January is a time when we start to get serious about the new year ahead and it’s no different here at The Worcester Festival! 2021 will see the 19th consecutive Festival, this year the Festival will be held from the 14th to the 30th August and we are hopeful that it will be more like its usual self this year!
Last year, Covid19 caused us all sorts of problems and meant quite a lot of head scratching and re-thinking about how we could stage a festival in the middle of a pandemic was done. Virtually everything in Worcester was cancelled last Summer, but we were determined to provide the people of Worcester with some Festival fun, even if we had to follow lots of ever changing guideline in the process. Despite Covid, last year’s Worcester Festival hosted 765 events, of which 160 were socially distanced, 605 were virtual! A whopping 676 events were free to take part in! All of our fabulous events were delivered by 44 different organisations and 23 individuals and thousands of people participated.
There were very few positives to come from 2020 as it was so rubbish for everyone, but we were so proud to be able to give the people of Worcester hundreds of activities to do as they stayed safe with their families over the summer. There was one huge positive that came out of 2020’s Festival and that was our realisation that through the internet events and experiences could get to a much wider audience. There was widespread participation in many events and competitions from across the County and beyond, including London, Essex and Australia! We have decided that even if we can be back to normal this year, there will still be plenty of virtual events for that wider audience.
At the present time, we are assuming that the Festival will be able to run pretty much normally, although writing this in lock-down 3, with infections and deaths rising alarmingly, it is impossible to be completely confident. It makes it more difficult to stay motivated, but we are all doing our very best! The first meeting of the Worcester Festival team was held on the 4th January and we were brimming with ideas and fully prepared for either a virtual Festival or a ‘normal’ one! The first meeting of the Worcester Festival Planning Committee is due to take place via Zoom on the 12th Jan and we are hoping for lots of fabulous ideas and excitement for this year’s Festival which we are hoping will be a beacon of light for the people of Worcestershire. If you have an ideas or thoughts of events that you would like to see in this year’s Festival please contact us.
The Festival brings the whole city together with a huge variety of events that cater for people from all walks of life. The Worcester Festival is not a music festival, nor indeed an arts festival, but just … a festival. The Festival is for the people of Worcester, Worcestershire and the surrounds. It is a series of partnerships between large cross-sections of the community, an umbrella for a huge range of activities, many of them free. It is a coming together of people of all ages, creeds and race. It is an opportunity to stage an event, or to attend a large selection of both professional and community events. It is a celebration of life and of Worcester, Worcestershire, and the surrounds and its people and even if we are still keeping two metres apart from each other in August we hope that we can bring everyone in Worcestershire together once more to celebrate our fabulous city and the brilliant organisations that it is home to!
We are very excited about two major new initiatives in 2021 – a big project for everyone to get involved with (plans are still in the pipeline so I can’t give too much away!), and an Asian festival, a Mela, to take place in the middle weekend of the Festival, 22nd and 23rd August! (It has its own organising committee chaired by the ex. Mayor, Councillor Jabba Riaz.) We also hope to include some new events such as a running and a cycling event, with the usual family favourites of workshops, competitions, bands, face-painting and much, much more.
Nearer the time, we will be recruiting volunteers to help with events. But until then you can keep up-to-date with all the latest Festival and community news by following us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. If you would like to support by sponsoring, or join the Festival as an event organiser then please don’t hesitate to contact the Festival Director, Chris Jaeger on [email protected] .