Highlights of 2016

Once again, the borough of Basingstoke played host to an almost month long programme of arts and cultural activities in 2016. From Friday 17 June to Sunday 10 July, the town, its surrounding villages and open spaces came alive as the fifth Basingstoke Festival celebrated the very best in arts, entertainment and food.

Attracting visitors and local residents alike, the jam packed line-up included more than 100 different events and performances. Showcasing the best in local, national and international talent, Basingstoke Festival 2016 successfully brought the community together and offered something for everyone.

To look back at all the festival fun see the Basingstoke Festival 2016 programme.

Green at Heart Carnival Parade

Basingstoke Festival 2016 kicked off on Friday 17 June with the Green at Heart Carnival Parade. The free event, created by Proteus Theatre Company, with funding from Anvil Arts, saw the town centre streets filled with more than 500 colourful performers, giant puppets and walkabout acts, together with music, dance and dazzling costumes.

The parade was led by BinBot, a huge 10 foot high moving robot made of recycled materials to mark the festival’s eco-friendly theme and alongside local schools, choirs, dance and community groups, the event featured:
  • zany fun from The Natural Theatre street performers
  • gigantic sun birds spreading their beautiful wings
  • exotic pecking birds
  • crazy giant kangaroos Roo’d Duo bouncing all the way to the finish
  • Mr and Mrs Puddle Duck - a positively quackers act and
  • rude and raucous pigeons pecking about the parade.

Written by Women literary weekend

Created to celebrate women writers and delivered in partnership by Basingstoke Discovery Centre, Hampshire Cultural Trust, Proteus Theatre Company and Arts Council England, this event featured talks and readings from acclaimed authors and poets, workshops for adults, young people and children, a locally produced film and two exciting one-woman plays by female writers.

A Street Full of Circus

Market Place at Basingstoke’s Top of the Town played host to a spectacular Saturday of free entertainment featuring circus and street artists from in and around Europe.

Delivered by Proteus Theatre Company and supported by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, the event focused on family fun and featured performances from:
  • Dizzy O’Dare’s Tiny Travelling Tightwire Show
  • Internationally acclaimed dance company Motionhouse
  • Walkabout characters from the Natural Theatre Company.
  • Talented local community dance and singing groups, BAOS Limelight and JG Dance
  • The Etta Ermini Dance Theatre who rounded off the day’s festivities with a performance of the high-octane ‘Bar Story’.

Basingstoke Live

More than 100 music acts played at the festival’s free finale event in War Memorial Park on Saturday 9 and Sunday 10 July including headliners P Money and The Neville Staple Band.

The weekend long event showcased the best in local artists too and with a mix of music and dance across five different stages, it was a great way to round off the busiest and brightest festival yet.

The best of the rest

There were so many other events and performances that contributed to the 2016 programme – far too many to mention! From the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s multi-media performance of Holst’s Planets Suite at The Anvil and Sylvanian Families at Whitchurch Silk Mill to World Party, the Cheese and Chilli Festival and Market in the Park, there was something for all ages to enjoy.

Looking ahead to 2017

Basingstoke Festival 2017 hopes to be bigger and better than ever before. With Jane Austen’s 200th anniversary just around the corner, we anticipate the festival will focus on events that celebrate the 18th century Hampshire-born author.

If you would like to be involved or organise an event, register your interest today!

Check Out the Basingstoke Festival Gallery

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