A look ahead to the 2018 Wirksworth Festival

Part of the Curated Exhibition - an immersive experience with Andy Plant and Tim Hunkin's Astronauts Caravan

Part of the Curated Exhibition - an immersive experience with Andy Plant and Tim Hunkin's Astronauts Caravan - Credit: Archant

The 17-day Festival begins on 7th September.

Street performance at Festival time

Street performance at Festival time - Credit: Archant

A highlight of the town’s Festival, which gets underway on 7th September, is the weekend Art & Architecture Trail on 8th-9th September. The beauty of the Trail is that over 80 venues – including homes, historic buildings, churches, gardens and courtyards – become galleries for the work of more than 150 artists. It will be celebrating its 25th anniversary next year, and the event remains as vital as ever with the organisers ensuring that 25 per cent of the art exhibited will be new to visitors.

Key to the success of the 17-day Festival is that it encompasses a wide spectrum of the arts so you can take in dance, theatre, music, poetry, puppetry, film, storytelling, architecture and street theatre with, furthermore, a Youth Arts Festival. Another strand to the Festival which, affirms Festival Chair Carol Taylor, ‘We pride ourselves on’ is that ‘It’s a community Festival, the result of engaging and encouraging local artists, performers and community groups. We couldn’t run the Festival without the support and participation of the local community, and it’s great for the community as the Festival is worth a great deal to the local economy – we reckon it’s £60,000 to £80,000.’

There is a tantalising Festival first this year: if you enjoy choral singing, you are invited to perform Verdi’s Requiem on 15th September. No experience is necessary – you sign up, turn up, rehearse in the afternoon and perform in the evening. You’ll also be accompanied by a 70-piece orchestra.

Another special event alludes to the town’s heritage. Although much is made of Wirksworth’s lead mining and quarrying past, a Festival project will highlight the fact that Wirksworth became the biggest producer of red tape for binding official documents at Whitehall, its weekly output equalling the circumference of the earth. It’s fitting that the Red Tape Project will emanate from Haarlem Mill, one of two remaining in the town that manufactured the tape.

Dodo Street Band - 22nd September

Dodo Street Band - 22nd September - Credit: Archant

To coincide with the Festival, renowned international artist Victoria Lucas will exhibit her solo show Where Rock & Hard Place Meet and all the artists at Haarlem will open their studios on all three weekends of the Festival. u

For full details see www.wirksworthfestival.co.uk or go to the Festival Box Office at Traid Links, 20 Market Place, Wirksworth (01629 824393).