The fourth and biggest ever Battle Festival has drawn to a close, with thousands of people having enjoyed a programme of events spanning music, visual art, literature, film, poetry, comedy, food, and family entertainment.
Highlights included outdoor spectacle The Winter Giant, the festival’s most ambitious event to date, which brought the community together and around 3,000 people out onto the streets of Battle. It also provided an opportunity for local businesses to stay open late, with some reporting record sales.
Fans travelled from as far as Canada and South America to attend the Mt. Desolation show featuring Battle Festival patron Tim Rice-Oxley and his Keane band mate Jesse Quin.
The continuing relationship with the Primrose Piano Quartet, one of the UK’s leading chamber ensembles, saw them perform on four separate occasions, including a concert with top British clarinettist Michael Collins, and a special family concert featuring accessible classical music on the theme of magic.
Visual arts came to the fore this year, thanks to a partnership with the blackShed gallery, which delivered a number of exhibitions and events including Martin Brockman as 2017 artist-in-residence, and a new series of work by renowned paper cut artist Ian Penney. Other partners this year included Applause Rural Touring, Glyndebourne’s education department, and Mrs Yarrington’s Music Club.
Battle Festival 2017 was made possible thanks to funding from Arts Council England, Big Lottery Fund, Battle Town Council and Rother District Council, and the kind support of sponsors Littlewoods Fencing, Heringtons Solicitors, Southern Energy Solutions, CPJ Field, Pinot the Musical, Deryn Lake and Robert Gee.
Huge support for the festival also came from local businesses and organisations, including Harper & Holland and Battle Baptist Church.
David Furness, chairman of Battle Festival and Battle mayor, said: “Battle Festival is getting bigger and better every year, and we are now firmly on the South East’s cultural diary.
“This year has seen a wide range of music from folk punk to Mozart, African dance and much more. We were really pleased that we were able to expand our visual arts offer and we hope to build ever stronger partnerships with the blackShed gallery.
“Tim Rice-Oxley, our patron, Heringtons Solicitors and Littlewoods Fencing have given incredible support. Without them the festival would not have happened.
“We are building relationships with other businesses in town who have a deep love of 1066 Country and want it to prosper, not only as an historical but as a cultural destination. If you would like to help the festival grow please get in touch, you can help by being a friend or sponsoring an event.
“I would like to thank our hard working committee who have worked so hard, but most of all I would like to thank all the people who have bought tickets and attended events. I do hope that you have enjoyed the festival and look forward to seeing you again in 2018.”
Kenton Lowe, curator at the blackShed gallery, said: “The blackShed working with Battle Festival was for us always going to be an interesting proposition, and after conversations with the event’s organisers, we were naturally excited by the collision of ideas. The artists that were placed in this year’s festival presented projects that effortlessly engaged with the local community and visitors have been thrilled to experience the spaces we occupied. We are extremely proud to have been involved and we look forward to the continuing partnership between the blackShed and Battle Festival.”