More than 20,000 people enjoyed the second Big Arts Day at Lydiard Park on 9 July. Heavy rain on Friday didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of festival goers who ventured out and they were rewarded as the sun shone through, ensuring the finishing touch to a great day.
From Sparky the Robot to Alice in Wonderland and the white rabbit, from a pirate and a mermaid’s tale in a huge whale, to three music stages, a comedy tent, local children showcasing their dancing and much more, the Big Arts Day was enjoyed by young and old alike. The finale included a scratch community choir and spectacular fireworks.
Heavily supported by local sponsors and organised by Swindon Borough Council, this event brought together people from all walks of life. Helen Miah, Head of Culture Swindon, said, “it was an amazing day with a real festival atmosphere and a wonderful showcase of Swindon’s incredible arts scene. It shows what can be achieved when you bring all that passion and energy together. I’m enormously grateful to everyone who got involved and helped to make it such a special day.”
Tracey Cox, 46 from Grange Park, said, “It was brilliant, it had something for everyone, from children to pensioners.”
And it wasn’t just Swindonians. Veronique Green, 36, was visiting from Kent. She enthused, “It’s been absolutely brilliant.”
Over the course of the day it is estimated that 30,000 people attended the festival, with 20,000 being on site at one time.
The only downside to the day was the traffic chaos in the side roads around the Park. Despite there being ample free parking off Hook Street, drivers parked irresponsibly on every available piece of road and pavement causing inconvenience to local residents and problems for buses trying to get through between parked cars.
One resident of the The Prinnels said that local people had received a letter from Swindon Borough Council outlining plans for traffic management on the day but this turned out to be woefully inadequate.
Check out Big Arts Day image collection at YouTube