Basingstoke Festival is an annual arts festival designed to showcase the best of the arts locally, nationally and internationally. From music to dance, visual art to theatre, the festival aims to bring the very best arts to audiences and those wishing to take part, by presenting experiences in the most unusual places.
The aim of the festival is to encourage both residents of Basingstoke and visitors to the borough to be more curious about the arts, engaging those who would not normally think they were interested in cultural experiences. With the banner theme of ‘Art in Unusual Places’, they aim to surprise and delight with high-quality arts encounters and meaningful participatory events during the 3 weekends of the festival, each year in June and July.
The festival is produced by Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council.
Events at Basingstoke Festival
From its beginnings in 2012, Basingstoke Festival has grown the outdoor arts offer year-on- year, culminating in a bumper year in 2022 with 79 performances from 30 companies and artists, with total audiences of over 7,000. All performances are free and take place in a range of locations across the town centre. In addition, they also programme participatory activities for children and adults. 2023 will see the largest programme yet, featuring more than 15 national companies performing alongside local talent.
Why we joined Without Walls
“Membership of the TNP and the Without Walls network has allowed the Basingstoke Festival to grow audiences who are new to outdoor arts and provide existing audiences with a chance to watch and experience new things.
The membership also provides us with much appreciated peer support, advice, training and opportunities to deliver audience development projects. It allows us to be part of an internationally recognised collective of artists and festivals, improving profile, connections and opportunities. The TNP not only fosters collaborations between partners but also offers staff development opportunities. The ability to bring the best in outdoor work to Basingstoke improved our festival programme, offering audiences better experiences and supports the council’s aspirations to enrich lives through arts and culture.”
Impact on local community
In 2022, 79 performances took place from 30 companies and artists. As part of their desire to increase their audience development objectives, Basingstoke Festival focused their programme on increasing diversity in our programming and audiences and were successful in an application for Arts Council England project funding to support arts programming and projects that would strengthen communities following the success of Basingstoke’s first-ever winter Diwali event. Their audience development work focused on South Asian and Afro-Caribbean audiences and work with their volunteers. Audiences reached 7,000 with a secondary audience of up to 20,000 engaging in some part of the programme.
“So wonderful to see this! I’ve told all my friends to come tomorrow!”
“I wondered what was happening – thrilled I got to see it!”
“Wow Basingstoke! This is the best thing we have ever seen in the town centre!”
“I think the arts team in Basingstoke do an exceptional job of providing a wide range of entertainment for the public which is of high quality”
The Basingstoke Festival team
Ross Harvie and Donna Makins from the council’s Culture team produce and curate the festival in partnership with local cultural organisations.
Collectively Donna and Ross have produced and curated the last 3 festivals and have 30 years’ experience of combined arts programming and producing.
Image credits: Chuck Douglas, Millie Doyle, Stuart Turkington