Glorious weather encouraged thousands to turn out to the Big Arts Day at Lydiard Park to enjoy a wide range of artistic activity with local artistes as well as wandering performers brought in from outside the town.
With such a success, Swindon Council arts officers have set up an online questionnaire so that the people of the town can let them know what they took part in, what they enjoyed, what could be done better next time, and crucially, whether the event would work if a charge is made.
Click here to fill in the survey: www.surveymonkey.com/s/bigartsday
On the day the Mayor of Swindon Rex Barnett with the mayoress Sandra passed through the crowds with a collection bucket in aid of his chosen charities. He said, “this is brilliant; thousands of people enjoying themselves in the sun. It’s a runaway success.”
By mid-afternoon a huge traffic jam saw cars stretch from the park’s Hook Street entrance to West Swindon Centre whilst cars backed up in The Prinnels. Many more walked or cycled. At its peak it’s thought there were 15,000 people in the park with an estimated 20,000 enjoying the day in total.
Sam Baker brought her four children from Ramleaze. She said, “it’s colourful, lots of activity and lots to do and see. It’s great.”
Matt Holland, director of the Swindon Festival of Literature, said the park lent itself to a variety of activity. “It’s wonderful to see so many Swindon people turn up to enjoy an event with arts in the title. Lydiard allows space for loud bands and street dance, painting and pottery workshops, as well as quieter activities like story telling. There’s a great atmosphere; somebody even said to me they thought it was like a mini-Glastonbury.”
Coun Keith Williams, chair of the Lydiard Park management board said, “the £25,000 budget was well spent, the event was good value for money".
Pictured, from top: the Mayor and Mayoress amongst the crowds, Stagecoach performing arts school, Masters of Dance wow onlookers with dynamic hip hop, storytelling in the woods