New funding for popular festival

St Leonards Festival 2016. Photo by Sid Saunders SUS-170613-125856001
St Leonards Festival 2016. Photo by Sid Saunders SUS-170613-125856001

The popular St Leonards Festival has been given a welcome boost this year in the form of funding from Arts Council England.

The festival will take place on the evening of Friday, June 30 and all day Saturday, July 1, with an electric line-up of acts and entertainment.

The event is brought to you by Hastings Borough Council along with London-based creatives, 111 Collectiff, for the second year running.

This year’s theme of ‘Invention/REInvention’ celebrates the town’s unique assets, as well as businesses, schools, community groups and local artists. The festival is set to be the most innovative and exciting yet, with art at the heart and local talent in abundance.

Last year provided a catalyst for embedding accessible art in non-art spaces; this year continues with a more diverse programme.

Highlights include The Vegetable Nannies, wheeling an ancient Victoria pram laden with a prized collection of ‘Vegetable Babies’. Brought to you by the wonderfully quirky Plunge Bloom, expect to meet Magnus the downhill-skiing watermelon and Jessica the award-winning sweet potato queen.

Another highlight is The Inventor’s Handbook, a major participatory arts project for young people, distributing blank sketchbooks to schools, and gathering and exhibiting responses in a library of ideas, inventions and art books in a unique exhibition at The Lucy Bell Gallery.

Also at the 2017 festival, the Aunties are back to re-think ‘Wellbeing’, providing uplifting, feel-good comical interaction, kindness and lots of biscuits at Siren on Norman Road; In Our Hands will use award-winning puppetry crafted from recycled materials at Kino Teatr; HeadFirst Acrobats will fly in from Australia to showcase their unique blend of virtuoso acrobatics; and Pickled Image return with their delightful granny as well as the Big Bad Wolf.

The St Leonards Dog Show will be back by popular demand, with the winning dogs being offered the chance to be part of the festival parade led by Hastings mayor Judy Rogers.

In partnership with Sussex Concepts, there will be a bigger than ever Kings Road market featuring a community stage with local musical talent throughout the day on Saturday, as well as its usual wondrous mix of food, clothing and gifts.

Visit stleonardsfestival.org/whats-on for details.

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