Thursday, July 11, 2013

What Arts Festival?...

I wasn't going to say any of this publicly, but it's been bubbling up inside me for a while now and I feel that the time is right to speak....
The original Tonbridge Arts Festival started life as a literary festival which, granted, was a little too narrow. It morphed into a very decent ten day coordinated series of events held together by a common purpose: to bring the folk of Tonbridge out to appreciate some of the finer things in life and to be properly funded and supported by the community. Yes there were tribute bands and The Three Degrees but there were also evenings of orchestral music and projects like the Big Picture and Dancing in the Street which hit people in the face with wonderful images, involving them and giving them something to ponder on. There were very well attended poetry nights, a lovely evening of short films; art exhibitions, schools events, a literary day on the castle lawn with talks by great authors which was like a mini day at Hay on Wye Lit Fest right here in Tonbridge. There was pottery, ceramic arts, printing and demonstrations of other visual arts on the Lawn. K College, many local schools, Tonbridge School, and Tonbridge council were all among the many groups and hard working individuals involved. Last year's was a great effort but the momentum has perhaps been lost this year and it needn't have been so. Although I somehow doubt it, I do sincerely hope that this momentum is regained for next year's event because last weekend's effort was no Arts Festival, just a few sporadic events occurring over a weekend. Having a business is all about making a decent amount of money but you cannot judge an arts festival on how much profit it makes; that's not the point of it. The bigger events with mass appeal should fund the events which need to be encouraged like poetry, like local band nights and classical music and short film nights. The organisers may not ultimately achieve it but I believe it is their purpose to have a go at stretching the intellect and imaginations of the community. Isn't that after all what "The Arts" are all about. Oh yes and I'd even put up with a fake Freddie Mercury if they made a real effort towards that goal.... 

6 comments:

Paul Bailey said...

Who needs an Arts Festival when there's a beer festival taking place this weekend with almost 150 different beers to tempt your tastebuds?

Just get yourselves down to Tonbridge Juddians Rugby Club for the chance to sample some of the best beers the South East has to offer!

Brett said...

At last a sensible post Paul :-) Will be there from Saturday afternoon sampling the local beers and listening to the local bands.

And as for the Art Festival - seems to be down to supply and demand - people *gasp* like listening to tribute bands and so events are put on and then they are near to sell out... If the Art festival was in such demand then events would of been put on - maybe contact the Tonbridge Town team to see if anything can be done to enhance it next year?

Jane Doe said...

Sounds like sour grapes from snobby culture vultures! Killer queen was a fantastic night with everyone coming together to enjoy themselves and enjoy their town. Well done to whoever organised it!

Paul Bailey said...

Agreed Jane, most of this so-called "art" reminds me of "Pseud's Corner" in Private Eye. Piles of bricks and un-made beds, what a load of Jackson Pollocks!

Continuing on the subject of my original comment, the SIBA Beer Festival down at Tonbridge Juddians, was very busy last night and the organisers were well pleased with how it was al going. I'll be heading back down there tonight when there'll be some live music on as well.

Peter Ellis said...

Without the committee of the Arts Festival getting involved this year there wouldn't have been anything going on.

The Arts Festival is a bi-annual event but this year the committee took on the role from TMBC

manofkent said...

I think you will find that TMBC have put on the weekend concerts at the Castle for over 10 years and I am sure that they have funded this years event and put it on with or without the Arts Festival committee.