The town and open spaces of Basingstoke and its surrounding villages hosted nearly a month of activities and entertainment as part of its vibrant arts and cultural programme, from Friday 19 June to Sunday 13 July.
This was the fourth Basingstoke Festival, attracting visitors and local residents alike – to join in its celebration of the very best in arts, entertainment – and food! There were over 114 events held in over 42 venues across the borough, providing the residents and visitors access to a wide range of arts and culture activities, showing off amazing talents and creating a borough-wide sense of community.
The unique line-up included a wide range of music genres and styles, exhibitions of different art forms, comedy nights, walks around Basingstoke and some amazing street performances in the town centre that had everyone captivated.
If you missed it, or just want to be reminded, then take a look at the 2015 Basingstoke Festival Programme.
Kick-starting the festival was a new carnival parade led by a giant mechanical turtle with over 300 people parading through the town centre, including children from local schools and dance groups, with music, dancing and colourful costumes created with the expertise of the internationally acclaimed outdoor arts company Emergency Exit Arts
in partnership Proteus Theatre Company
The festival continued with music, outdoor performances and street theatre, a World Party, Family Sunday and finished with the ever-popular live music event Basingstoke Live!
In between there were workshops and taster sessions teaching new skills, festivals-within-a festival celebrating cheese and chilli, scarecrows and live music and special days and weekends devoted to World arts, craft and food, the finest street artists and buskers (Top Hat Sunday) and even Sylvanian Families!
There were quilting, dinosaur and textile exhibitions and installations, Bollywood dance, a Market in the Park, colourful Art Trail, lots of comedy, circus acts and more. There were big names too, like Russell Watson and Elvis Costello, Suzanne Vega and stand-up comedian Katherine Ryan.
In recognition of how far our festival has come in just a few years the council is was very pleased to receive Arts Council funding. The grant supported the carnival parade, Top of Town entertainment every Sunday featuring local organisations such as Basingstoke Amateur Theatre Society, JG Dance and Basingstoke Academy of Dance and professional entertainers such as Mimbre Dance, the History Bombs and the Most Dangerous Cup of Tea.
The festival also supported the development of new work such as a new cabaret piece Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know, which went onto the Edinburgh Fringe, BOAT which was a phone app for audiences to listen to while on a boating lake and Memory Man a new outdoor theatre piece that featured on the Family Sunday Show.
- 88% of 2015 festival audiences were very satisfied/satisfied and would recommend the event they attended
- 91% of audiences also indicated that the Basingstoke Festival is something that the town can be proud of.
- 75% of local business respondents felt that the festival is improving the profile and appeal of Basingstoke, which brings visitors into the borough, and at the same time delivers experiences that are great for local people too.
You have put Basingstoke on the map with your events for this year’s festival
Better than 2014 and moving in the right direction, looking forward to next year
Basingstoke Live is amazing and so good for the town and so well organised.
Loved the procession this year with the young people. This was a great project for them and it was a real Rio feel and great start to the festival.
As usual the festival is amazing and something for Basingstoke to be proud of….
The festival is such an asset to Basingstoke, there was a real buzz about it this year and long may it continue
A highlight of the Festival was the street theatre production ‘The Bench’ by Mimbre
The children loved it, it exposed them to new experiences and brought something new and exciting to the town and to new audiences of people who would never usually go to see things like that.
Really enjoyed all the events I attended, it’s great to be able to walk to a variety of different events and provides a great opportunity for us as a family to see different types of food, music, dancing etc at little or no cost.
To find out more on all the events that were on offer, see the 2015 Basingstoke Festival Programme
We encourage you to get involved!