COLUMNIST: Mella Faye Punchard – Big Festival Street Party

Fanfara play Eastern European dance music on the biggest and most obscure of brass instruments
Fanfara play Eastern European dance music on the biggest and most obscure of brass instruments

ADUR Festival 2014 begins in just two days. More than 1,000 local artists and event organisers have been plotting and planning for months, and at last we get to see the results!

As with so many of us, I find that 95 per cent of my work as festival co-ordinator involves clicking a mouse and staring at a screen. It’s so exciting to be getting out at last to soak up the rich cultural offer as Adur springs to life.

Since the publication of the printed and online programme, my attention has been predominantly focused on plans for the Big Festival Street Party events that will launch the festival this Saturday. Lancing, Shoreham and Fishersgate will host a packed programme of formidable street arts.

The Black Eagles are a trio of Tanzanian Acrobats who learned their craft on the streets of Dar-es-Salaam. Fanfara are a brilliant seven-piece street band from Brighton, playing Eastern European dance music on the biggest and most obscure of brass instruments. The Insect Circus will be visiting us, bringing Sybil, The Giant Snail. I came across the Insect Circus at Glastonbury Festival many years ago, and was charmed by their beautiful set up and creativity. It’s so exciting to be hosting them here in Adur and I believe this will be Sybil’s world premiere performance!

Other acts out on Saturday include puppets from Colossal Crumbs Theatre Company, tribal belly dance from Shoot From The Hip, a capella from Decibelle and the Worthingaires, rocking folk from local musicians Marie Dance and Leo Gibbs, walkabout theatre from the Honk Project, a performance from Shoreham Allstars and samba from Shoreham’s Beach Bateria.

There’ll be last-minute sock puppet and costume making outside the Lancing Children and Family Centre at 11am and at Shoreham Library at 1pm. More than 1,500 schoolchildren have been working on their sock puppet creations and many have also been working on a top-secret performance for us.

Family activities will include street sculpture in Lancing from Dakini Arts, and a Festival Arts Garden in Shoreham from Hands On Workshops, plus graffiti workshops with Zz 22.

In Fishersgate, there’ll be the Shadow Theatre and giant Spirography, and visiting each party in turn will be a dressing-up-story-telling session from Gladrags Community Costume Project. Lancing is soon to have its own micro brewery and we are getting a tasty preview of their wares at both Lancing and Shoreham’s street parties.

The Shoreham Centre will be offering cakes and barbecue and there’ll be a full bar offer at both Shoreham and Lancing. We’ll have tables or picnic spots at all three parties, so bring a picnic, settle in for the day and get set for two packed weeks of festival action. Day by day listings are up on the festival website