After the floods: Langport festival - 30 May to 8 June


Maddison - Credit: Archant

It has been a long and difficult winter. Suddenly the whole world knows about the Somerset Levels. And for all the wrong reasons. The arrival of the 3rd Langport Festival on 30th May will show this is a resilient community and it takes more than water to hold us back. This year’s festival isour biggest yet.

And just as we thought we had a complete programme of events along came the Langport Business Group tosuggest a party. And so we celebrate the departure of the floodwaters with a Party on the Island. Butthis island, one without water, the town square at the heart of Langport. We’ll be celebrating hard with food and drink, dance and music, all local and all very muchthe spirit of the Levels.

Not one Shakespeare but two!

At the Langport Festival we offer you not one Shakespeare but two - the older needs no introduction and provides us our play, the Tempest, in the Walter Bagehot Memorial Garden on the evening of 31st May. The younger, who spells his name Shakspeare, is one of Britain’s leading glass designers and offers three opportunities to watch and appreciate the skill of glass blowing at his factory and gallery in Westover, Langport plus two classes where you can learn how to blow glass for yourself.

The Langport Leveller Short Story Competition reaches its climax with the final results evening at Great Bow Wharf on 4th June. This year we attracted entries from all over the country, from Cheshire to Plymouth, from Sussex to Aberdeen.

Our art exhibition which has always been a multi venue event designed to draw you through the town, excels itself this year with an art trail through 7 venues.

And then there is the Walter Bagehot Memorial Debate at Huish Academy this year taking on the motion “Mass communication is the enemy of truth.” Each joined by a student from the Academy, Journalist and novelist Ruth Dudley Edwards takes on Donald Shell,former senior lecturer in politics at Bristol University in what promises to be a fascinating contest as to whether the internet and social media are a blessing or a curse.

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Then there is the opportunity to walk the battlefield of the Civil War Battle of Langport (1645) in the company of Julian Humphrys of the Battlefields Trust, or take in the story of the battle as Julian tells it at a History Society gathering in Langport Library in the evening.

Joining in

Our festival has always been a lot more about joining in than soaking up ‘culture’. This year as ever there are loads of opportunities to get involved. Huish Leisure Centre are organising a week of free taster events to get you active and involved in sport and on 7th June serve up a finale in the form of the Langport Junior Triathlon. At a more leisurely pace is the Transition Town community picnic or by way of prodding the muse a bit,an open mic evening of acoustic music. For Every Cloud has an extensive programme of craft classes and workshops, and you can make a willow dragonfly or toss the odd horseshoe.

What more can we offer you by way of the eccentric and enticing? Taken at random from our diary of events are:

Singing (a Choral Festival of workshops and a concert of 4 Somerset choirs!)

Hand-wringing: (the Kingsbury Episcopi handbell group perform and offer you the chance to have a go)

Mountaineering: ( climb to the top of All Saints’ Church Tower to get the most stunning view of the Levels)

A display of soggy bottoms (Kitchen of Langport’s Cake Bake Competition)

In more reflective mood we finish on Sunday with among others, a pilgrimage walk across the Levels and a Songs of Praise in All Saints’ Church as a finale.

Youngsters do their bit

The whole community gets involved in the Langport Festival and this year is no different. Once again the youngsters of our town have played a big part in setting the scene.

The Festival brochure design was chosen from a collection presented by the pupils of Year 6 at Huish Episcopi Primary School (this is the second year they have helped us). The cover design we chose was painted by Maddison.

Our Festival logo too was chosen following a competition for all the youth groups of Langport to suggest a design. And as if that wasn’t enough, the Langport and Huish Youth Club designed the flags that will be decorating the town during F estival Week. The flags will be going up next week and really brighten the town up and set the mood for the festival.

For more information please contact Andrew Lee via:

or phone 07885 550