Next month sees the launch of the PINT Contemporary Arts Festival. A multi-venue independent arts event in Burton Upon Trent. The project is the brainchild of town artist Alistair Kennedy.
'...Twelve months ago I posted a comment on my professional facebook page about setting up an arts festival in Burton. A handful of people commented that this is something they'd be interested in but to get buy-in from the whole town would be a struggle. Never being someone to listen to peer advice, within a few hours I'd set up a PINT festival twitter account, PINT Facebook Page and the basic framework of the PINT website.'
'...I knew that we had loads of creative talent here in Burton as I'd worked with many of them and either been to college with or grown up with the others. If I was going to make an arts event work here in Burton though, I would have to involve some established names for outside the town. The first people I contacted were artists Mary Wardle, Helen Joyce and Hazel Lale.'
Since then Alistair has recruited over 40 professional artists, performers and musicians to be involved in the festival. These creatives come from across the region and also from further afield, with two artists from Scotland and one from the USA. The impressive list of artists includes showcasing the work of local Burton artists; Simon Watson, Miles Dosher, Cliff Warner, Samantha Eynon, Heather Horsely, Blue Yates, Mick Statham, Martin Naidu and Ian Talbolt.
Funding the event has been a process of networking with local businesses, organisations and venues. Those now involved in supporting the fledgeling festival are; Marston's Brewery, The National Brewery Centre, 107 Station Street, Tower Brewery, The National Forest Company, The Chartwell Practice, Jones & Clark Burton Ltd. The Making House, Burton Town Centre Management and Burton & South Derbyshire College.
'I have been overwhelmed by the levels of positivity, passion and creativity of the local businesses, organisations and venues, I've been working with. The resounding view is that this is something Burton needs and has been needing for a while now.'
As the profile of the festival has grown and local business support has increased, artist submissions & enquiries are still flooding in.
'..It has been really hard to turn artists away, some I know personally and those were the ones that really affected me. Some artists are just not professionally ready to exhibit and a lot of that is down to people being given bad advice. We are going to run a few artist seminars over the festival to pass on things that we've learnt the hard way.'
As the festival organistaion goes into its final phase and the planned exhibitions, performances and happenings are scheduled, Alistair explains how the people of Burton can get involved;
'We are looking for volunteers to get involved in the festival to help with the logistics of holding such and event here in the town. These 'Festival-Makers' will be a crucial part of making the event successful. Then we just need the support of the local community to come out and see the incredible work we have on show. There is something for everyone and it's a brilliant opportunity to visit some of the towns most amazing venues.'
Events are being held in venues across the town though-out October & November. For more information on all the artists showing and the venues involved please visit www.pintartsfestival.co.uk For ways to get involved and take part in the events, join PINT on FACEBOOK www.facebook.com/PINT.ARTS.FESTIVAL and TWITTER www.twitter.com/pintartsfest