Plug pulled on Weston Arts Festival

PUBLISHED: 09:00 25 November 2010

Weston Arts Festival has provided a platform for hundreds of artists, musicians, sculptors and more to showcase their work over the past 22 years.

Weston Arts Festival has provided a platform for hundreds of artists, musicians, sculptors and more to showcase their work over the past 22 years.

Archant

IT has thrilled a Weston generation with 22 years of entertainment, exhibitions and excitement - but the town's annual arts festival is no more.

Organisers of the once-thriving event this week voted unanimously to disband the association behind the annual autumn extravaganza.

They cite a trio of factors for the festival’s demise – ‘quality, time and money’ – but event founder Rosemary Dowie this week paid tribute to the efforts of all involved over the past two decades.

She said: “The economical times are hard for everyone at the moment, but in the arts it is particularly difficult.

“The cost of theatre and venue space is going up enormously, and it’s all change in Weston with the Playhouse going in a new direction.

“There also wasn’t a definite programme, so time was against us, and what we did have wasn’t sufficient quality to offer Weston, who would have expected something more varied and enjoyable.

“That doesn’t mean there is not a lot of quality artists in Weston in all aspects of the arts – there are excellent people, doing very good work.

“I honestly think it’s just a response to the times.”

However, while the festival itself may be coming to an end, its legacy will live on.

Village scarecrow festivals, a short story writing competition, and several successful town groups all have their roots in the festival, and will live on.

This is a source of great pride to Rosemary, who spoke of her joy at the event’s log success story.

She added: “I was new to Weston 22 years ago, and called a meeting at the town library about creating a festival.

“The enthusiasm was there, and we got it going against all the gloomy predictions.

“Over the years, I have met a lot of wonderful people, and been really well supported.

“And maybe we are just taking a deep breath – and that is no bad thing.”

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