Winchester gears up for a season of festivals

Winchester has a fantastic array of exciting and very different festivals which are enjoyed each year by thousands of local people and visitors to the city.

Those who know and love the festivals believe that they deserve a bigger audience and wider recognition. So this year sees the launch of a new campaign, in partnership with Winchester City Council, to inspire interest and visits from across the country – and even the world.

The 2009 festival season is to be launched with a brand new website, providing a taster of the ever-changing kaleidoscope of colourful events which bring the city to life over the summer.

The site at  marks the beginning of the partnership between the five successful and very diverse city-based arts festivals - MayFest, Festival of Art and Mind, Winchester Writers’ Conference, Hat Fair and the Winchester Festival.  It also signposts other locally distinctive festivals, such as the Hampshire Food Festival, Alresford Watercress Festival and Bishop’s Waltham Festival.

The website is just the first of a number of initiatives set to follow towards the end of this year, including film and photographic projects, an exhibition, national PR support and visible street promotion for the festivals.  This more ‘joined up’ approach to marketing, will be matched by a rationalisation of some aspects of event management which can be very labour-intensive for the festival organisers.

The festival partnership is supported by the City Council’s Economic and Cultural Services division, with the help of special funding identified by the Council to support Winchester businesses during the current recession.

Clive Burgess, Director of MayFest, said:

“Winchester’s streets and venues burst into life from May to July every year, with a series of live arts festivals that inspire, intrigue and enchant thousands of participants. This is what gives Winchester its special personality. These festivals bring in around 40,000 visitors and £1m of income for the local economy. We think that our new partnership will build on this amazing success story. “

Eloise Appleby, Head of Economic and Cultural Services at Winchester City Council, stated:

“The festivals play an important role in attracting visitors, generating revenue for local shops, pubs, eateries, accommodation and attractions. We are keen to help local businesses make the most of this economic return and to support the fine contribution they make to the cultural life of the District.”

To find out more about all the festival events coming up, visit