Hat Fair Photo Trail

Press Release: 15/06/2009

Hat Fair 1979 - by Paul Carter

Hat Fair, the UK’s very first Street Arts Festival, is 35 years old this year. To mark this very special anniversary, photos and posters dating back to 1974 will be on display in 35 city businesses from 18th June until 10th July 2009.

The photos and posters are part of the city’s Hat Fair archive which was begun last year to collect and conserve the memories and records which local people and photographers have collected over the years, to create a valuable resource for the community and for social and cultural historians.

Follow the Hat Fair photo trail to rediscover many memorable performers and street scenes from across the years.  For example, you can find a poster from the very first Hat Fair in 1974 at the Slug and Lettuce in the Square; Skate Naked (2003) at the Earl of Sandwich in Jewry Street; Teatr Biuro Podrozy (2005) at the Brooks Shopping Centre, and Ron Purse (1995) at the Theatre Royal in Jewry Street.

The photos show how much pleasure the Hat Fair has given to thousands of families over the years, going on to become one of the UK’s most significant festivals with national and international importance in the field of commissioning and showing of street performance.

Cllr Patricia Stallard, Winchester City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Heritage, Culture and Sport, said:

“The Hat Fair can often seem to come and go in a flash when you are in the thick of the fun and spectacle, so I am delighted to be announcing this celebratory trail which will bring a Hat Fair feeling to the city over a much longer period in 2009.  I would particularly like to thank the 35 shops and eateries which are participating in the trail, once again demonstrating the potential of our summer festivals to create business opportunities right across the city centre.”

Pick up a FREE leaflet from the tourist information centre in the Broadway, or any of the participating businesses, detailing the trail to find all 35 photos. The leaflet also contains a special 2 for 1 offer for the Coutyard Café at Winchester Guildhall where you’ll also find one of the photos; a black and white photo from 1979 featuring Jonathan Kay with Winchester flautist Stephen Solloway.

The archive photo trail is a joint project between Hat Fair, Winchester City Council’s Arts Team, and the Winchester Business Improvement District.

The photos will also be available online later this week at www.winchester.gov.uk/hatfair-phototrail. If you’ve got some photos of the Hat Fair which you’d like to donate to the archive, please contact Faye Pain on fpain@winchester.gov.uk or 01962 848 303.