Once again, the borough of Basingstoke played host to an almost month long programme of arts and cultural activities in 2017. From Friday 16 June to Sunday 9 July, the town, its surrounding villages and open spaces came alive as the sixth 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 2017 successfully brought the community together and offered something for everyone.
The festivalOver 100 events were featured in the 2017 professional festival. The fabulous Elkie Brooks kicked off the festival on Friday 16 June with a gig at The Anvil followed the next day by World Party, a free event in Eastrop Park celebrating the varied heritage of people living in the borough. It was a scorching hot day and the paddling pool and fountains were well used!
There was outdoor theatre from The Proteans at The Walled Garden with a production of Mansfield Park and Ride and The Lord Chamberlain’s Men entertained with a performance of Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors at Dummer Down Farm. Kevin and Karen entertained an enthralled audience with their high energy dance show, there was music from Basingtoke Symphony Orchestra and Belle Canto, and even a Musical Bingo night!
Festival in the CommunityFrom storytelling in The Malls to a Ukulele jam session, community get-togethers in Old Basing, Hatch Warren, Sherfield Park, Winklebury and Rooksdown, and a huge range of music events for all tastes, the Festival in the Community really offered something for everyone!
A Day in the ParkWar Memorial Park played host to three unique events on Saturday 24 June: There was Picnic in the Park, a day of free performances, live music and activities with Proteus Theatre Company, Brass Junkies, Project Vee and the Flying Bazazi Brothers to name but a few. The second All in the Mind Festival played host to over 40 performances, celebrating artistic achievements and raising awareness of mental health issues through theatre, poetry, dance, music and visual arts. In addition, the Cheese and Chilli Festival opened its doors once again to entertain the people of Basingstoke.
The Thornycroft GirlsMarket Place at Basingstoke’s Top of the Town played host to Scratchbuilt Productions ‘The Thornycroft Girls’ as they took us on a journey with the women that worked at the factory. Children and adults alike were delighted to take part in the action, and a lucky few even managed a ride on the custom built car, wonderfully designed and realised by Tin Shed Productions.
Celebrating JaneFrom guided walks, taking in the place Jane knew and loved, to works of theatre inspired by Jane, there was something for everyone in our Celebrating Jane season. There were some real musical treats, a Jane Austen quiz night, film screenings and a host of other events. We are proud that July also saw the unveiling of the world’s first sculpture of Jane Austen which has pride of place outside The Willis Museum and Sainsbury Gallery. In addition, hundreds of people came to follow the Sitting with Jane trail, spotting many of the 24 book benches across the borough and beyond. A particular highlight was the hugely popular and sold-out screening of Pride and Prejudice in the War Memorial Park! What a treat!
Basingstoke LiveMore than 100 music acts played at the festival’s free finale event in War Memorial Park on Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 July including headliners Paigey Cakey and The Dub Pistols.
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.