IT ALL started with a meeting at Bridlington Town Hall on August 7 1986.
Now 25 years later, the town is preparing for the return of the popular annual Bridlington Arts Festival.
At that meeting, the Director of Tourism and Leisure Services announced that “the Tourism and Leisure Services Committee had approved the idea of a prestigious arts festival lasting for a week in April or May. To act as a curtain raiser for the season, it aims to promote excellence in the field of arts, tapping the aspirations of local performers and boosting tourism”.
The first festival was held from Saturday, May 2 1987 to Saturday, May 9 1987, with a jam packed week of theatre, cabaret, music, photography, sculpture, painting, carnival and graffiti artistry.
For many years a successful international graffiti competition was part of the festival and in later years, a busker’s competition.
Barry Clifton, the Arts and Sports Officer at East Yorkshire Borough Council, was the festival director until the formation of the East Riding of Yorkshire Council in 1997.
During that time the festival had free use of the Spa and Leisure World for its events as well as a grant from the Council.
Bridlington Arts Festival is a non-profit making company and any proceeds are put towards the following year’s festival.
Its committee is made up of volunteers who meet monthly, and the whole festival is financed entirely by grants, donations and box office takings.
The event has evolved over the years and was moved to the end of May, culminating in an outdoor event over the May Bank Holiday weekend.
For the last five years there has been a street festival and craft fayre on the bank holiday Sunday and Monday, which will this year feature a French Continental Market.
The Arts Festival received a grant from the Red Nose Day Community Cash through the Two Ridings Community Foundation for the outdoor event, which will be held in the recently completed Spa Gardens.
Starting on May 12 this year, the 25th anniversary festival will feature a varied mix of acts throughout the rest of May, with events being held at the Spotlight Theatre and Bridlington Spa, as well as the culmination of the festival, the outdoor finale, which will be held in the newly completed Spa Gardens.
l For a full line up of events for this years festival, plus ticket prices and information, turn to page 41.