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Marches Makers Festival 5 to 7 May 2018 Report

Held over the Early Spring Bank Holiday of 2018, the Marches Makers Festival was a brand-new enterprise for Kington. The town has many talented artists, crafters and makers living in and around it; Town Councillor Christine Forrester initiated the idea of an Arts Festival and drew together a group of makers to discuss the possibilities. Thus the Marches Makers came into being to promote and support the wealth of local art and craft.

The Marches Makers Festival covered 12 venues displaying over 500 pieces of art and craft. It brought a greatly increased footfall into Kington and local businesses have reported that custom to cafes, pubs and accommodation was significantly better than in previous years. In total the amount spent at the Festival was in excess of £15,000. This is in addition to the extra benefit to local businesses.

Most visitors went to more than one venue and they came from a wide variety of sources, not just local but as far afield as London, Birmingham and Manchester. One visitor said, “I think the standard of the displays is excellent. Works beautifully as a whole. I love that nearly all venues are close to the town centre. Well done, a fantastic effort. I hope it will be an annual event.”

The Leg of Mutton Gallery almost sold out and Studio 54 also did well, selling sculpture both in the studio and at Hergest Croft Gardens. Made in the Marches Gallery in Church Street had Festival exhibitors amongst its other works on show and received a steady stream of buyers. The Art and Craft Market was held over two days and included demonstrations of pottery, printmaking, airbrush art and woolcrafts which drew lots of interest. Harmony Handmade offered a Craft Café for people to try their hand at making something themselves. This proved so popular that there was a queue outside the door waiting for it to open. Kington Art Society held their Spring Exhibition as part of the Festival, at Kingswood Village Hall. They reported a doubling of their usual footfall and income despite being a mile out of town.

One artist commented, “I just wanted to say a huge thank you to you all for your incredible effort with Marches Makers. It was a lovely event. Great footfall and everyone who looked around said they were really enjoying it, so all in all a win - win situation.”

Chair of the Marches Makers steering group, Christine Forrester, said, “It was extremely hard work to set up and organise this amazing event and I would like to thank everyone who supported us: the artists and makers, the venues, the visitors, Kington itself for being so positive, and last but not least the steering group members who have given up months of their time and energy to make this happen.”

Any artist, crafter or maker living within a 10-mile radius of Kington can join the Marches Makers. There is an annual fee which includes a page on the website for each member to showcase their work.

Marches Makers Festival - Mission Statement

Art or craft – which is it? How to define it? An old argument. All artists and craftspeople make something: sculpture, pictures and images, ceramics, film, jewellery, furniture, music, performance, textiles, poetry; the innate human creative drive to manifest a vision, to express an idea, to challenge attitudes, to bring forth beauty.

Marches Makers Festival is the initiative of local creators who make their living doing this. We have come together to make something new: a Festival to celebrate what we do, how and where we do it. Involving venues and galleries in and around Kington, public spaces and local attractions, the festival will embrace all forms of making, traditional and contemporary.

Our ambition is to establish Kington as a focal point for high quality creative endeavour, to position the Marches Makers Festival in the calendar as a vibrant and exciting event that will attract people to our town and provide a showcase for local makers to exhibit and sell their work. Supported by Kington Town Council and Kington Chamber of Trade, the Marches Makers Festival will join the Walking Festival, Food Fairs, Agricultural Show and Spring Greens Fair as a sparkling addition to the gems in Kington’s crown.