Ely Arts Festival Programme

Ely Arts Festival Programme

Click to see full festival programme on the Ely Arts Festival Website

Organisers are delighted to announce that Ely Arts Festival is back for 2021. After the enforced break in 2020 due to Covid, a new volunteer committee has formed to bring together arts and cultural events and activities to celebrate how the creative ‘spirit of the Fens’ has endured through this challenging time.

Ely Arts Festival will take place between 12th and 27th June; including a range of events organized by local groups and the festival committee. Opening the festival period, Britten Sinfonia will be presenting Surround Sound: Ely Playlist at Ely Cathedral on Saturday 12th June.

19th June, will see the Festival’s title event: Spirit of the Fens, bringing together live music from the Lantivet Duo; with recorded performances from local school and community choirs and a unique view over Ely from drone footage accompanied by music.

On 26th June the Festival will present Jubilee Jamboree – A free family day of drop-in craft activities, a teddy bears’ picnic with ‘Shake-Rattle and Roll’ and music from the bandstand in Jubilee Gardens. On the final day of the festival, Sunday 27th June, Babylon ARTS are bringing Lamphouse Theatre to Jubilee Gardens with two, free performances of their Suitcase Shakespeare Romeo & Juliet show, suitable for all the family. 

This is just a taste of some of the events taking place, the full programme including: live comedy at St Mary’s Church from The Library Presents; Fen Speak online open-mic poetry night and family fun at Ely Museum is on elyartsfestival.org.

Festival Committee Chairperson, Chris Parsons explains what's been happening in the lead-up to this event: “We are delighted to present a refreshed and relaunched Ely Arts Festival this 2021! A small team of volunteers have been working tirelessly to bring an exciting series of wide-ranging events that are accessible, engaging and feature a range of different art forms. To ensure the safety of all our audience members, all COVID requirements will be adhered to. 

“We believe that the arts are needed more than ever before to bring communities back together to enjoy the vibrant arts scene of East Cambridgeshire. We are especially keen to engage with families and young people and we hope that our festival offers something for everyone! Whether it’s enjoying a children’s Teddy Bears Tea Picnic concert in Jubilee Gardens, being part of the ‘Fen Stitch Together’ quilt or enjoying an afternoon of outdoor Shakespeare; we’re determined to showcase the wealth of local creativity this area has to offer. The festival will also shine a light on some amazing projects that have taken place during lockdown from local groups who showed that the arts didn’t stop! We want to celebrate the enduring, creative spirit of the fens.”

Chris goes on to state: “We want to take this opportunity of relaunching the festival to thank members of the original festival committee who worked tirelessly to organise the event each year; particularly former chairperson Shelia Friend-Smith and former treasurer Jackie Moakes. Without their determination over many years of involvement, the festival wouldn’t be here today.”

The Ely Arts Festival 2021 is sponsored by Lovewell Blake Chartered Accountants, Busy Bee Recruitment, Poet’s House and Silver Oak Coffee. The Festival Committee will also be launching a crowdfunding campaign in the coming weeks, so watch out for more details in how you can support the arts in the local area.

Everyone is invited to enjoy this years’ festival, with opportunities for all ages. Indeed, people can begin now, by participating in the ‘Fen Stitch Together’ community quilt project, led by festival committee member and artist Louise Beale. Everyone is welcome to contribute to a quilt project that would act as a memorial to the shared positive experiences of the pandemic.

Louise Beale, a local artist, will work with local schools to give children an opportunity to make their own textiles square to be included on the quilt. Find out more https://www.elyartsfestival.org/whats-on/fen-stitch-together.

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