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New Forest Arts Festival

New Forest Arts Festival

Lead Partner

New Forest National Park Authority

What is it about?

The New Forest is a hub for artists and craftspeople working across a wide variety of media, and yet currently there is no overall forum to celebrate and promote the wealth of talent in the area, and to provide ways for people to access it easily. The New Forest Arts Festival showcases the unique landscape, heritage and culture of the National Park through a wide variety of art forms.

What’s been achieved?
  • The first Festival ran 11 – 26 June 2016 and 3,800 people attended over 40 events varying from film and theatre performances to music concerts and workshops. Many were in unique spaces, including a beach hut, tree house and castle, helping people explore more areas of the New Forest.
  • A second Festival ran from 10 – 25 June 2017 with a ‘Trees’ theme with over 6,000 people and more than 60 in 35 locations, including a Roman villa, an arboretum and an ancient shipyard. This also included some work that was funded through the New Forest Connects project to have Artist-led public engagement work to be run as part of the Arts Festival. It also included some artist-led work with members of the public which was later displayed at a Trees exhibition at the New Forest Centre
  • A small grants programme was set up to help fund venues/materials for artists for the festivals and it was promoted through web pages, Facebook and posters
  • A number of activities by Forest Arts Forum (FAF) members during the 2018 New Forest Show to promote the Festival and the local creative community.

A new sub-group of arts organisations from the Festival and FAF has been created to steer the work and they produced a vision of how they could work together in the future. During 2018 they rebranded as Folio and launched at the New Forest Show to promote the group to the local creative community.

Folio have been successful in getting a small Arts Council grant to further develop the group, undertake some audience development work and to run further engagement projects.

The Arts Council now recognise the New Forest as an area where involvement in the arts is significantly below the national average and have invited Folio to apply for a £1.2million grant from the Creative People and Places grant scheme.

Contact details

Hilary Makin – Communications Manager, New Forest National Park Authority

Tel: 01590 646608 email:


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