather is not good.
- A programme of events using a variety of venue, offering entertainment and participation of people of all ages, encompassing the talent of the many groups which exist within and around the town.