“HEDFEST WAS BRILLIANT, BRILLIANT, BRILLIANT!” reacted HedFest Organising Committee Chairman, David Thompson, when asked about the two-day Hedon Festival that took place over the weekend. And just in case we hadn’t heard the first three times he repeated “It was brilliant!”
“For the first HedFest,” David continued, “it all went amazingly well, and, no question for me, this needs to be repeated next year, with lessons learnt, and bigger and better. Great for Hedon, great for the economy of Hedon, and great to see the community, young and old turning out in a festival spirit.
“But it all could not have happened without the expertise and hard work of the Cornucopia team, along with the commitment of Hedon Town Council and the Hedfest organising committee.
“My thanks go to everyone who got behind the project over the eight months of planning, and all who worked so hard over the weekend and all who participated. Then, not least, to the people of Hedon, and surrounding areas, thank you for turning out to make the weekend such a big success.”
The festival took place over Friday evening and the Saturday with over 90 performances; bands, artistes, acts, comedians and poets, bringing a variety of entertainment and music styles to five venues in the town.
Robbi Lamming better known on the festival scene as Viceversa Robbi brought the reCOGnition stage to Hedon’s 800 year old St Augustine’s Church:
“When asked to host the church stage we had total empathy with the history of the building and chose to reflect the amazing ambience with acoustic music, thus offering a relaxed atmosphere and people of all ages visited the venue.” he said.
“We have had some lovely positive feedback from those visitors, I was out and about in Hedon the day after the event and have heard nothing but rave reviews from people. Okay there is some fine tuning to be done if the event is to be repeated but on the whole I think we dipped our toes in the water and got a very warm reception.
“Thanks to the people of Hedon and surrounding area for supporting the event, at the end of the day it is their event and hopefully more people will get involved in the future of HedFest”
The Queen’s Head had an altogether different flavour of music on offer. Andy Brown the licensee lauded the event: “Great atmosphere, great people, great entertainers, great day – and my feet hurt!” he said, we’re not sure whether he was referring to how busy the event was, or the dancing he was doing!
Alison Smyth, from the Haven Arms was a member of the Organising Committee and says she enjoyed helping the good people who were committed to doing something worthwhile for the town.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the day, the wonderful parade, and seeing our friends David and Megan Elf performing in the church, it was something very positive for the town which proved to be an excellent arena for such an event.
“Thanks to all the staff in all venues who worked so hard and excelled themselves. Hope it becomes an annual event, much to build on next year, and lots of time to organise compared with this year’s short lead-in time.”
A highlight of the festival was the carnival procession which David Thompson described as “Magical! Rio coming to Hedon!”
It was indeed a colourful, musical, dancing mass of costumes, puppet characters, drummers and Twirlers. The parade was led by Hedon Mayor Cllr Neil Black who along with his Mayoress and Sergeant at Mace travelled in a vintage Model T Ford motor car.
Spectators packed the streets of Hedon’s main roads in scenes unseen in Hedon before. One of the key carnival characters attending was ‘The Fat One’ made by carnival artist Steve Elliott, it caricatures William le Gros one of the medieval Lords of Holderness and reputed to be the founder of Hedon, and is being gifted to the town as a lasting reminder of HedFest.
But it was the participants in the parade, with lively contingents from the Hedon Twirlers, Hedon Guides and Hedon Youth Group amongst dozens of others that made it such a memorable and lively event.
The street scene was transformed for the event. Several groups of residents, some from local residential homes, had done weeks of preparatory knitting work to ‘yarn bomb’ the town and the results were there for all to see with trees and street furniture colourfully transformed by knit-wear and knitted bunting!
Agnes Murray an Activity Coordinator at Albermarle House was delighted to show off the yarn bombed tree in the grounds of the home which was wearing the colours knitted by its residents.
Market Hill became a community hub for the day with lots of stalls established raising money for good causes. The Market Place became the hub for food and refreshments. Lots of other places got into the HedFest spirit too. There was a garden party at Holyrood House, stalls at Albermarle House and a fun day at the Station.
But it was the five music and entertainment venues that became the focus of most attention. Whether it was local singer/songwriter Katie Spencer in the Church, the Freedom Road Creative Workshops at the Haven Marquee, or Hedon outfit Cuba Drive in the Alexander Hall, Velvet Dolls at the Queen’s or David Thompson wearing his poet’s hat at the Shakespeare Inn, there was something for everyone at HedFest 2015.
82-year-old Jean slowly pulled herself down from the raised steps of the bank where she had perched herself with her friends to watch the parade, and said gleefully “What a brilliant day! We really have to do this again!” And this has been the continuing mood in the town since HedFest finished – “a great event, let’s look forward to HedFest 2016” being a typical comment.
Councillor Neil Black, the town’s 669th Mayor, said of the event: “The Mayoress and I were delighted indeed honoured to have taken part in the pageant that formed part of the first Hedon Hedfest.
“The Carnival was a tremendous show, a magnificent example of what a community can do when they work together. On behalf of Hedon my thanks and congratulations to all who contributed.”