Prelude to a Festival

ArtiGras! LogoA week to go and ArtiGras Festival will be upon us, and we can’t wait. Will you be here?

If you are a local band and would like to play at the festival, get in touch by emailing info@cce-ashford.org or calling 07837 896122 as there are two venues and daytime and evening slots still available.

This year, we’ve made a whole lot of new friends, forged new partnerships, discovered amazing new artistic talents, and are about to open a new Gallery & Studios on Park Mall.  There was some sad news for our town too, when the recently opened Cafe Cloud on Bank Street decided to shut their doors due to lack of custom.  It’s always sad when a new business closes its doors so soon after opening and it does cause some concern as we’re getting ready to embark on our own new venture.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The Creative Collective OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Worshipful Mayor and Mayoress of Ashford, Councillor John Link and Mrs Jill Link will be with us in Park Mall at 3pm on Saturday 16th May to open our Gallery and unveil our commissioned piece for the festival.  The piece is presently being made – and with great effort as it is gigantic – by the triple award winning, wonderful and talented Phillip Long of Nagual Creations. We won’t tell you more about the project because we’d like you to come over and find out for yourselves.  But we promise it will be bigger than you imagined, huge in fact, and it will be happening in Park Mall over the festival.  I lied, can’t keep a secret so here is a sneak peak of what it may look like:

The Heart Of AshfordFrom what I’ve seen lately, the High Street is much busier.  The weather is warmer and we are finally getting out and about so I really hope that the festival will be very busy and that you’ll come out in great numbers to support the arts and crafts being sold on the High Street and in Park Mall and listen to our amazing local bands, watch great performances and support this local event put together purely by volunteers and a large number of Ashford organisations who will all be here with us.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERADulci May and the Mystery Cats TheatreTrain Ashford Invicta Jazz Orchestra Who's Brian?OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We’ve been lucky to have had lots of support from volunteers and local charities and organisations, as well as our town’s big business, namely RIFT Group, Givaudan, 6-2 Design; our KCC Members, Councillor Jim Wedgbury and Councillor Derek Smyth who provided much needed funds for our commissioned work, Warnborough College – all the way in Canterbury – who are also our festival and events partners.  A massive thanks also to the John Wallis Pub who will be feeding our volunteers for both days of the festival to make sure we have lots of energy to carry on, and hosting our evening bands and last, but not least, Ashford College for the masks, the amazing creative support they have given us and all the promotion for the event, Phoenix Primary and Herne Bay Juniors for lending us the children’s creative talent, Rhonda Merrick of the Brilliant Book Club and KATFM.  It is wonderful to see the community rally together and support this festival.

There is still time to book a stall in Park Mall as the High Street is now full.  If you would like to book, go to our Eventbrite page from HERE.

Our website is much more up to date so you can find out exactly who will be there, where and at what time.  There is also a comprehensive list of all the stalls you can visit during both days.  Make sure you do come to the evening opening of the gallery with finger foods and drinks, and some beautiful pieces of art to look at and buy of course.  We’re all about promoting Ashford’s creativity so, if can help in any way, are an artist with work you would like to promote, are a teacher and can offer lessons in an artistic discipline, are a business and would like to learn about the opportunities we can offer, are unemployed and would like to volunteer or learn on the job, come and talk to us and we promise we will do our best to help.

We’d also like to thank everyone who has helped, too many to name, in any way at all.  The makers, the artists, the ones doing the building work, painting and decorating and all of the festival angels – marshalls, volunteers, musicians, performers, face painters, sound engineers, apprentices, children from Ashford Schools and beyond, and much much more.

See you all here, pass the word around.  After all, it is all about arts, crafts, friendships, music, fun, family, and Ashford.

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