festivals flourish in South west England

Bournemouth Festival (large)

Above: Bounemouth Arts by the Sea Festival 2013.

Festivals are a great vehicle for audiences to experience great art. Hundreds of people at Glastonbury Festival and Torquay Festival helped artist Olivier Grossetete build gigantic cardboard towers as part of participatory projects supported by Grants of the arts awards.

Festivals also bring people together and help drive income to local businesses. In Bristol, over 100,000 people came to St Paul's Afrikan Caribbean Carnival on Saturday 6 July 2013, organised by Arts Council England National portfolio organisation St Paul's Carnival.

Meanwhile, Grants for the arts supported the dance programme at Bristol Harbour Festival at the end of July, which was attended by 250,000 people over the weekend.

Nick Green and Adam Gent, Combined Arts Relationship Managers for the South West, help us take a closer look at the excellent range of festivals in the South West and what makes them so unique.

Nick Green says: 'The South West is home to hundreds of festivals. From the world's best known music festivals to local events and annual traditional festivals, they are a great way for the Arts Council to get new work to audiences. In the last Taking Part survey, data showed that people in the South West were twice as likely to attend carnival and festivals events as those in many other parts of the UK.

'Through Grants for the arts, we're supporting exciting new work, as well as helping artists take their work to new audiences and investing in talented and emerging producers of new work for outdoor settings.

'The South West is also home to a number of young producers and production companies supporting the festival industry internationally, and for young people developing careers in the arts festivals and carnival are vital ways of developing skills, experience and contacts for their future careers.'

Adam Gent, Combined Arts Relationship Manager, South West also works with festivals, big and small, and shares his views.

Adam says, 'Festivals are about a unique, intense burst of the unexpected, something truly out of the ordinary that audiences could not access at any other time of the year. New commissions, international work, work from national artists previously only available far away, and work from local artists in new contexts and with new partners can be a catalyst for audiences to develop a new interest, try something different and open up new horizons.'