Welcome to the Festival of Chichester. Each year we are proud to present our exciting and diverse programmes, a bumper something-for-everyone package which offering a four-week celebration of the city we are so proud to call our own.
As always, Chichester itself is the star of our programme – the starting point for all the talents we are offering you. Once again, we are proud to boast a clean sweep of our very best arts and community groups and our most talented individuals, be their artists, actors, poets or musicians.
Chichester has got artistic importance, which goes way beyond its size as a city, and it’s this we have captured in all its freshness, fun and vibrancy. As ever, we are delighted to be joined by national and international performers of the highest calibre, ready to discover just what a great city we have here.
The Festival is a magnificent summer centrepiece, but it doesn’t happen without a huge effort behind the scenes. Once again, it is a privilege to work through the months with our wonderful Festival committee. They all give their time freely to make this summer Festival the best it can possibly be. We must also offer our heartfelt thanks to the Chichester Observer. We also owe huge thanks to Chichester City Council, which has been a steadfast supporter from the outset. Once again, they have supported us generously. So too our business sponsors and supporters, particularly Henry Adams, our headline sponsor. We are extremely grateful to them all.
And so, once again, let the fun begin!
Phil Hewitt, (festival chairman), and Barry Smith, (festival co-ordinator)
The Festival committee is: Phil Hewitt, Barry Smith, Anne Scicluna, Nick Sutherland, Dan Inman, Katie Bennett and Simon O’Hea.
Parking: Chichester offers excellent car parking facilities including the Avenue de Chartres triple deck car park, the Cattle Market (off Market Avenue) accommodating 900 cars and Northgate car park with over 800 cars accommodated.
Events are the responsibility of the individual event organisers. The Festival trustees and committee cannot be held responsible for any problems or issues arising. (Registered Charity number 1167936.)
A Festival Phoenix arising from the ashes
Everyone who cared for the cultural life of the city was devastated when it was announced that the 2012 Chichester Festivities would be the last. Having promoted such a wonderful range of arts-related events over many years, the Festivities had become a Chichester institution. A dreadful gap suddenly loomed in the cultural life of the city.
For some of us, this thought was too much to bear. Chichester is a city of culture boasting national gems like the Festival Theatre and Pallant House Gallery, not to mention the vibrant cultural life associated with the Cathedral. It could not be allowed to happen. Something had to be done – and so it was that at a public meeting held in the Council Chamber that the Festival of Chichester came into being as the natural successor to the late, lamented Festivities.
With the active support of the Chichester Observer, the Cathedral authorities, the city council, the library service and local arts organisations, a voluntary committee set about filling the gap. Serving on this founding committee were Anne Scicluna, then the current city mayor, Dr Anthony Cane, chancellor of the cathedral, Phil Hewitt, the chairman, the arts editor of the Observer, Felicity Masters from WSCC library service, Roger Redfarn, a theatre director, Helen Watt from Johnson Press and Barry Smith, director of Chichester Poetry, as festival co-ordinator.
Members of the festival founding committee receiving a Community Award for Contribution to the Arts from television presenter Fred Dinenage
A flood of entries for that first 2013 festival ensured there would be continuity and no missing summer, no empty year in the Chichester festival calendar. We even had star names with former poet laureate Sir Andrew Motion, the brilliant Hanover Band and legendary pop icon Geno Washington. It was a bit of a miracle really as the first festival was launched and run entirely on goodwill.
As a registered charity (1167936), we are grateful for the support of our sponsors from the business community, particularly our headline sponsor, Henry Adams, Chichester City Council, West Sussex County Council and the Chichester Observer (Johnson Press).
We like to think there will be something for everybody, whatever their age or interests. A quick glance at the event categories gives a sense of the scope: classical music, jazz, blues, folk, rock, pop and light music; spoken word; theatre; art and craft; cinema; walks and tours; food and drink; dance; church events; open days, fetes and much more. With over two hundred events on offer, there is a fantastic choice. We are now one of the largest festivals in the south.
The foundations of the festival rest upon Chichester organisations, but though we are grounded in the community, we are delighted to welcome to the city visiting performers from all over the world, including major orchestras, bands, singers, authors, poets and much more. Have a browse through our listings and we are sure you will find plenty to stimulate and entertain.
– The Festival Committee