Arundel Festival is all set to be a ‘ten-day street party’ this year, with a stunning line-up of events for all the family running from August 19-28 and bringing the whole community together.
The award-winning festival, which scooped the title of Festival of the Year in 2016, is right at the heart of the community and the committee has put in huge efforts to ensure this year’s event will be better than ever.
It’s the first year as chairman for Michael Tu, a former mayor of Arundel, and he is brimming over with enthusiasm about the late-summer extravaganza.
“The best thing is that it’s a real community event,” Michael says, “covering such a wide range of arts and theatre and entertainments. We have expanded it into some vintage events at the weekends.”
The programme, with its stunning front cover by local artist Andy Waite, is already widely available throughout the town and is also available online at www.arundelfestival.co.uk/bookings for the events coming in thick and fast.
It’s an impressive programme for a town which punches above its weight, Michael says: “People forget the population of Arundel is only about 3,500. You meet people who have heard of Arundel and think it must be something like 10-20,000, but it is not. It is just that Arundel has such a big profile across the county and the country.”
As always, the festival is built around the constant favourites which appear every year, including the ever-popular Arundel Gallery Trail and the well-established theatre trail, a chance to see eight plays a day over eight days.
There will also be a festival production from Drip Action Theatre Company which this year is staging a Tom Stoppard, plus a run from the Arundel Players who are offering Chess: The Musical. There will be Shakespeare at the Castle, marking the 950th anniversary of Arundel Castle’s initial construction.
There will also be a busy programme of Words and Music in Private Houses, plus events, as usual, in the Arundel Jailhouse.
“These are things we have built up over the years, but there are also more recent things, too,” says Michael. “The Jubilee Gardens music has become a focal point of the festival, and there is a lovely atmosphere there every day that’s open, plus this year we are trying to add some cinema as well.”
“We did the Dragon Race last year for the first time, and it was hugely popular. We are looking forward to doing that again.”
“During both weekends and on bank holiday Monday the streets of the town are alive with jugglers, singers, stilt walkers, magicians, bands, Morris dancers and many other talented artists who entertain the visitors in style.”
“The atmosphere of Arundel is lovely when the roads are closed. We have built up a whole list of acts over the years. Some come back each year and some are new. Children love the street theatre, spontaneous things happening in front of them, and we have some lovely acts this year from across the country.”
“One of the things we were really aware of last year was just how busy it was, and everything went so well. I think this year is more a case of polishing a bit, of titivating a bit.”
“We almost got to the point where the town was full. We thought we can’t really grow much bigger in terms of events without strain on the town. We want to be manageable, not growing significantly beyond what we have. We just want to be able to do things just a little bit better. Polish was the word I came up with!”
Also, on Wednesday 23rd Aug at 6.00p.m there is a two hour circular guided walk in Arundel Park. Meet top entrance to Arundel Park where there is free parking. It’s a reasonable walking surface, with some hills. Unfortunately no dogs. No booking needed. More information is available from Hilary Knight – 01903 883400..
Join the 10 day street party from 19th – 28th Aug