Funding boost for festival



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ORGANISERS of one of this year’s biggest arts events in Bognor Regis have been backed by lottery funding.

Southdowns Folk Festival has received £10,000 from the Awards for All Big Lottery Fund.

The backing was announced on Tuesday and will be used to help to increase the skills of local youngsters in event management as well as to enhance the festival.

It will provide three days of the best in folk and roots music and dance in Hotham Park, the Regis Centre and around the town between September 26 and 28.

Roger Nash, the chairman of the festival committee, said: “The funding from the Big Lottery makes all the difference.

“It will mean we can help train a number of local young people in event management as well as put on a superb community festival event in Hotham Park that will include two performance stages hosting top quality folk music and dance throughout the weekend.

“There will also be fascinating craft marquees, outside stalls, scrummy food, a brilliant real ale bar, great children’s entertainment, the unique Sussex Young Folk Competition and, even better, everything in the park will be free.”

The latest folk festival will follow last year’s inaugural event which attracted more than 15,000 visitors. As well as the lottery funding, it is being backed by Bognor Regis Town Council, West Sussex County Council and a host of businesses and has the co-operation of Hotham Park Heritage Trust.

As well as the park events, the Regis Centre will host the ticketed part of the festival with top national and internationsl folk acts.

They will include Oysterband, Dervish from Ireland, Jez Lowe & The Bad Pennies and the legendary Dave Swarbrick and Martin Carthy in series of five concerts.

There will also be free events at the centre to include afternoon folk clubs, a variety of music workshops plus clog, Appalchian and Morris dancing.

The recently re-opened William Hardwicke in the High Street will host free music sessions as well as presenting the talented Canadian band, My Sweet Patootie, on September 27.

Southdowns Folk Festival is a not for profit community group run by a six-strong committee chaired by Mr Nash. He said they would build on the success of last year’s festival.

“This year will be even better and really put Bognor on the map in terms of unforgettable great events with some of the very best music and dance attracting people who live here plus many new visitors to the town,” he said.