What goes on at... Canterbury Festival

Canterbury Festival happens every Autumn, and focusses across the arts and science, delivering events and talks to over 60,000 people. We spoke to Niamh Lynam-Cotter, the festival's programme and participation manager.

What goes on at... Canterbury Festival

What happens at Canterbury Festival?

We are a team who work throughout the year to produce a programme each October featuring live music from a wide range of genres, performances ranging from solo shows to spectacular circus, along with a hugely popular Talks series, family-friendly shows throughout half term week, art exhibitions and much more.

What were some of the highlights this year?

I adored our Australian circus company, Circa, and their show What Will Have Been in our Spiegeltent. We had them here for 3 nights, and I was lucky enough to see it on Saturday night. The gasps from the audience at the amazing acrobatic feats unfolding before our eyes were almost louder than the music!

What's the biggest challenge in putting on such a broad art-form festival – even stretching out to science?

I think getting everything all secured before we go to print with our brochure – in early June! Before I joined the Festival I thought that was crazily early to need everything confirmed, but the Festival calendar makes much more sense now I work here. As soon as our brochures are back, we go on sale to give our audiences as much time as possible to consider what we've got lined up for them.

How does the festival support Arts Award?

The Festival is both an Arts Award Centre and an Arts Award Supporter. There are a number of schemes which we deliver Arts Award through, including our Music Bursary Scheme, and our Young Invigilators who help make our art exhibitions happen.

For our Supporter offer, we've broken it down by Arts Award level on our website: http://canterburyfestival.co.uk/learning-and-participation/arts-award-supporter.aspx

What advice would you give to any young person who was trying to get involved with their local festival? 

Be persistent! If it's an event you admire and are keen to be involved in, don't be afraid to follow up with the person you're trying to speak with. People who organise events are very busy, and occasionally some things can get missed with more time sensitive queries and artist liaison.

Do your research, too – it's always much more likely you'll be responded to if you can add in some comments or statements about the line up, or the organisation as a whole.

Finally, be flexible. You might have an idea of what you'd like to get out of your time with your local Festival, but be open to some of the things the organisers have in mind.



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