Last November a small village in North Yorkshire innovated a grand idea that saw the local community, its 17th century pub and local theatre company, The Flanagan Collective, pull together to create a unique and special weekend festival.
After a hugely successful launch, the second ‘The Little Festival of Everything’ weekend is back at The Fauconberg Arms, Coxwold from Friday 22 to Sunday 24 June.
The pub will again play host to over 50 acts made up of actors, children’s entertainers, storytellers, singers and performers in a jam packed free festival that aims to bring the best entertainment from around the UK to this beautiful North Yorkshire setting.
‘The Little Festival of Everything’ was conceived last year by local theatre company The Flanagan Collective, spearheaded by Alexander Wright, who has enjoyed success in the performing arts as Artistic Director of Belt Up Theatre and is currently Associate Director on The York Mystery Plays with York Theatre Royal.
Alexander, 24 and originally from Coxwold was motivated to created a new business model for a unique rural arts festival, where performers could use the experience to try out new work in a country retreat and the audience could participate, watch and enjoy the experience for free. The success of the November weekend in Coxwold has meant that ‘LittleFest’ is now being rolled out to Southill Park, Bracknell in July and at this year’s Edinburgh Festival.
The model works because all performers receive expenses that will be covered by sponsorship, but they all agree to come to the festival without an additional fee as they will use the experience as a testing ground for new work, have a lovely weekend in a beautiful setting with like minded peers, and they all genuinely want to be part of this new venture. The residents of Coxwold have again offered up their spare rooms and will host the performers for the weekend. This allows the whole festival to be free for audiences and it is hoped that families, visitors and locals will experience many events across the weekend.
Simon Rheinberg, proprietor of the pub says; “Having an arts festival of this calibre in a village pub is unique. The free entry was a very important objective as it fits in with the general atmosphere of being in a pub. People can spend as long as they want there, eat and drink at anytime throughout the day.’
Alexander believes the festival has a strong line-up of acts which will be performing in and around the premises of The Fauconberg Arms, “We have again gathered the best people from near and far to come and set up shop in the pub. We have returning storytellers, theatre makers, poets, musicians, writers, cabaret artists as well as new performers who heard about last years festival and wanted to get involved.”
The festival, which will run over the weekend of the 22nd,23rd and 24th June has been set up to appeal to all ages and interests, Alexander notes; “There are things for the adventurous, for the daring, for the quiet and for the inquisitive. There are things that will surprise you, move you, challenge you and excite you but everything will welcome you with open arms.”
Some of the best artists from across the country will be in attendance. Lots of the companies that attended in November will return including; award winning cabaret artist Damsel Sophie, Pilot Theatre, performance poet Henry Raby, children’s theatre company Tucked In, folk band Holy Moly and the Crackers, local musician Alun Nixon, Hannah Davies and Essex based company Shady Jane. The Festival has also attracted a number of new companies such as renowned London based collective Shunt, York comedy duo Bush and McClusky, comedian Chris Stokes, children’s storytelling company Mud Pie Arts, Easingwold’s Gobbledigook Theatre to name but a few.
This Summer festival will make more of the beautiful outdoor space at the pub with a family storytelling area and intimate events in the summer house, plus on the Sunday morning there will be a vintage and craft fair to accompany the family events taking place.
Simon Rheinberg underlines the importance of being an anomaly in the industry as many UK public houses struggle to survive the ongoing credit crunch. “We want to build on the success and reputation of last year’s festival and by programming arts events with The Flanagan Collective we will attract new visitors to Coxwold and we look forward to welcoming them alongside our locals for another exciting weekend,” he says. “We see it as a great opportunity to bring artists, residents and visitors together to drink, eat and be entertained.”
David Shields Area Director for Welcome to Yorkshire, who supported the Festival in November said: “We are proud to support this brand new festival which will transform the village of Coxwold into a theatrical wonderland for one weekend only! We would urge visitors to come along and support this fantastic festival which will see performers, actors and musicians take over the Fauconberg Arms to put on a series of free events. We are sure it will be a fun-packed weekend for all the family.”