How sad

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How sad the Chichester Festivities, which has provided such wonderful and stimulating entertainment over so many years, is no more. But there is no need to despair because the foundations of an exciting new summer arts festival for Chichester are already in place.

The Festivities has always been two overlapping festivals, one organised by the Festivities office covering the larger-scale events and wider activities like the tribute concert and the fireworks, and the other organised by local groups and societies offering an equally diverse and imaginative programme.

Just glance back to the Chichester Celebrates section of this year’s brochure and you’ll find a series of literary talks organised by the library, including an evening with top writer Sophie Hannah; music by the Consort of Twelve (Handel), the Chichester String Ensemble (Bach, Purcell), the Chichester Symphony Orchestra (Dvorak, Beethoven); 
a folk/roots evening with US-based Cahaleen Morrison and Eli West; a Medieval Miscellany at the cathedral; open-air drama at West Dean; theatre at the New Park; illustrated talks on the solar system at the South Downs Planetarium, guided walks around historic Chichester, exhibitions, etc.

The event I organise on behalf of the Festivities, the Poetry and Jazz Café with David Harsent, the 2012 Griffin International Poetry Award winner, and the acclaimed Charlotte Glasson Jazz Trio, sold out weeks before the event, as we do every year. I know many other events also receive enthusiastic support.

What is needed to resurrect the summer arts festival is to bring together the organisers of all these fantastic events and provide the publicity and support required for us to bring our exciting plans for 2013, which are already in preparation, to fruition.

The platform for a new festival is already in place; it is up to us to make it happen. Anyone interested in taking steps to get things moving for 2013 is welcome to contact me at

If we act together, perhaps the essence of the Festivities can be saved.

Barry Smith


Poetry and Jazz