Newhaven Festival

July 25, 2019

 Now in its second year, Newhaven Festival is part of a growing movement in coastal towns to nurture a ‘Creative Cluster’. Supported by Artwave in 2018, Susie Mullins, Head of Strategic Development at Newhaven Town Council started a festival to run alongside the Open Houses. Newhaven Festival’s Creative Director, Rhoda Funnell, tells us how the festival has grown for the 2019 edition. 


This year offers a range of free and ticketed events, inviting locals and visitors to get together, have fun and explore this unique industrial town surrounded by the Downs. A Newhaven map, by local illustrator Olivia Waller, offers a way to travel through the town, visiting some unusual venues such as the new Bandstand where the Festival launches. Or the RNLI where you can learn to sing Shanties (£5 for 4 hours tuition and optional performance), or the Hillcrest Centre to see the Thrift Fashion Show (£3). 


Any creative event taking place in Newhaven during the festival can be included in the schedule. The aim is gradually to grow the festival in town, as well as joining forces with bigger organisations to provide bespoke opportunities at discounted rates. The Charleston Farmhouse Secret Downland Walk, for example, is an all-day walk from Denton over the Downs, ending with tea, cake and access to gardens and galleries at Charleston. Free transport back included, £20/£10 for BN9 residents. Glyndebourne, meanwhile, are presenting a Make Your Own Opera workshop at Newhaven’s Hillcrest Centre, where 9-19 year olds can learn about group singing, instrumental performance, acting and design. 


Many of the tickets offer 50% discount to local people and almost all those working on the festival or running events live and/or work in Newhaven. Creative businesses such as Prismaflex, King & McGaw, Vantablack and Boutique Modern are all based in Newhaven. Locate East Sussex is showing a documentary they commissioned about creative Newhaven along with a networking opportunity, and Newhaven Enterprise Zone is a part sponsor of the Open Call taking place at The Ship Hotel.


We want to show a wider audience all that Newhaven has to offer, as well as creating opportunities locally. The first port of call for anyone we need help from is Newhaven, because lots of professional people are working here. We are small but aiming high and interest from outside funders and organisations is already showing we are on track. 


We are a mix of people with diverse creative ideas. The festival is a way of drawing all this together over time, offering support, building Newhaven’s profile and delivering a range of high quality events that attract attention. All this brings opportunities for our future. We’d like to see new work spaces, a gallery. Plus loads of chances just to have fun and enjoy this amazing town we live in.


17 Aug-1 Sep, newhavenfestival.co.uk



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