Arts festival gets Hailsham buzzing

Edmond Burke of the Sussex Oakleaf Housing Association with some paintings by Jonathan KW Pettitt
Edmond Burke of the Sussex Oakleaf Housing Association with some paintings by Jonathan KW Pettitt

HAILSHAM Arts Festival has been hailed a big success by the Town Mayor, as hundreds of people turned out to a wide variety of events last week.

The festival, which ran from September 10-19, saw a steady stream of visitors to the town and had a varied programme of events to capture the attention of the public.

Visitors got the chance to attend a rich mix of art and photography exhibitions, live music, street entertainment, comedy events, children’s workshops and historical art talks, spread throughout Hailsham and surrounding villages.

Art exhibitors included Andrew Forrest, Chris Liddiard, Jean-Paul Tibbles and Denis Narin.

Live entertainment was provided by such acts as folk and world music group Contraband, close harmony vocal band Titus, local three-piece 50s rockabilly band The Memphis Flyers, and traditional Greek dancing group the Lyra Dancers.

“This year’s Arts Festival was one of the most brilliant yet,” said the Town Mayor, Councillor Jeff Bentley-Astor, who performed the official opening of the 11-day event on September 10.

“There is an amazing wealth of artistic talent in our town and region, and it was an honour for me to be invited to open proceedings and invite the community to enjoy it.”

Cllr Maggie Burt said, “I would like to thank Gallery North for organising the event so ably and all the visitors, community members, performers and colleagues who gathered together to provide such an educational and rewarding festival experience from start to finish. The festival truly marks a highlight in our year.

“While Hailsham Arts Festival 2011 is now over, I will remember for a long time the many exhibitions, talks and displays which generated such a buzz in Hailsham and surrounding villages and had appreciative audiences.

“I must congratulate Gallery North and other organisers for their hard work.

“Again this year, the festival schedule encompassed many volunteer hours and our sincere thanks must be extended to those volunteers involved.

“We would not be able to host such a large and successful event without their dedication to the festival.

“I hope that everyone enjoyed it as much as I did.”