BlakeFest honours William Blake's great legacy in words and music

Charlotte Glasson
Charlotte Glasson

BlakeFest 2019 hits the stage at Bognor’s Regis Centre on Saturday, September 28 from midday to 9pm, with the BlakeFest Fringe running from Sunday to Sunday, September 22 to 29.

Tickets £8 from; phone bookings on 01243 861010.

Director Rachel Searle said: “BlakeFest is a unique cultural experience by the sea celebrating an eclectic and exciting mix of music, art and poetry, as well as offering a varied programme of talks, walks and workshops. Deploying an eclectic approach to its programming is at the heart of what we do, befitting of the talents of its figurehead William Blake.

“Now in its seventh year, BlakeFest returns to the town centre cultural hub that is The Regis Centre. The tiger theme runs like a golden thread of inspiration throughout the festival this year as a powerful and recognisable motif.

“This will be explored through a Blakes Beasties workshop for young children ran by local drama group DRAMATIS (Saturday, 10 till 12 in the Regis Centre) as well as a dazzling array of tiger-based artworks inspired by Blake’s most famous poem Tyger Tyger, created by clients working under the wing of The Aldingbourne Trust based in Bognor Regis.”

Olivia Stevens, the event’s music programming and outreach officer, said: “We really wanted to look outwards this year to invite community and local groups to work with us so they can be part of this unique platform to shine a light on their talents and be inspired by Blake.

“We want to create a lasting legacy from each BlakeFest and we are thrilled that the Trust have offered to donate an artwork of our choice to our artistic archive. All other works will be for sale and all proceeds go directly back to the charity, so we are certainly encouraging people to take a tiger home with them!”

Rachel added: “BlakeFest is getting a reputation for never under-delivering and, as a boutique festival, feed-back suggests it exceeded expectation and delivers surprises across all art forms. The line-up this year looks brighter than ever.

“Charlotte Glasson is an in-demand multi-instrumentalist who has played with the likes of Oasis, Unkle, Divine Comedy, Nick Cave, John Cooper Clarke, Foy Vance and Julian Lloyd Webber.

“She brings her own Jazz combo to Bognor BlakeFest at the Regis Centre on Saturday, September 28. A massively experienced performer, she includes in her musical line-up the legendary Chris Spedding which guarantees a high quality musical experience for anyone who attends.

“The music and poetry line-up this year sees a celebration of original talent within and beyond the region, with the visceral energy of local psychedelic pop outfit Sirens of Titan ending the night in Studio 1. Of special note also is the psychedelic-folk group Noahs House Band with their unique and original cross-genre music. They have a parade of quirky animal-inspired songs. Radio 2 playlisted songwriter Lucy Kitchen also features, as do the mighty Songbox Band from Brighton.

“After a successful partnership last year, The South Downs Poetry Festival has returned to curate the spoken word-based elements of the programme headed up by Barry Smith. One of his specialisms is pairing poetry with jazz, to bring poetry to new audiences."

Rachel added: “For the last six years staging BlakeFest has been trying to use the palettes of Felpham and Bognor Regis to create an imaginative and colourful festival that doffs its cap to William Blake, showcasing inspirational internationally-established artists and musicians, side by side with local emerging artists, musicians and poets.”

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