Bernard Hall, Cuddington
Parts of Haddenham
By Roy Payne - 22nd September 2019 7:30pm
Wow — that was a week that was! The Haddenham Feast Festival, a breathless fifty-plus events and fun had by all.
As the first-ever Feast Festival draws to a close, the general consensus seems to be that it has been a great success — whether you speak to attending audiences, participating artists or festival sponsors and supporters. It has not only captured the imagination of the village, but has sparked so many new ideas for the future, as people understand and embrace the values and purpose of the Feast Festival.
There are too many events to provide an itemised review of the week, but there are some highlights which help lay the foundations for next year's Festival:
· Storytelling to young children, in tents set up around the village, on new estates, not only excited and entertained our youngest residents, but started a process of bringing the new housing areas into the community
· Teddy Bear's Sleepover and the Feast Feet competition, alongside the storytelling, have engaged younger and newer families in the village, and build understanding that they are at the heart of the Feast Festival
· Acoustic Jazz in the Orchard was weather-blessed but attracted almost 150 people — many of whom did not even know we had a community orchard — they do now!
· Open Mic Night saw a very busy evening at the Kings Head and 9 local musicians entertain us — this is likely to become a regular monthly event, offering musicians more choice in village social life
· The Adult Craft Café was another new idea trialled by the Feast Festival, which is intended to become a regular addition to the local arts and crafts scene
· Rock in the Village Hall provided a well-received evening out for dads of all ages, but has also opened the opportunity to create a sustainable platform to help develop and showcase young local teenage talent — Night Jar and Silversmith having put on a brilliant show for us
· Community meal & ceilidh, with the new street food fair, was hugely enjoyed by all attending — an evening of diverse entertainment, for families, for everyone.
Festival organisers will want a little time to gather information and reflect on what was learned from this initial year. We will certainly be asking the wider community for feedback in developing next year's Festival, and encouraging people to come forward with their own ideas and events.
At the moment the over-arching sentiment is pride: pride in how the volunteer festival team have made this happen, pride in the village for the out-pouring of support to make this first Feast Festival such a success, and pride in the fact that there is such an appetite to make the Feast Festival a regular annual feature of Haddenham's social calendar.
The Festival also showcased the breadth of events and activities, and depth of talent, that happens week-in, week-out in Haddenham, largely unnoticed. Shining a light on to a week in the arts and cultural life of the village underlines the community need for sustained investment in community facilities, as set out in the Neighbourhood Plan.
Haddenham can give itself a huge pat on the back. Without your enthusiasm there would have been no Feast Festival, and without your support it would not have been a success. Festival organisers will be taking a well-deserved rest (from the Festival, and each other!) but we'll be back soon plotting Feast Festival 2020 with everyone.
Finally, we'd like to announce and congratulate all our 2019 Feast Festival competition winners:
Poetry: Mike Hunting
Pear Pie: Kate Shobbrook
Feast Feet: Finn B & Fred
The WASPS summer playscheme entry to the Feet Feast was highly commended by our judge, Margaret Aston, who has decided the picture of the feast made by the children will hang in the Village Hall permanently.
There's a 'taster' selection of photos from the Feast Festival 2019 in the Galleries section of this website. More images and video content will follow later on the FF website — we will update you shortly.