The first Little Arts Festival

During the ten days of the first Little Arts Festival on Rushlake Green, from 19th – 28th August 2016, we had music gigs, art exhibitions, stage shows, master-classes, poetry cafes, craft fairs, recitals, photo walks, workshops and much more. People of all levels of ability were invited to submit work, take part and have some fun.

 

Big thank you for our brilliant Festival Makers

The 2016 Little Arts Festival has been universally acclaimed as an outstanding success. We had very high levels of attendance, with many of our ticketed events selling out completely in advance. There was a very good response to our free events and lots of people also took part in the classes and workshops organised throughout the week. That enthusiastic response, and the astonishingly high quality of the events throughout the week is a testimony to the incredible levels of creativity, hard work, collaboration and ingenuity shown by our brilliant Festival Makers and contributing artists, performers and makers – and all our amazing volunteers and helpers that made it possible on the day. Far too many to list here but well done and thank you, from a very grateful (and relieved) festival organising team.

Visual Arts

The Art on the Green exhibition again attracted contributions from a great bunch of talented local artists of every level of ability and experience, with several pieces being sold to enthusiastic viewers on the packed opening night preview. Painting and hangings were also featured to great effect on the walls of the Chantry for the recitals there and local art was also on the walls of the White Horse for the poetry cafe. We were delighted when the festival was able to shine a light on so much talent that was all around us.
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Jill Levick’s stunning canvases, John Tyson’s amazing drawings, and the many artists who provided exquisite art pieces for the Open Garden.
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Music

One hidden gem that emerged was the very active early music scene that has grown up around us.
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The Pastores Ensemble, playing period pieces on early instruments; Peter Lay with 19th century guitar music; and Sussex Harmony with choral music and accompaniment complete with period dress.
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We also had all types of genre represented throughout the week: with crazy skiffle and jazz from the irrepressible Skiddle Am Bam; Old English songs from Noel; Wit and melody from Ros and Peter Liddiard; Historical music from the Warbleton Brass Band; 1960s classics from Chris and Friends; Choral music from the Warbleton Community Choir; busking from Chris and others in the Stores; and some cool Funk, R&B and Ska from local band Got Milk.
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Theatre, Literature and Poetry

In addition to the very successful opening live Radio Play, the village players also played host to a drama workshop. Participants workshopped an improvised period piece which, in the evening, was then performed to an invited audience.
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Those attending were impressed by the fluency and the intensity of the resulting performance – achieved entirely without a script. Judy Tarling also chose the Arts Cafe space for her fascinating talk and discussion on the historical development of rhetoric. Continuing the literary theme, Henrietta Garnett provided a unique insight into the Bloomsbury set, and held the audience in rapt attention with her tales of the goings on amongst the Pre-Raphaelites. The book swap organised by the local book clubs proved very popular and the Poetry Cafe, in the White Horse at Bodle Street, encouraged many local poets, of all levels of experience, to share their writing in front of an enthusiastic and attentive audience.

Craft makers

The ‘Crafts in the Making’ day local craft people giving practical demonstrations and talking about Wood-turning, Ceramics, Jewellery, Tapestry and Quilt making, Wool Crafts and Basketry.
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Susie Ramsay-Smith also ran a pottery-throwing workshop in her studio later in the week. Marian Parkyn opened her studio on the first weekend and then invited groups for workshops later in the week. Horam Manor Farm offered a range of family-oriented craft activities and things to see throughout the opening weekend. Pam Fuller also provided a fascinating and highly accomplished demonstration of floral design in front of a very attentive audience of fellow enthusiasts.

Family Creative Day

Kids of all ages were welcome at the creative day in the village hall. Activities included music, story-telling, poetry, dance, knitting, painting, crafts, face painting and generally having fun.

A week of outstanding, sellout events

By the end of the festival week we had completely sold out many of the ticketed events.  Everything was fabulous, so its hard to choose anything to highlight but the ‘Shakespeare’s Soapbox’ talk was a great success; Jill Levick’s wonderful solo art exhibition proved very popular; the recital by Pastores Ensemble was stunning, as was the art backdrop in the Chantry by Sophie; Henrietta Garnett held her audience spellbound in a bravura performance on Tuesday night; and Julia Padbury reported one of her best ever garden attendances for first day of the Open Garden with a Little Art, with music on Thursday by the delightful Hastings Fiddle Choir.
Lots of stories to tell, including Wednesday night’s exceptional Music of 1966 concert which suffered a catastrophic power outage (tree fell on cables next door, creating free fireworks, but nobody was hurt thankfully) during the encore – so the audience rose to the occasion in chorus, joining the musicians in completing the final verses of ‘We all live in a yellow submarine’ by the light of mobile phones. You couldn’t have staged it better, although the blackout didn’t make de-rigging the bands equipment easy.

Earlier in the week, the festival got off to a terrific start with a sensational interpretation by the Village Players of the radio play “welcome to our village – please invade carefully” – which even got itself into the papers. Other first weekend triumphs included the Crafts in the Making event at Bodle Street Green, the busking at the Village Stores, the ‘120 years of Brass’ concert, the Sussex Harmony concert and the Spanish Guitar recital by Peter Lay and Marian Parkyn’s open studio in Vines Cross.

Everyone involved was local

Amongst the local arts groups contributing activities and events to the festival were: the Village Players; the Warbleton Brass Band; Art on the Green; Pastores Ensemble, White Horse Folk Club, the Warbleton Community Choir, Sussex Harmony, Downland Poets, Warbleton History Group and many others including local photographers, poets, artists and musicians who offered to run activities and shows.

Amongst the local arts groups contributing activities and events to the festival were: the Village Players; the Warbleton Brass Band; Art on the Green; Pastores Ensemble, White Horse Folk Club, the Warbleton Community Choir, Sussex Harmony, Downland Poets, Warbleton History Group and many others including local photographers, poets, artists and musicians who offered to run activities and shows.