Fantastic celebration for everything in arts, music, dance, literature, craft and street theatre
It’s been a summer for rediscovering community and doing things together and the free festival on Saturday 14 July in Lydiard Park is set to be bigger and better than ever. Highlights include:
• Six music stages full of local talent with everything from jazz, punk, ska, rock, samba, indie, rockabilly and more. Headlining the main stage is Big Weekend Records featuring AJ and friends with lots of other great musical acts and local favourites, as well as Josh Kumra, below, known for his No 1 hit Don’t Go;
Pictured right, Big Arts Day director Helen Miah with Matt Holland, director of the Swindon Festival of Literature, left, and artist Gordon Dickinson who has made the Swindon machine for the grand finale in Lydiard Park
• Create Mobile digital media activities – and the launch of their brand new app, which could win under 25s an iPad;
• Drama and dance showcase stages;
• Chill-out zone, with an arts and crafts marquee, the acoustic/alternative music stage and a specially commissioned Jubilee exhibition tent;
• Craft stalls; workshops; films; literature zone; street entertainers and a brand new children’s zone.
Watch out for Tiny the dinosaur, a life-like stegosaurus, or have a 1930s-style seaside snapshot taken with three puppets who have jumped out of their sepia photograph.
There will also be a dry-land synchronized swimming display, superb mime and robotics, grannies on supercharged shopping trolleys, giant lobsters and interactive multi-sensory lurv machines.
The finale is a unique urban circus spectacular: The Search for Swindon’s Soul featuring Eurus the Lord of the East Winds in his ambitious quest for the soul of Swindon. An extraordinary music machine will capture the spirit of Swindon for an arts performance extravaganza in Weymouth before the Olympic sailing events get underway in August.
At the launch of the printed programme on 2 July, Swindon Council leader Rod Bluh recalled the first Big Arts Day when about 7,000 people were expected. "By early afternoon and we were being told that there could be 20,000 in Lydiard Park and the organisers were rushing about, we thought we had a success on our hands. Last year there were an estimated 30,000 people in the park and this year’s programme looks amazing.
"I congratulate Helen Miah and her team, the hundreds of volunteers who will be assisting in some way or other, and the thousands of performers and their supports for making this a huge attraction in Swindon’s cultural calendar."
Gary Perkins, Swindon cabinet member for culture and regeneration, added: "People say Swindon doesn’t have culture. Big Arts Day proves they’re wrong. There is a huge amount of culture in the town; it’s happening every day all around us – Swindon is alive with culture. And it’s supported by a whole raft of organisation and a large number of businesses."
Helen Miah said the excitement is gathering. "What is unique about Big Arts Day is the very high level of community support. On 14 July there will be over 1,000 young people performing and taking part in some way. They’ll have friends and family there support them, there a great sense of family about the event.
"The programme for this third event is absolutely packed and our involvement in the regional pre-Olympic performance show in Weymouth which will be previewed in Lydiard Park gives 14 July an extra special dimension. It is so exciting."
Right, some of the performers who will be part of the finale show, front, Dino Fisher-Stephens; back from left, Peter Shirley, Shannon Fernandes, Milan Bishwakarama. Image: Richard Wintle ©Calyx Multimedia, 41, Churchward Avenue, Rodbourne Cheney, Swindon SN2 1NJ • 01793 520131 MOB: 07836 205196 www.calyxpix.com
See Swindon anew at Big Arts Day in a film made for HM the Queen
A Portrait of Swindon, a film about Swindon, seen in part by the Queen, will be screened in Lydiard Park on 14 July.
Scores of residents starred in the showreel which celebrates the borough’s rich heritage, culture, commerce, communities and landscapes, made specially for the Swindon tent in the grounds of Salisbury Cathedral when Her Majesty visited Wiltshire on Tuesday 1 May.
In keeping with the royal portrait theme, whilst making the film people were asked who they would like to see sitting on a special gold sofa. Following up on these suggestions, lots of local people are now captured on the couch in a series of images which accompany the film.
Above, veteran members of Swindon Dolphins with the sofa at Coate Water
Things to do in Swindon by Rachel Dunn
I adore Swindon…it’s a fantastic town…
There’s plenty to do…removes any frown.
Rock climbing, walking…or joining a gym…
Ice skating, cycling…or having a swim.
Festivals happen…concerts are held…
Learn how to cook…or learn how to weld.
Within the area…are many a park…
Where you see lots of birds…and hear the dogs bark.
Inside these gardens…are plenty of trees…
Children playing…down on their knees.
These are some places…people go to relax…
Walk past a lake…or wonder down some tracks.
Swindon…is… a pleasant place to be…
It’s interesting and lovely…it’s a great town to see.