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Ashford's Festival and Event Framework gets green light

Published: 11/01/2022
People enjoying live music outdoors during the Fabric of Ashford event at Elwick Place

Following approval from Cabinet at its December meeting, a Festival and Events Framework for Ashford has been adopted, and will be used to set a new direction for Ashford Borough Council’s support and delivery for festivals and events.

The council has been delivering and supporting festivals and events for many years. As Ashford’s growth and population increases, so has its level of activity and interest in festivals, events and the demand for a visible and well-joined up cultural offer by residents and key cultural partners.

The borough of Ashford is well placed to create, develop and deliver successful events and festivals of all sizes, and many lessons have been learnt from the range of activity being delivered. £350,000 will support delivery of the framework, which will cover the period 2022-24.

Key themes will guide new commissions and programmes of events to ensure that the framework contributes to strengthening Ashford’s culture, identity and civic pride alongside enlivening spaces to support the local economy and environment.

People enjoying Carnival of the Baubles in Ashford Town Centre 2021

Two events that have attracted praise from residents and businesses when hosted in previous years will become ‘Signature Events’ within the framework; these being The Fabric of Ashford and Carnival of the Baubles, which will take place in summer and winter respectively.

Two ‘Seed Events’ taking place in spring and autumn, will be opportunities for the council over the next two years to work with and encourage our most innovative and talented cultural partners, businesses and individuals to come together and independently develop these events that link to our corporate plan and key opportunities.

Cllr Matthew Forest, Portfolio Holder for Culture, Tourism and Leisure, said: “This framework approach, and the investment required, will provide Ashford and our officers with the opportunity to deliver a more successful, robust and well-rounded event and festival programme for the benefit of our residents and visitors.

Local handmade fabric art created for Fabric of Ashford event.png

“It will also empower our creative community and voluntary sector partners to continue contributing to civic life with their own activities across the borough.”

Cllr Nathan Iliffe, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration and Corporate Property, said: “I wholeheartedly welcome this framework and its recommendations, particularly how the proposed activity helps to deliver our corporate plan for the next two years, and helps to showcase the borough’s best assets and public realm through cultural activity.

“This is an important step forward for us to create a more vibrant and lively town centre, in line with our re-set ambitions, encouraging people of all ages and backgrounds to visit Ashford and engage in high quality, year round events.”

Making the framework a reality

A new council working group will be formed to help oversee the delivery of the festival and events framework, including the management, resourcing and promotion of all upcoming activities.

Residents and businesses can look forward to receiving further updates via our website and social media channels when the framework takes shape in 2022.