Wiltshire Publications

Successful Westbury Music and Arts Festival swings to an end

Opus One performing at WMAF 2014

Opus One Swing Band performing at WMAF 2014

THEseventhWestbury Music and Arts Festival has come to an end for another year, and organisers are celebrating a triumphant string of events. 

The festival traditionally came to its climax with a performance from Opus One Swing Band at the Paragon Hall on Sunday 12th October, following a week just as packed as the previous.

The festival’s final week saw concerts from John Law and Nick Sorenson, the Westbury school choirs, Phil Cooper, and Rattlesnake Highway. There were a number of quieter activities taking place too, with afternoon tea, poetry readings, an art workshop, a history walk through Westbury Leigh, and the much anticipated ‘All Quiet on the Westbury Front’ community play.

This year’s programme boasted a huge 29 events over 16 days and 15 venues, and had the highest attendance ever.

The Westbury Music and Arts Festival, set up in 2007, prides itself on offering a wide variety of events that can appeal to people across the community. It is dedicated to showcasing local talent and entertaining local people. The festival is a not-for-profit organisation and is run by an independent committee of volunteers, chaired by Westbury town councillor Ian Cunningham.

Ian said, “It has, without doubt, been our most successful festival ever! We had nine events that were sold out entirely and nearly all were pleasingly full. About 4,000 people attended festival events and pre-bookings exceeded last year’s total. We felt that we made a significant improvement in our visibility. Our online presence was the biggest change – online sales this year were over £1,800 compared with £38 last year and 0 the year before that! We also ventured into online streaming which was an interesting new facility for the festival.

“Through kind sponsorship from HPH Commercial, Hills Group & Elkins Ford, as well as support for specific events by Henleys Medical and Cooperative Funeralcare, we were able to offer some of most popular events entirely free or at less than cost. Additionally, our Arts Council grant has paid for new equipment that will allow us to be more flexible when staging events.

“We’ve already had lots of enquiries from artists and organisations within the town asking about getting involved with the festival, because of the high profile we achieved. We’re really pleased because the festival is all about building and showcasing the community. Finally, although we had a bigger committee than ever, we are still looking for more members – during the six week run-up to the festival we can never have enough people who know the plans, so if you are interested please contact ianfestival@c-and-o.co.uk”

To see what went on at the festival or find out more about getting involved with next year’s event, visit the Facebook page or go to www.wmafestival.co.uk.